African American Life in the Rural South, 1900-1950

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Overview

During the first half of the twentieth century, degradation, poverty, and hopelessness were commonplace for African Americans who lived in the South’s countryside, either on farms or in rural communities. Many southern blacks sought relief from these conditions by migrating to urban centers. Many others, however, continued to live in rural areas. Scholars of African American rural history in the South have been concerned primarily with the experience of blacks as sharecroppers, tenant farmers, textile workers, and miners. Less attention has been given to other aspects of the rural African American experience during the early twentieth century.

 
African American Life in the Rural South, 1900–1950 provides important new information about African American culture, social life, and religion, as well as economics, federal policy, migration, and civil rights. The essays particularly emphasize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate the white world in the southern countryside.

 
Filling a void in southern studies, this outstanding collection provides a substantive overview of the subject. Scholars, students, and teachers of African American, southern, agricultural, and rural history will find this work invaluable.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826214713
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 6/13/2003
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

R. Douglas Hurt is Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Agricultural History and Rural Studies at Iowa State University in Ames. He is the author of numerous books, including Nathan Boone and the American Frontier and Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri’s Little Dixie, both available from the University of Missouri Press.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
"Lookin' for Better All the Time": Rural Migration and Urbanization in the South, 1900-1950 10
"A Crude and Raw Past": Work, Folklife, and Anti-Agrarianism in Twentieth-Century African American Autobiography 27
"Of the Least and the Most": The African American Rural Church 54
Shifting Boundaries: Race Relations in the Rural Jim Crow South 81
African American Rural Culture, 1900-1950 108
Benign Public Policies, Malignant Consequences, and the Demise of African American Agriculture 129
"I Have Been Through Fire": Black Agricultural Extension Agents and the Politics of Negotiation 152
Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: African American Strategies for Day-to-Day Existence/Resistance in the Early-Twentieth-Century Rural South 189
Suggested Readings 211
Contributors 219
Index 223
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