Disturbing Development in the Jim Crow South

by Mona Domosh (Author)
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Disturbing Development in the Jim Crow South documents how Black employees of the cooperative extension service of the USDA practiced rural improvement in ways that sustained southern Black farmers’ lives and livelihoods in the early decades of the twentieth century, resisting the white supremacy that characterized the Jim Crow South.

Mona Domosh details the various mechanisms—the transformation of home demonstration projects, the development of a movable school, and the establishment of Black landowning communities—through which these employees were able to alter USDA’s mandates and redirect its funds. These tweakings and translations of USDA directives enabled these employees to support poor Black farmers by promoting food production, health care, and land and home ownership, thus disturbing a system of plantation agriculture that relied on the devaluing of Black lives.

Through the documentation of these efforts, Domosh uncovers an important and previously unknown episode in the long history of international development that highlights the roots of liberal development schemes in the anti-Black racism that constituted plantation agriculture and illustrates how racist systems can be quietly and subtly resisted by everyday people working within the confines of white supremacy.

Publication date
March 01, 2023
Paper ISBN
File size
12 MB
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