1.23.2016

Let's Improve The Map!

Hey y'all! I just spent a couple hours updating The Map of Vegan Options that I maintain, adding some places and making things consistent. It would be so super awesome if y'all could take a look at it and let me know what you think is missing!

Please note: I don't include chains unless it's in an area that doesn't have much available, and I don't include places where you can't order anything as it's presented on the menu (...except for Reginelli's, which for some reason I've decided to grandfather in because I loved it in my pregan days). I also don't include anywhere that only has, like, a plain salad or french fries or something.

Thank you as always for your input - this resource wouldn't be nearly as awesome if y'all didn't help me find all the vegan secrets in town! <3 <3 <3

Click on this pic or on the link above to view the map!

1.15.2016

Happy New Year! Now let's get anti-racist and intersectional.

I work on Lee Circle.  All day long, I look at Robert E. Lee's butt.
Hi everyone!  I trust you survived "the holidays" alright?  Gearing up for Mardi Gras?  Excited about getting back outside after that 1.5 weeks of winter we just had?
Well, I have a proposition for you.
You - yes YOU - are invited! Join New Orleans in Green in attending the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march being hosted by the City of New Orleans, in support of Take 'Em Down NOLA. You're also invited to further educate yourself about anti-racist efforts in New Orleans... and everywhere! YOU CAN PARTICIPATE FROM ANYWHERE in the educational portion of this event! 

It's important and easy - I created a Facebook event and everything!  Also, clearly you have to be in Nola to attend the march, but you can get educated from anywhere with internet!  Hooray!

As you may know, TEDN has been a major community voice in New Orleans' recent efforts to remove confederate monuments around the city. These monuments are symbols of white supremacy and should not be displayed on public land. It is crucial that, as anti-oppression activists, we educate ourselves about and support this ongoing civil rights struggle.  To get you started, this Amicus brief authored by a number of civil rights lawyers in New Orleans and filed on behalf of TEDN outlines the racist, white supremacist roots of the monuments in question.  Check out the Facebook event (or ask questions in the comments of this blog post) for more resources on this issue, and on other issues related to civil rights and anti-racist work in New Orleans.

* * * * * *
Please note: attending the TEDN march on Monday is ***NOT*** an opportunity to co-opt or talk over the march organizers' message with our own agendas of veganism, animal rights, food equity, et cetera. We are definitely not attending to tell other area activists why they should be vegan or support animal rights efforts (unless they ask about it - and even then, keep it brief with an offer to follow up later). We are joining this march to honor and learn about the anti-racist work of MLK and those who follow in his footsteps, and to support TEDN's efforts to fight white supremacy in New Orleans, by showing up and taking part. So, show up! Take part!
Whether or not you can attend the march, please accept the invitation to use this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to further your civil rights education.  An intersectional framework for our vegan and AR work is crucial.

* * * * * *
Also note: this event is a response to VINE Sanctuary's MLK Day Vegan Challenge. Their tl/dr on the matter: "VINE Sanctuary challenges vegans to spend MLK Day educating themselves about past and ongoing anti-racist struggles, and we challenge vegan and animal liberation organizations to encourage their own followers to do the same." 

Want to learn more about the civil rights struggles of the past 50+ years? The ongoing anti-racists movements?  Intersectionality?  I'll be posting resources and other opportunities to listen and learn on MLK day on the Facebook event listed above.  And/or find your own and share them in the comments so everyone can benefit!

Many thanks to all who will participate in any way! Now go get educated. <3 <3 <3

12.22.2015

Had a little help from my friends.

Vegan caviar?!  Vegan caviar!!
Monday, December 21st was the official start of the winter season.  It was also a wonderful evening at Seed, New Orleans' only full service all-vegan restaurant.  The event boasted both the Humane Society of Louisiana's holiday happy hour, as well as the Winter 2015 edition of Vegan Drinks New Orleans.  Numerous delicious hors d'oeuvres were shared by attendees, including artichoke cakes, caviar, and universal favorite southern fried nuggets.

