Cornell University

A Pig and a Garden: Fannie Lou Hamer, Agricultural Cooperatives and the Black Freedom Movement - Monica White, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 3:00pm

Warren Hall, B73

Abstract:  In the late 1960s, internationally renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer purchased forty acres of land in the Mississippi Delta, launching the Freedom Farm Cooperative (FFC). A community-based rural and economic development project, FFC would grow to over 600 acres, offering a means for local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers to pursue community wellness, self-reliance, and political resistance. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans--an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort.
This presentation will expand the historical narrative of the Black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern Black farmers and the organizations, and cooperatives, they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of Black people, Freedom Farmers reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.

Speaker: Dr. Monica M. White,  Associate Professor of Environmental Justice, University of Wisconsin-Madison (speaker bio)

Co-sponsors: Department of Global Development, School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture Section, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Society for the Humanities, Cetner for Transformative Action, American Studies, Cornell Garden-Based Learning, and the Department of City and Regional Planning

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Event Type

Lecture, Seminar


Development Sociology, International Programs, Department of Development Sociology (DSOC), Global Development, American Studies Program


dsoc, devsoc, ipcals, globaldev, amstcal, isscal




Monica M. White

Speaker Affiliation

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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