In 1860, approximately 4 million enslaved African Americans lived in the South states where slavery was legal. Approximately 2.8 million worked on farms and plantations, and, the great bulk of them, 1.8 million, were to be found on cotton plantations, while the rest were engaged in the cultivation of tobacco, rice and sugar cane . The majority of them were sold to the plantations’ owners at slaves’ auctions, where slave kids also could be found. The first time Django (Jamie Foxx) appears in the film, he comes from a slave’s auction in Greenville.
The plantations’ landlords were also called “planters”, a term used to designate those who held a significant number of slaves, mostly as agricultural labour. There were different categories of planters: large planters (who had more than 50 slaves, and were part of the “Planter elite” or “Planter Aristocracy”) and medium planters (who had an average of 16-50 slaves) . In Django Unchained, two enormous plantations appear (the first one is in Tennessee and the second one in “Candyland”, Chickasaw, Mississippi), and both Spencer “Big Daddy” Benneth (Don Johnson) and Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) are large planters who own more than one hundred of slaves.
In large plantations there were diverse classes of slaves. The ones that had the hardest work were the field workers (also called field hands), who worked longer than any other kind of slave, from sunrise to sunset, from “can see to can’t see” (although it does not appear in the film, it could be accepted that Django was this kind of slave). Furthermore, in large plantations, some slaves (usually women) worked in the plantation home. They were domestic slaves (house slaves/servants) and they enjoyed better living and work conditions due to they usually dwelled in their owner’s house and worked few hours (at least less than the field workers). Cora (Dana Michelle Gourrier) and Broomhilda Von Shaft (Kerry Washington) exemplify this class of slaves. Another sort of slaves were the slaves drivers, who were conceived by the master to manage the slaves. Consequently, the rest of the slaves hated them because they were doing the owner’s job . Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is the clear example of a slave driver.
Plantations were composed of different buildings. The owner and the owner’s family resided in the mansion, commonly called “The Big House,” which was an example of the antebellum architecture . On the other hand, the slaves lived in the slave quarters of the plantation they worked. The cluster of cabins could sometimes be scattered about randomly and other times ordered with geometric precision. Moreover, there were different types of quarters: firstly, there was the one room quarter; secondly, the “dog-trot” pattern, where two families were expected to occupy the house...