in Boll Weevil Blues

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780226292878
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226292854 | DOI:

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This chapter deals with the lost revolution of the boll weevil, the myth of whose destructiveness was born in the fields of Texas when the first few bugs began damaging American cotton and has proven to be powerful and enduring. The pest did not destroy all cotton equally. As seen in the examples of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, southeastern Alabama, and Georgia, the South's mono-crop system was at its base an economic problem, not an agricultural one. The rural South's endemic problems did not arrive with the boll weevil, nor did they end as farmers began to figure out ways to stop the pest. The boll weevil penetrated southern culture; it is a crucial component of the larger personal, cultural, and economic history that southerners tell of their region.

Keywords: boll weevil; American cotton; Yazoo-Mississippi Delta; southeastern Alabama; Georgia

Chapter.  2942 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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