Dana does the honors

To top off the night, the Humane Society awarded four community members with a wonderful honor: that of their Vegan Pioneer Award.  The recipients included Edgar Cooper of Seed, Jehan Strouse of 3 Potato 4, Leah Duncan of Vegan Village fame, and... me!

Edgar and me
I was thrilled and honored to be chosen for this award.  I didn't have a chance to give a speech (ha ha), but if I had I would have noted that I couldn't do much of the work that I do without the support of the truly excellent vegan community in New Orleans.  As we head into the new year, I want to thank everyone who makes it possible and worthwhile to do things like maintain the map.


Have a wonderful winter everyone, and I'll see you in 2016!

Huzzah to new friends!




12.14.2015

Food Justice is Souper!
Jk. No really tho.

On December 14, Pagoda Cafe in the Seventh Ward played host to the Empty Bowls Benefit for Community Kitchen, an event organized by local potter and former (?) punk rocker Osa Atoe.  The event brought together the New Orleans artisan community with local restaurant Pagoda Cafe to benefit the Community Kitchen Collective,  "a volunteer-run food share in New Orleans that brings together folks who love to grow, gather, cook, and serve food so we may reduce food waste and abate hunger while supporting those most marginalized by capitalism and the industrial food system."

Soups were donated to the event and served to patrons for a $0-$5 donation.  Additionally, attendees had the option to receive their soup in one of many donated hand-thrown bowls, which were priced between $15 and $35.  The event was a roaring success, raising approximately $1400 for Community Kitchen.

Featured were four soups.  Two of them were vegan, including a carrot ginger soup made by Community Kitchen themselves and a vegan vichyssoise made by me!  I'm honored to have been included among the chefs.  Many thanks to Nico of Community Kitchen for helping to make the connection.

Dedicated community members and organizations came together to make the event happen:
Osa Atoe donated her own wares to the event and also collected donations from other area potters including Rachel DePauw Pottery, The London Clayworks, Miki Glasser, and Byrdie's Gallery.  Check out Osa's beautiful pottery in her Etsy shop, Pottery by Osa.
Pagoda Cafe is a community-oriented, vegan-friendly eatery in the Seventh Ward, just a few blocks from Esplanade and Broad.  Its generous owners, who are also affiliated with the fabulous Neighborhood Story Project, donated the use of their facility for the event.

Additionaly, musical entertainment was provided by DJ Karo and DJ DressUp.
More about the Community Kitchen Collective:
Similar to the Food Not Bombs group that served in Jackson Square in the years before the storm, Community Kitchen provides "free, hot meals to the houseless in the central city & downtown areas" every Tuesday from 3-4pm, in Duncan Plaza across the street from City Hall.  They also serve at 2pm at the mission in Central City.  The group also distributes "free produce to neighbors & community organizations" and "organize solidarity food catering for anti-capitalist & social justice organizations." 
Additionally, what is Empty Bowls?  Per this event's organizers:
"The Empty Bowls Project began in 1990 as an international grassroots effort to raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. This event is unaffiliated with the Imagine/Render group who began the project, however we are using the Empty Bowls model to create a meaningful event here in New Orleans that ties arts & crafts in with social justice."
I look forward to future events involving all of these fantastic folks! 





12.09.2015

Happy Winter from NOiG - time to hibernate.

Hello all!  As you may have noticed, I've been a bit quiet here lately.  As the days grow shorter, I'm shifting my energies toward home and hearth.  Fear not, I'll be back.  In the meantime don't forget everyone's favorite NOiG feature: the map of New Orleans Vegan Options!  And don't hesitate to shout if you know of places that should be added.

Take care all, and I'll see you in the new year (or maybe before)!


(Click on the brackets in the upper righthand corner of the image to view the map in Google Maps. :))

10.24.2015

Happy Food Day 2015!

