‘Freedom Farmers’ Tells the History of Black Farmers Uniting Against Racism

Freedom Farmers is not your conventional Civil Rights narrative, couched in terms of campaigns for voting rights, school desegregation, and lunch counter seats, though there are familiar historical figures: W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Fannie Lou Hamer, whose Freedom Farm Cooperative gave the book its title. It’s a timely, connective, and expansive book; one that reframes the whiteness of agricultural history and calls us to remember the fact that the Black freedom struggle is an ongoing labor movement in places far and wide.

It also locates Black farmers in a Civil Rights narrative that goes beyond their historic and continuing legal struggles against USDA discrimination. Freedom Farmers moves beyond stories of subsistence and survival; it centers Black farmers as unsung food justice advocates and organic intellectuals who imagined better communities, food systems, and politics. And then, depending on one another, they started building. – CYNTHIA GREENLEE

What People Are Saying About Freedom Farmers...

A refreshing and potentially paradigm-shifting study, combining narrative and an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on archival research and ethnography. It moves the African American agrarian experience into the twentieth century, reconceptualizing it, not just as an experience of oppression, but as a strategic approach to black liberation. 

Sundiata Cha-Jua, University of Illinois 

Meticulously researched, trenchantly analyzed, and engagingly written, this book brings to life the culture, the theorists, the scientists, the farmers, and the organizers that have kept agriculture at the center of African American emancipation, civil rights, and present-day movements for human rights and self-determination. From a rising activist-scholar, a visionary book of remembrance and hope.

Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director of Food First

Black Creek Community Farm

Abena joins us to read a quote by Bell Hooks from Monica M. White’s book “Freedom Farmers”! Happy Black History Month! #foodjustice

Grow Magazine (UW-Madison)

“The story of Black agriculture is one of those stories that people don’t know,” says Monica White (@thegardengriot). But with her book, “Freedom Farmers,” she has recovered and shared lost stories of resistance and liberation. go.wisc.edu/grow-monica-wh #spring2021grow

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/LAF

“Through their knowledge of African crops & their agricultural prowess, enslaved Africans supported the development of cash crops & commodities such as sugar, coffee, chocolate, & rice, as well as subsistence crops” (Freedom Farmers – Monica M. White) #Blktwitterstorians


Madison Magazine

Monica White’s 2019 book “Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement” links the present and past so successfully that it garnered rave reviews and two prestigious awards. buff.ly/38fbDxX

National Farmers Union

Here are some ideas for how to do that:

1. Educate yourself about racism in agriculture.

There are several excellent books on the subject – we recommend Farming While Black by Leah Penniman, Freedom Farmers by Monica White, and Dispossession by Pete Daniel.

Dr. Kristen Reynolds

In other news, my review of Dr. Monica White’s book “Freedom Farmers” was published this week. Thank you @thegardengriot for your important work! rdcu.be/b7V5e

Thérèse Nelson @Blackculinary

Shouts out to @thegardengriot and
@AMReese07 for killing the game and winning @ASFS_org awards for their beautiful books. If you’ve not read “Freedom Farmers” or “Black Food Geographies” you need to go to wherever books are sold and


Looking to educate yourself about #racism in American #agriculture? Read


 Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

Freedom Farmers by Monica White

Dispossession by Pete Daniel, and

Black Food Geographies by Ashanté M. Reese


Purchase Your Copy