Together with MGM's Hallelujah, Fox's Hearts in Dixie is historically significant as one of the first all-talkie, big-studio productions to boast a predominately African-American cast. The ineluctable Clarence Muse, all of forty years old, stars as elderly Grandpap Nappus, a former slave whose beloved daughter Chloe (Bernice Pilot) marries the shiftless Gummy (comedian Stepin Fetchit, in his only "straight" role). After Chloe's death, Grandpap determines that his grandson Chinaquapin (Eugene Jackson) will not follow in Gummy's footsteps. He intends to send the boy North for a proper education, a move that is strongly opposed by the no-good Gummy. Essentially a white man's view of the Black South, Hearts in Dixie may strike modern viewers as stereotypical and demeaning, but its intentions were honorable, and the end result was quite pleasing to both black and white audiences in 1929.
by Hal Erickson synopsis