Happy Food Day!  As you may know, every October 24th is National Food Day.  In past years I've taken a passive approach to this day.  This year, I decided to volunteer for Nola Fresh Food Day, a coordinating event that connected volunteers to over a dozen sites around the city.  I worked to help prepare an urban garden, newly obtained by SPROUT NOLA, for fall planting.  I then went to visit the brand new farm stand operated by Sankofa Community Development Corporation in the Lower Ninth Ward, expanding fresh food options in that part of the city.  Here are the pictures, embarrassing sweat stains and all!















9.30.2015

The Politics of Food Supply - Concluding Thoughts
Food Issues Book Club

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

The Politics of Food Supply, Concluding Thoughts.

I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone who wants to have a thorough understanding of the history of U.S. food policy.  That said, it's an academic work and not an easy read.  But how could any exploration of such a complex subject be simple?

Potential readers should note that each chapter is written almost as a persuasive essay, taking numerous pages to refute the predominant thinking of a given nuance.  For some readers (ahem, me) this is frustrating.  But its ultimate effect is that when he gets to his real point, it's all the more clear.

In summary: want to know about subsidies and food surpluses?  Read this book.


9.25.2015

The 1996 FAIR Act
Food Issues Book Club, The Politics of Food Supply Chapter 7

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

The Politics of Food Supply, Chapter 7:
The 1996 FAIR Act - Changing U.S. Agricultural Policy

Summary:

The Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act of 1996, also known as the "freedom to farm" act, essentially ended governmental efforts at supply management.  It did so by eliminating acreage restrictions entirely. It also moved away from price supports in favor of income supports.  In addition to shifts in political power and a strong market, this profound change in U.S. agricultural policy was made possible by the changing needs of different agricultural segments during the 1990s.

Divisions among segments were clear on the issue of acreage restrictions.  The Corn Belt championed their removal - unsurprising, given the growing market provided by the livestock industry.  "The livestock segment aligned with the corn segment on the issue of {acreage} flexibility.  For instance, the National Cattlemen's Association expressed opposition to production controls.  The livestock segment favored greater flexibility because it would allow farmers already producing corn or other feed grains to produce more, and it would allow producers of other commodities to switch to various feed grains.  This would increase the supply of feed grains and reduce the price of the primary input for livestock producers."

The influence of the coalition between the corn segment and the livestock industry should not be overlooked.  "The importance of livestock production increased dramatically during the twentieth century, as both the qualitative characteristics and the size of the livestock sector changed."  As more grain farmers found livestock producers their main customers, the livestock sector itself became an influential body in matters of policy.  Given that individual consumption of meat rose from 102 to 153 pounds per capita, during a time of quick population growth, it is easy to see how quickly the industry was growing.  Its obtaining greater power was a natural result.

Don't worry - Kid President promised me it's vegan.
Apart from the domestic market for feed grain for livestock, exports for the corn segment were becoming bigger and more attractive.  "[N]ew opportunities for exporting corn, soybeans, and other feed grains during the 1990s strengthened the opposition of the corn segment to production controls."  Large, recently-opened markets included Mexico, with which trade had been liberalized via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.  Corn sales from the U.S. to Mexico increased as much as four fold, fueling Mexico's growing livestock trade.  Nations forming out of the former Soviet Union were also ripening as new trade customers.  These recent boons meant that in 1996, the corn segment was even more ready to be unrestricted in its potential growth.

Wheat and cotton producers, on the other hand, remained strongly in favor of governmental production control, "but the Corn Belt federations were more influential in the policy proposals of the national Farm Bureau," which still held great sway in Washington.  "The FAIR act eliminated production controls cleanly, without any compromise, buyout, or phasing out."  The needs of wheat and cotton, for the first time in decades, were overshadowed.

Segment divisions were less clear, and FAIR's impact less extraordinary, on the matter of price supports.  Farmers were concerned more with maintaining income than with keeping price supports per se.  What little pushback there was came from the wheat segment.  As such, there was little opposition to a switch toward income supports, particularly in light of the removal of acreage restrictions.

