BLACK POVERTY AND THE NEW DEAL: AN EXAMINATION OF POWER AND RESETTLEMENT PROJECTS IN THE SOUTH
On April 8, 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Under the authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, President Roosevelt established the Resettlement Administration. A major initiative of the Resettlement Administration was the development of Resettlement Projects. Resettlement Projects were developed to take impoverished families off land too poor to yield for resettlement on more productive land. In the literature on the New Deal, two narratives have emerged on Resettlement Projects. First, there is the notion that the Resettlement Projects program helped revitalized portions of Rural America and attained a substantial amount of success in terms of providing security and farm income for many families. In an alternative narrative, Resettlement Projects are viewed as a living nightmare for former slaves and their descendants. At the time of the Depression, Rural Blacks living in the South faced the greatest threat to their economic survival. Few researchers have sought to explore the connection between agricultural policies in the New Deal and Black inequality in the South in the 21st century. This dissertation explores this connection through three separate but interrelated papers: In Paper One, I contribute to the literature on rural poverty among minorities in the South by providing a historical analysis of wealth accumulation and power disparity in East Carroll Parish. I engage the literature on power disparities by presenting a case study of power in the rural and southern context. I also make the argument that power in East Carroll Parish has developed over the years into three-dimensions, and I provide systematic evidence on the development of each dimension. In addition, I explore the historical development of wealth inequality in East Carroll Parish through slavery and the Resettlement Administration. In Paper Two, I explore the historical relationship between Resettlement Projects and inequality among Blacks in Southern counties. From a macro approach, I utilize county estimates of inequality from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture to determine if there a statistical significant difference between the number of Blacks in poverty within Resettlement Project (RP) counties and Non-Resettlement Project counties (Non-RP)? In order to explore this question, this paper incorporates two distinct analyses: Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression and a Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Model. In Paper Three, I investigate the impact of Resettlement Projects on Southern counties between 1930 and 1945. The analysis in this paper explores whether Resettlement Projects had an impact on components of agriculture production and farm ownership in Southern counties between 1930 and 1945. To conduct this analysis, I employ county-level data that includes measures of agricultural production and farm ownership stratified by race in 1930 and 1945. I view the implementation of a Resettlement Project in a county as a policy treatment, and through the use of a difference-in-difference methodology, I contrast the experiences of counties with a Resettlement Project to all other counties.
BLACK POVERTY; South; NEW DEAL; RESETTLEMENT PROJECTS; rural; Sociology; power; Demography; African American studies
Hirschl, Thomas A.
Burrow, Anthony L.; Hamilton, Stephen Frederic
Ph. D., Development Sociology
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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