Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule: African American Landowning Families since Reconstruction

Edited by Debra A. Reid and Evan P. Bennett

Details: 352 pages     6.125 x 9.25
Cloth: $69.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3986-2   
Paper: $27.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-6036-1   
Pubdate: 6/10/2012
Review(s): 6 available

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Overview

"This ground-breaking collection proves that there is still a great deal to learn about the lives of black southerners. The essays offer a counterpoint to the standard story that all African Americans in the rural South found themselves mired in poverty and dependency."--Melissa Walker, author of Southern Farmers and Their Stories

"A remarkable achievement. The authors in this collection have retrieved African American farm owners from the margins of history, making clear that life on the land for African Americans not only transcended sharecropping but also shaped the contours of the struggle for freedom and justice."--Hasan Kwame Jeffries, author of Bloody Lowndes

This collection chronicles the tumultuous history of landowning African American farmers from the end of the Civil War to today. Each essay provides a case study of people in one place at a particular time and the factors that affected their ability to acquire, secure, and protect their land.
The contributors walk readers through a century and a half of African American agricultural history, from the strivings of black farm owners in the immediate post-emancipation period to the efforts of contemporary black farm owners to receive justice through the courts for decades of discrimination by the U.S Department of Agriculture. They reveal that despite enormous obstacles, by 1920 a quarter of African American farm families owned their land, and demonstrate that farm ownership was not simply a departure point for black migrants seeking a better life but a core component of the African American experience.

Debra A. Reid, professor of history at Eastern Illinois University, is author of Reaping a Greater Harvest: African Americans, the Extension Service and Rural Reform in Jim Crow Texas. Evan P. Bennett is assistant professor of history at Florida Atlantic University.

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