It was important for the government that price supports changed when production controls were removed.
 "[E]liminating production controls significantly increased the danger that the cost of price supports would rise.  As farmers expanded production after the elimination of production controls, market prices would likely fall.  This would lead to greater subsidies through deficiency payments, thereby increasing the budget costs of the farm program.  Decoupling subsidy payments offered a way of eliminating production controls without breaking the budget.  This connection gave further incentive to segments opposed to production controls, in particular the corn segment, to abandon price supports for income supports."
Importantly, "[b]y replacing price supports with fixed payments decoupled from market prices, farmers would actually receive greater subsidies from the government."

The one facet of agricultural supports that remained largely unchanged by FAIR was export subsidies.  This despite the fact that the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) was opposed by part of the corn segment as well as the livestock industry - though both supported other export support programs.  "Providing other nations with subsidized grain that might be used as feed presented the possibility of putting the U.S. livestock industry at a disadvantage by raising the cost of U.S. meat, which does not use subsidized feed."  (?!?!?)  Support from the Farm Bureau and the American Soybean Association was enough to drown out the opposition from other portions of the corn segment, and the policy had strong support from the wheat and cotton segments.  As a result, FAIR not only continued the EEP but even increased its funding.

Discussion:

That the livestock (read: meat) industry has been largely influential in shaping U.S. food policy is old news.  The statement that U.S. mead "does not use subsidized meat," however, threw me for a loop.  Having examined the paragraph at great length, I think maybe it's just awkward phrasing?  The paragraph is discussing livestock's opposition to the EEP, which provides subsidies specifically for commodities being sold for export.  Products sold nationally are subsidized in their production, thus keeping market price down, but the market price itself is not directly subsidized... something like that?  There are oh so many semantics games to be played around food policy.


9.22.2015

Agriculture and the Changing World Economy
Food Issues Book Club, The Politics of Food Supply Chapter 6

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

The Politics of Food Supply, Chapter 6:
Agriculture and the Changing World Economy - the U.S. Food Regime, 1945-1990

Summary:

After years of grain surpluses through the 1950s and 1960s, the US and the rest of the world were taken aback by famine and imminent starvation around the globe in the 1970s.  The U.S. and other developed nations had been providing international food aid throughout the time of surplus.  "With such increasing production in and agricultural assistance from the United States and other industrialized nations, why did the world face a food crisis in the 1970s?"  There were two main attributes to this food shortage: a reduction in grain supply due to growing conditions issues, and a sudden population growth.  While policymakers assumed that increasing the food supply was all that was necessary to alleviate the shortage, the problem turned out to be far more complex.

International power plays manipulated the flow of food aid in the 1960s.  For example, in the late 1960s the U.S. withheld food aid to India - on which it had grown dependent - over political disputes.  "Food aid was used in similar ways to exert influence in a number of other countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Egypt, Iran, South Korea, Vietnam, and even the Soviet Union," some of the very countries that then experienced famine in the 1970s.  "Additionally, the United States scaled back its food aid programs during this food crisis.  Consequently, international food aid was often unreliable, even dire at times."

No gas, no food.
Another factor was the so-called "green revolution" - a shift in agricultural production toward mechanization for increased production - which of course relied heavily on petroleum, both to run the machinery and in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  While this technology increased yields, "the green revolution made nations more vulnerable to economic shifts such as the sharp increase in oil prices in the early 1970s."  The oil crisis and the food crisis were thus intrinsically linked.

While growing conditions, population growth, food aid, and oil prices all contributed to the food crisis, the situation was even more complex than the interactions of these factors.  To understand the food crisis, we must understand the international "food regime."  A food regime is shaped by "the extent of state regulation and direction of agricultural trade flow" within, to, and from the hegemon, the country leading the food regime at a given time.  When lesser entities depend on a flow of basic commodities from the hegemon, or when the hegemon begins to consume mass quantities of a lesser nation's products, dependence is created, economies and labor are rearranged, and food security is undermined.

