Chapter

The Jim Crow Section of Agricultural History

Adrienne Petty

in Beyond Forty Acres and a Mule

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039862
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043777 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813039862.003.0002
The Jim Crow Section of Agricultural History

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Adrienne Petty presents a historiography that challenges readers to reconsider the prevailing method of analysis for studying agriculture in the American South. She argues that black farmers were distinct but not separate from their white peers. Therefore, scholars should not set them apart for study and analysis as though they existed in a separate society. Scholars must recognize the ways that racism affected the prospects of black farmers, including landowners, and the ways that race relations played out in the countryside among landowners, other farmers, and farm laborers. Yet the prevailing approach to studying black farmer history obscures the fact that they farmed the same crops on adjacent land and depended on the same markets, and that exploitation affected both white and black farmers. To understand any nuances in this general exploitation that may be a consequence of racism demands a common approach to studying farmers as a single class. Such broad analysis can inform politicians and policy makers such as Shirley Sherrod and the organizations such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that exist to serve farmer interests.

Keywords: Sherrod; Southern Cooperatives; race relations; racism; historiography; landownership; U.S. Department of Agriculture; exploitation; class

Chapter.  6777 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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