Homecoming: The Story of African-American Farmers

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Beacon Press, 2002 - Social Science - 193 pages
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A photographic essay which offers a striking and moving tribute to African-American farmers. This is the companion book to Gilbert's PBS documentary, HOMECOMING.

Homecoming traces the history of black farmers from Reconstruction to the present, as they struggle to survive today. Homecoming pays tribute not only to the devastating losses they have suffered throughout the century, but also to the legacy of hope that endures in the story of African-Americans working the land.

"Revisiting the unbearable hardships encountered by my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents as they sought to survive the inhuman sharecropping system of the post-Civil War South—a system in many ways more brutal than slavery—my heart breaks again. But reading Homecoming's account of our ancestors' determined humility, obdurate courage, and fierce pride in and love of the land, my heart is healed. I see why there is such a thing as ancestor worship. I could not love my sharecropping ancestors more if I had created them myself. That black Southerners still love nature and revere the earth is the legacy of a people whose innate elegance and dignity was always expressed in essentials." —Alice Walker

"An extraordinary gift. . . . A moving, lyrical, and important history: a tale of land, labor, love, and loss." —Farah Jasmine Griffin

"Moving, highly informative, and valuable." —Barbara Neely, author of Blanche Cleans Up
  

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Homecoming: the story of African-American farmers

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This book serves as a companion to author Gilbert's 1998 PBS documentary film of the same name, which she produced and directed. Coauthor Eli has edited two previous books about African Americans ... Read full review

Contents

TAKING ROOT The Civil War and Reconstruction
9
A SECOND SLAVERY The Post Reconstruction South
23
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS World War I and the Peak of Black Landownership
35
LINES IN THE SAND Washington Du Bois and the Postwar Boom of the Early 1920
49
THE THICKENING SHADOWS Black Migration to the North
63
FLY AWAY HOME Surviving the Great Depression
75
WHERE THE PAST LEADS BLACK AGRICULTURE WORKERS AND THE PROMISE OF ROOSEVELTS NEW DEAL
91
THE PRICE OF PROGRESS World War II and the Call for Southern Change
105
PLANTING SEEDS The Postwar Boom
121
THE END WILL NOT TROUBLE YOU Civil Rights in the South
139
Home at Last 198oPresent
161
LIST OF PLATES AND CREDITS
169
BIBLIOGRAPNY
173
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
177
INDEX
179
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Charlene Gilbert is an independent filmmaker and professor of film at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Quinn Eli teaches English and creative writing at the Community College of Philadelphia and is a columnist for the Philadelphia Weekly.

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