As the hegemon of the early 20th Century, for instance, Great Brittan's food regime relied on heavy imports and free trade.  The U.S.'s acquisition of the hegemon position in the 1940s flipped this regime on its head, with the U.S. relying on strongly regulated agriculture and heavy exports of basic commodities.  "Supply management was the foundation of the U.S. food regime based on national protection and agricultural trade flowing to the periphery."  International food aid was one avenue through which the U.S. exported commodities - and is its favored method of dumping agricultural suplus.

A British family receives US food aid after WWII.
While the Marshall Plan of 1948 provided a recovering Europe with food as well as machinery and fertilizer to help rebuild its agriculture, PL 480 of 1954 sent only food to "peripheral" developing nations "with little effort to build up agriculture." Helping these countries provide themselves with food was not a goal.  "With European agricultural markets essentially closed off by the mid-1950s, the United States turned to Europe's former colonies to dispose of its agricultural surpluses - most notably, wheat."  (Incidentally, this increased consumption of wheat in these countries to rise exponentially.) 

Why, after decades of efforts to manage supply, was there so much agricultural surplus to dump?  Because U.S. efforts at controlling supply tended to not only be ineffective, but in fact have the opposite effect.  By restricting acreage but subsidizing based on volume of commodity produced, policies encouraged farmers not to create less of a commodity, but to increase production of that commodity per acre.  Agricultural technology turned its energies, then, toward that aim.  "After the Second World War, a technological revolution in chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, as well as the spread of mechanization, allowed farmers to significantly increase their productivity (that is, production per acre)."

Technology allowed production per acre of most commodities to double between 1945 and 1970.  In this way, supply management policies actually created greater supply.  Importantly, "demand for these commodities did not keep up with the growing supply."  Wheat and cotton particularly suffered market instability due to surplus in the 1950s.  Corn had fewer issues as it was absorbed by the growing livestock industry and its development of concentrated animal feeding operations.  Increasing meat consumption worldwide continued to prevent too much corn surplus for the next several decades.  And yet there was still surplus corn, and it went to food aid.

This growing surplus of commodities was the primary driver behind PL 480, which sought to create international commodity markets via food aid.  Increased exports, including those for food aid, reduced government costs s by increasing market price (and thus reducing subsidy payouts), and by reducing the costs of surplus commodity storage (because there was less to store).  "Thus, the policy rested on the contours of the food regime.  ...  PL 480 firmly established the flow of agricultural goods from the core to the periphery."

The problem, simplified.
To return to the chapter's initial question: how did food crisis arise during a time of widespread agricultural surplus? The short answer is that international food aid - fueled by the U.S.'s commodity surpluses, which were, ironically, created by our attempts at reducing commodity quantities - actually caused the crisis.  It did so by disrupting local agricultural economies and creating dependence on aid that was unsteady.

"PL 480 did not emphasize building up agriculture in other nations, but instead centered almost entirely on supplying cheap agricultural imports.  The consequence was essentially to destroy much local agriculture in the periphery because local producers could not complete with subsidized imports.  ...  When the Soviet Union purchased record amounts on U.S. grain between 1972 and 1974, grain became less abundant and prices rose dramatically.  The result was a financial squeeze that put many food-importing countries on the brink of starvation."

Discussion:

This is a long chapter, and it takes its sweet time getting around to the point of what caused the food crisis of the 1970s.  When it gets there, it only spends half a paragraph on the topic.  Frustrating.

The bottom line is this: U.S. food aid reduces food stability and can even cause famine.  It is not a genuine humanitarian effort, but one sprung from the self-serving need to keep market prices high.  Sure, that's good for "farmers," as long as we understand that "farmers" are the people who own the land, not the people who work it.  U.S. food aid is undertaken in ways that at best fail to account for the impact on the economies of aided countries, and at worst intentionally disrupt those economies to expand our own international markets.  We are not the good guys.  We never have been.

