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Freedom FarmersAgricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement$
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Monica M. White

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643694

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643694.001.0001

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Intellectual Traditions in Black Agriculture

Intellectual Traditions in Black Agriculture

(p.28) 1 Intellectual Traditions in Black Agriculture
Freedom Farmers

Monica M. White

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter analyses the theoretical and applied contributions to Black agriculture of three influential African American intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Booker T. Washington built institutions, developed agricultural extension services, and organized conferences for Black farmers. George Washington Carver produced, systematized, and disseminated scientific agricultural knowledge. W. E. B. Du Bois focused on strengthening Black communities by advocating agricultural cooperatives as an economic and political strategy. While the three had different – and sometimes controversial – approaches, all saw agriculture as a strategy of resistance and community building. Through a historical analysis of these thinkers’ ideas about Black agriculture, this chapter offers fresh perspectives on classical African American intellectual traditions. This history challenges contemporary ideas that community agriculture is new, unearthing Black intellectual contributions to current conversations about sustainable, organic, and local food, as well as food security and food sovereignty. In doing so, it offers a historical precedent and framework for contemporary food justice movements for enacting the connection between agriculture and freedom.

Keywords:   agricultural cooperatives, agricultural education, agricultural extension, Black farmers, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, organic farming history, Tuskegee University, W. E. B. Du Bois

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