Sounder Lobby Card 1 (1972)

Dublin Core


Sounder Lobby Card 1 (1972)


Black Film Promotional Materials


Set in 1933 during The Great Depression, the characters in Sounder are integrated within the natural and social landscape of a time when many Americans experienced poverty and hopelessness. To promote the filmlobby cards provided audiences with a scene from the movie in which David Lee and his father Nathan Lee are talking to one another during a day of hard work. The barren and harsh landscape in front of a deteriorating home illustrates the political and social position of many poor families of the time. The historical silences imposed on marginalized families during the Great Depression gives Sounder a place to narrate the terror and survival of a family burdened by racism and lack of political regard. Sounderset in the time before the mass exodus of African Americans to cities in the North and Midwest, shows the adolescent David Lee on a precipice, standing with his father in the Jim Crow era South as he is forced to seek a different life for himself. David Lee, the eldest son of the Morgan family, matures once he recognizes the suffocating social space he is allocated within his own community: he comes to understands the racism of white citizens and how education is a luxury.  

It is important to understand how the visual culture of the Great Depression is often focused on rural white Americans or jobless European immigrants in urban settings, instead of African Americans (Nelson). Before the economic collapse, the Great Depression began as an agricultural crisis in the American South. The diminishing value of cotton, the boll weevil’s crop destruction, and unpredictable harvest seasons made farming an insufficient means of making a living. Furthermore, many more African American families than white families were involved in sharecropping, a system wherein tenant farmers rented a plot of land from landowners in exchange for payment of a share of the crop. Tenant families often became indebted to landowners who would offer seeds, food, tools, and fertilizers on credit (Zainaldin). Many African Americans were laborers, within an economic and social bind, in the American South during the early 20th century. Sounder gives representation to the many African American tenant families that were often ignored in the media and culture of the 1930s.  


Nelson, Cary. "The Great Depression." The Great Depression. University of Illinois at    Urbana-Champaign, 5 June 1999. Web. 4 May 2015. <http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/depression/depression.htm>. 

Zainaldin, Jamil. "Great Depression." New Georgia Encyclopedia. University of Georgia   Press, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 May 2015. <http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/great-depression>. 


Radnitz/Mattel Productions


Washington University Archives: Black Film Promotional Material Collection. Sounder. 20th Century Fox, 1972. Film.


20th Century Fox



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

lobby card

Physical Dimensions

4187 x 3287


Radnitz/Mattel Productions, “Sounder Lobby Card 1 (1972),” WUSTL Digital Gateway Image Collections & Exhibitions, accessed May 28, 2024, http://omeka.wustl.edu/omeka/items/show/11256.