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A Cooperative Model for Economic Empowerment in the Rural South: Providence Plantation, 1940 – 1956

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Abstract:

This paper presentation focuses on Providence Cooperative Farm in rural Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s. Providence began as a biracial communitarian approach to providing displaced sharecroppers with a viable livelihood. In the 1940s, many white members of the cooperative found work in the war industry and left the farm. As the biracial aspect of the farm faded, the endeavor transformed from an interracial, agricultural cooperative to a collective community concerned mainly with black uplift. A summer health clinic staffed by the African American sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority INC., educational institutes for black ministers, summer camps for black children, and college preparatory classes for black teenagers became the focus at Providence by the early 1940s. In addition to health and education projects, a major aspect of the work at Providence was economic empowerment based on a cooperative model. Each member of the farm owned a share in the cooperative store and sold the goods they produced to surrounding communities. By the mid 1950s, due in part to economic competition the farm posed to whites, many of the residents were intimidated to relocate by the Ku Klux Klan or forced to move because the White Citizens’ Council effectively boycotted the cooperative store, thus destabilizing their livelihood. This paper explores a cooperative model for economic empowerment used by a dedicated group of African Americans in the rural South, and bridges a historiographical gap between the Depression and Civil Rights eras.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435696_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ferguson, Robert. "A Cooperative Model for Economic Empowerment in the Rural South: Providence Plantation, 1940 – 1956" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435696_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ferguson, R. H. , 2010-09-29 "A Cooperative Model for Economic Empowerment in the Rural South: Providence Plantation, 1940 – 1956" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435696_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper presentation focuses on Providence Cooperative Farm in rural Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s. Providence began as a biracial communitarian approach to providing displaced sharecroppers with a viable livelihood. In the 1940s, many white members of the cooperative found work in the war industry and left the farm. As the biracial aspect of the farm faded, the endeavor transformed from an interracial, agricultural cooperative to a collective community concerned mainly with black uplift. A summer health clinic staffed by the African American sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority INC., educational institutes for black ministers, summer camps for black children, and college preparatory classes for black teenagers became the focus at Providence by the early 1940s. In addition to health and education projects, a major aspect of the work at Providence was economic empowerment based on a cooperative model. Each member of the farm owned a share in the cooperative store and sold the goods they produced to surrounding communities. By the mid 1950s, due in part to economic competition the farm posed to whites, many of the residents were intimidated to relocate by the Ku Klux Klan or forced to move because the White Citizens’ Council effectively boycotted the cooperative store, thus destabilizing their livelihood. This paper explores a cooperative model for economic empowerment used by a dedicated group of African Americans in the rural South, and bridges a historiographical gap between the Depression and Civil Rights eras.


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