You Can't Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

You Can't Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

by Greta de Jong

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Overview

Two revolutions roiled the rural South after the mid-1960s: the political revolution wrought by the passage of civil rights legislation, and the ongoing economic revolution brought about by increasing agricultural mechanization. Political empowerment for black southerners coincided with the transformation of southern agriculture and the displacement of thousands of former sharecroppers from the land. Focusing on the plantation regions of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Greta de Jong analyzes how social justice activists responded to mass unemployment by lobbying political leaders, initiating antipoverty projects, and forming cooperative enterprises that fostered economic and political autonomy, efforts that encountered strong opposition from free market proponents who opposed government action to solve the crisis.

Making clear the relationship between the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty, this history of rural organizing shows how responses to labor displacement in the South shaped the experiences of other Americans who were affected by mass layoffs in the late twentieth century, shedding light on a debate that continues to reverberate today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469629315
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 08/30/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Greta de Jong is professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

With an impressive breadth of research, You Can't Eat Freedom takes us inside communities fighting for civil rights after 1965, looking beyond the much studied earlier period to show us how these ongoing racial struggles were contested on the ground. This book does not shy away from highlighting the prevalence of black poverty after 1965, avoiding the temptation to find silver linings in what is quite a sobering--even bleak--story. This is a nice corrective to the triumphal nature of some civil rights historiography.--Timothy J. Minchin, coauthor of After the Dream: Black and White Southerners since 1965

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