March 21, 2017
Monica White examines the work of Black sharecroppers and tenant farmers of the late 1960s who fought for the right to participate in the food system as producers and to earn a living wage in the face of racially, socially, and politically repressive conditions. Using a Collective Agency and Community Resilience theoretical framework, she offers strategies of prefigurative politics, commons as praxis, and economic autonomy to capture the activities community members enact in order to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. It includes the acts of building sustainable communities and allows us to complement studies of overt resistance to Jim Crow with documentation of the alternative community structures that activists created to meet community needs—whether social, political, or economic. Offering new collective, community, and political dimensions, it provides a historical foundation that will add meaning and context for current conversations regarding the resurgence of agriculture in the context of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.