By Debra A. Reid, Evan P. Bennett

This assortment chronicles the tumultuous heritage of landowning African American farmers from the tip of the Civil conflict to at the present time. each one essay presents a case learn of individuals in a single position at a selected time and the standards that affected their skill to obtain, safe, and guard their land.
     The members stroll readers via a century and a half African American agricultural heritage, from the strivings of black farm vendors within the rapid post-emancipation interval to the efforts of up to date black farm proprietors to obtain justice throughout the courts for many years of discrimination through the U.S division of Agriculture. They exhibit that regardless of huge, immense hindrances, by way of 1920 1 / 4 of African American farm households owned their land, and show that farm possession was once no longer easily a departure aspect for black migrants looking a greater existence yet a center element of the African American experience.

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Mandle, The Roots of Black Poverty: The Southern Plantation Economy after the Civil War (Durham: Duke University Press, 1978), 42–43; Robert McKenzie, One South or Many? (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 144. 13. Mark Schultz, The Rural Face of White Supremacy: Beyond Jim Crow (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 46. Edward Ayers, The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Peggy G. Hargis, “Beyond the Marginality Thesis: The Acquisition and Loss of Land by African Americans in Georgia, 1880–1930,” Agricultural History 72, no.

The Jim Crow Section of Agricultural History · 35 25. Robert C. Kenzer, Enterprising Southerners: Black Economic Success in North Carolina, 1865–1915 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997), 127. 26. Kenzer, Enterprising Southerners, 10. 27. Holt, Making Freedom Pay, 7–24. 28. Schultz, Rural Face, 45. 29. Schultz, Rural Face, 9. 30. Schultz, Rural Face, 54. 31. Barbara Jeanne Fields, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland during the Nineteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 178–79.

Although they concede that the “main story” of African Americans in the Jim Crow countryside “is that of discrimination, disadvantage, and economic exploitation, maintained by an ever-present threat of violence,” they argue that “this focus on black Southerners as victims . . ”23 They tell the story of people who formed all-black communities in the backwoods of eastern and southern Texas, giving primacy to people’s determined actions rather than how others acted upon them. The goal of these farmers was to isolate themselves from the racist exclusion and violence that characterized life in Texas during the Jim Crow era.

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