Dr. Schultz Discusses Land Ownership After Reconstruction at Newberry Library
Published: February 15, 2022.
Dr. Mark Schultz, professor of history at Lewis University, and Adrienne Petty, associate professor of history at College of William and Mary, led a January 28 discussion on a chapter from their forthcoming book at the Newberry Library’s Labor History Workshop.
According to Schultz and Petty, it is well known that land was initially central to freedpeople’s conception of freedom in the immediate aftermath of slavery. Despite the many barriers raised by white supremacy, landownership also remained a durable aspiration for African Americans up until World War I. A surprising number of these families succeeded in gaining hold of their farms, fully a quarter of all black farmers by 1900. Schultz and Petty’s paper evaluated the bleak economic options open to African American men and women from the end of Reconstruction to the Great Migration and demonstrated that during this period. They shared how land was indeed the widest path to upward mobility for the largest number of families.
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