In 1934 and '35, Charles Hamilton Houston toured the South by automobile, studying and documenting the world of Jim Crow segregation. He also delivered speeches, met with state officials and campaigned for local NAACP branches. Thurgood Marshall sometimes came along.

In the fall of 1934, Houston rented a hand-held silent movie camera to film the lives of poor blacks in rural South Carolina and, particularly, their schools. The film was funded in part by the Harmon Foundation of New York, a philanthropic organization established by a white New York real estate developer to promote racial tolerance. Houston showed the film wherever he could to publicize the plight of African Americans living under the regime of Jim Crow, and to galvanize support for the NAACP.

Here is the documentary Houston produced. He laid out the entire film - scenes, sequences and title boards - in one 11-page memo that he sent to members of the Harmon Foundation. The film is preserved at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD.

Click here to watch with RealPlayer. If you don't have RealPlayer, you can download it from here