Breaking New Ground: African American Farm Owners in Texas

The Project:

Spearheaded by historians Adrienne Petty (College of William and Mary) and Mark Schultz (Lewis University), this project was funded by a $230,000 collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to capture the stories of African American farm owners in the United States. While the larger project “Breaking New Ground: A History of African American Farm Owners Since the Civil War” comprises more than 300 interviews from black farm owners and their descendants from Maryland to Oklahoma to Georgia, this collection features my recorded life histories with African American Farm Owners in Texas. Co-deposited at the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University, this collection covers a range of topics related to farming, landownership, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, the world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary Black farmers’ activism. Importantly, these life histories preserve the rich, deeply rooted family and community histories of Black Texans as they navigated the intersections of race and land ownership in the postbellum South.

CLICK HERE to view the entire collection, both audio recordings and transcripts, in the archives of Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History.

CLICK HERE to check out Dr. Petty’s completed monograph, Standing Their Ground: Small Farmers in North Carolina since the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2013).