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University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

1. Dodson, Heidi Lorraine. "We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968.

Degree: PhD, History, 2016, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Scholarship on African American community building and Black freedom struggles has demonstrated the centrality of the Black working class to social, political, and economic transformations in the twentieth-century rural South. Yet, our understanding of how African Americans actively engaged in power struggles over space, and the nature of struggle in the Border South, has been under-analyzed. This dissertation looks at the significance of space and place to African American life in the Missouri Bootheel, or Missouri Delta, during the region's metamorphosis from a sparsely populated region of lowland swamps, to an agricultural "Promised Land" that included vast fields of cotton farmed by sharecroppers. It explores the ways in which African Americans acted as central agents in this transformation through their labor in the forests and fields, their planning visions, politics and their influence on the built environment through institution, neighborhood and town-building. White supremacy was embedded in the region’s social and economic fabric, but its power was not absolute. This dissertation argues that African Americans used the instability of key periods of social and economic change and the relative fluidity and unpredictability of race relations in a Border South region to push for access to rural industrial jobs, public space, land, schools and housing. African Americans’ strategies for community building and activism varied, but their establishment of Black institutions and rural Black towns and enclaves, independent of plantation space, was central to struggles in these arenas. Periods of intense social struggle over space included Black migration during the 1910 and 1920s, the New Deal, and the transition from sharecropping to day labor from the 1930s through the 1950s. Advisors/Committee Members: Lang, Clarence E (advisor), Lang, Clarence E (Committee Chair), Burton, Orville V (committee member), Cha-Jua, Sundiata K (committee member), Ginsburg, Rebecca (committee member), Roediger, David R (committee member).

Subjects/Keywords: Missouri Bootheel; Missouri Delta; civil rights; labor history; sundown towns; Black towns; African Americans; African American freedom struggles; space; place; border South; cotton plantations; plantation South; cotton South; segregation; apartheid; rural history; agricultural history; African American land ownership; school desegregation; New Deal; sharecropping; farm labor; rural housing; Farm Security Administration; migrant labor; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Dodson, H. L. (2016). "We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90902

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Dodson, Heidi Lorraine. “"We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968.” 2016. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Accessed December 06, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90902.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Dodson, Heidi Lorraine. “"We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968.” 2016. Web. 06 Dec 2019.

Vancouver:

Dodson HL. "We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2016. [cited 2019 Dec 06]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90902.

Council of Science Editors:

Dodson HL. "We cleared the land with our own hands": space and place in African American community building and freedom struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2016. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90902

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