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Grant number like: RZ-51208-10

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Lewis University (Romeoville, IL 60446-1832)
Mark Schultz (Project Director: November 2009 to November 2014)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$230,000 (approved)
$230,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2014

Breaking New Ground: A History of African American Farm Owners Since the Civil War

Collection of archival materials and oral histories and preparation for print publication of a study of African American farm owners. (36 months)

In 1910, African Americans overwhelmingly lived and farmed in the south. Most were sharecroppers but a quarter of all African American farmers owned their own land. Few specialists in African American or southern history are aware of this fact and, as a result, their stories have largely been neglected. To fully understand the African American experience, a comprehensive analysis must be conducted on the lives of these rural families that, despite considerable odds, achieved land ownership and reshaped their destiny. This three-year project is designed to collect interviews with hundreds of black farm owners and their descendants. This newly gathered set of oral interviews will allow historians to tell the story of this important but highly neglected group. Using this unique collection, as well as archival data, participants will create a pair of complementary monographs.