The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer

The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer

by Chris Myers Asch


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In this fascinating study of race, politics, and economics in Mississippi, Chris Myers Asch tells the story of two extraordinary personalities—Fannie Lou Hamer and James O. Eastland—who represented deeply opposed sides of the civil rights movement. Both were from Sunflower County: Eastland was a wealthy white planter and one of the most powerful segregationists in the U.S. Senate, while Hamer, a sharecropper who grew up desperately poor just a few miles from the Eastland plantation, rose to become the spiritual leader of the Mississippi freedom struggle. Asch uses Hamer's and Eastland's entwined histories, set against the backdrop of Sunflower County's rise and fall as a center of cotton agriculture, to explore the county's changing social landscape during the mid-twentieth century and its persistence today as a land separate and unequal. Asch, who spent nearly a decade in Mississippi as an educator, offers a fresh look at the South's troubled ties to the cotton industry, the long struggle for civil rights, and unrelenting social and economic injustice through the eyes of two of the era's most important and intriguing figures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807872024
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Edition description: 1
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Chris Myers Asch teaches history at the University of the District of Columbia.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Asch's history traces and illuminates the development of white racism and total political domination over the majority black population in Sunflower County. The last chapter was so riveting that I was reading past midnight.—Charles McLaurin, former field secretary, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Through vivid, accurate portraits of two Mississippians locked in deadly embrace, Chris Myers Asch shows why blacks remain on the bottom in Sunflower County, Mississippi, today. We may still blind ourselves to the ways that the social system after 1990 is still totally unfair to African Americans, but to do so, we will have to burn—or ignore—The Senator and the Sharecropper.—James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me

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