George Washington Carver and the Liberatory History of Black Agriculture

Dr. Monica White
23 Mar 2022
6:00 PM
See WebEx Link
  • Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Committee

This event has been recorded. The recording is posted on the Lectures website at Recordings > Available Recordings for two weeks.

Freedom Farmers revises the historical narrative of African American resistance and breaks new ground by including the work, roles, and contributions of southern Black farmers and the organizations they formed. The book traces the origins of Black farmers’ organizations to the late 1800s, emphasizing their activities during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Whereas much of the existing scholarship views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of Black people, Freedom Farmers reveals agriculture also as a site of resistance by concentrating on the work of Black farm operators and laborers who fought for the right to participate in the food system as producers and to earn a living wage in the face of racially, socially, and politically repressive conditions. Moreover, it provides an historical foundation that has added meaning and context for current conversations regarding the resurgence of agriculture in the context of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces including Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.

Dr. Monica M. White is the Distinguished Chair of Integrated Environmental Studies (2021-25) and associate professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology and the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. She is the first Black woman to earn tenure in both the College of Agricultural Life Sciences (established 1889) and the Nelson Institute (established 1970). Her research investigates Black, Latinx, and Indigenous grassroots organizations that are engaged in the development of sustainable, community-based food systems as a strategy to respond to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility in both contemporary times and the twentieth century. As the founding director of the Office of Environmental Justice and Engagement (OEJ) at UW-Madison, she works toward bridging the gap between the university and the broader community by connecting faculty and students to community-based organizations that are working in areas of environmental/food/land justice toward their mutual benefit. Her first book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, was published by University of North Carolina Press in January 2019. It received the First Book Award from the Association of Association for the Study of Food in Society, (2020), the Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award from the Division of Race and Ethnic Minorities Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (2019), and an Honored Book Award from the Gendered Perspectives section of the Association of American Geographers (2019).