Hand Changes

Cyclic social, economic and political changes influence farm labor on Virginia's eastern shore over 400 years.

Premiere Date
August 1, 1999
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call

Gregory Gilbert

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The Film

Virginia’s eastern shore offers a comprehensive picture of how economic and political events have shaped the farm labor supply in the American South for 400 years. Examining the region’s tradition of using indentured servants, African slaves and, most recently, black and Latino migrant farmworkers, Hand Changes explores the issues of housing, food, health, and workers’ rights. It also illustrates how the global agricultural economy and trade agreements such as NAFTA influence social structure and the racial composition of communities.