This D-OGS Meeting will be held on Wednesday evening, 2 June, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Duke Homestead Visitor’s Center, 2828 Duke Homestead Road, Durham 27705. Phone: (919) 477-5498 – One-half mile from I-85 and Guess Rd (Exit 175), Follow the brown historic site road signs.
The program for this meeting will be the showing of a video, “Moving Midway” that details the moving of an old plantation house and its effects on the families that had lived there. Watch the trailer here.
When New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire returns home to North Carolina in early 2004 and hears that his cousin Charlie Silver plans to uproot and move the buildings of Midway Plantation, their family’s ancestral home, an extraordinary, emotional journey begins.
Charlie’s plan is a controversial one within their extended family. Some fear the move will destroy Midway. Others worry about the reaction of the plantation’s ghosts, including Miss Mary “Mimi” Hinton, Midway’s eccentric owner when Charlie and Godfrey were kids.
There’s another group who may be concerned too. Charlie says he was recently visited by a man who claimed that their family has a large, previously unknown African-American branch, due to a liaison between Midway’s builder and a plantation slave.
Back in New York, Cheshire fortuitously encounters Dr. Robert Hinton, an NYU professor of African-American studies who says his grandfather was born a slave at Midway.
While beginning a dialogue on the meaning of Midway from their very different perspectives, Cheshire and Dr. Hinton examine how the Southern plantation, a crucial economic institution in early America, generated a powerful, bitterly contested mythology that was at the center of a string of American cultural milestones, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Birth of a Nation to Gone with the Wind and Roots.