9.19.2015

The Decline of the South
Food Issues Book Club, The Politics of Food Supply Chapter 5

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

The Politics of Food Supply, Chapter 5:
The Decline of the South - Changing Power within U.S. Agriculture

Editor's note: the photographs accompanying the summary were taken at Whitney Plantation (by me) in the summer of 2015.  The Whitney Plantation is the only plantation in the South that operates as a slavery museum (rather than a wedding hotspot).  Originally planted with indigo, sugar, and rice, cotton is still grown on the adjacent property.  After slavery, the plantation was used extensively for sharecropping.  The plantation was built by the Haydel family.  (Yes, that Haydel family.)

Summary:

As discussed in the previous chapter, the decades between 1945 and 1975 saw dramatic changes in U.S. agricultural policy, accompanied by societal and political shifts in power.
"Southern planters tended to favor supply management policy, but their ability to protect this policy depended on their dominance over southern politics and national policies.  The southern rural class structure, that is, the plantation system, allowed planters to dominate the South's political economy, which then gave them disproportionate influence over national policies.  As this class structure changed during the 1950s and 1960s, however, the southern planters fell from their politically dominant position.  After exerting great influence in Congress, the Democratic Party, and national politics from about 1932 to 1960, planters began to lose political power as the Republican Party gained influence in the South and blacks gained influence in the Democratic Party.  This fall from power had important consequences for agricultural policy because the southern planters were among the most ardent supporters of supply management policy."
Statues of children in the Antioch Church
After slavery was deemed unconstitutional in 1865, Africans and their descendants who had been forcibly brought to the states needed to find a way to make a living.  Likewise, southern planters had to figure out a new way to keep their plantations running, now that they could no longer force people to do the work for no pay.  Part of the solution reached was tenant farming and sharecropping.  "Tenant farmers in the South rented portions of land and supplied the "cultivating power (usually mules) and implements and customarily [paid] two-thirds of the seed and fertilizer costs."  With sharecropping, in contrast, the landowner "[supplied] everything used in production (including housing) except labor and [furnished] half the cost of seed and fertilizer."  Sharecropping looked very much like slavery, the main difference being payment in the form of a share of the crop.  Some tenants were cash tenants, who did not share their crop with the landowner, but these were far less common than sharecroppers or share tenants."

Though this system was clearly better than chattel slavery, it still afforded planters inappropriate levels of power over the laborers.  Tenants unable to pay rent wound up with "crop liens" owed to planters.  Planters could also expel tenants whenever they saw fit.  'The crop-lien system and the informality of contracts often put 'absolute control of relationships in the hands of the landlord.'"

Slave quarters for two families.
Whereas other crop harvests were mechanized in the early 1900s, cotton - the primary cash crop of the South - remained largely hand-harvested until the 1960s.  In 1960, 51% of the southern cotton crop was harvested by hand.  "As late as 1962, most southern states relied heavily on laborers to pick cotton by hand.  Control over a sufficiently large supply of labor was therefore crucial, and this need to secure labor propelled the class structure."  The affording of rights to black people interfered with such control.

The AAA of 1933 was created, at least in part, to provide financial support to southern planters.  Ironically, the Act and planters' reaction to it wound up changing the underlying class structure of the South, and undermining planters' business methods.  "Supply management policy weakened the plantation system by supplying federal subsidies that encouraged planters to replace tenants with hired workers and to mechanize."  This was in large part due to planters' unwillingness to share subsidy payments with tenants and sharecroppers, despite AAA's requirements that they do so.  Cotton "planters kept almost 90 percent of AAA payments in the early New Deal.  Planters had no obligation to share subsidy payments with hired hands.  The planters' greed, then, was ultimately their undoing.

"Though supply management policy helped to initiate the demise of the plantation system, the New Deal left the system of racial oppression and political exclusion in the South largely untouched."  As planters moved away from tenant and sharecropping labor and toward wage labor, southern blacks were pushed off of farms and moved from rural to urban areas.  The "Great Migration" to northern cities enabled blacks to gain a voice in voting - from which they were still shut out in the South through various forms of illegal but socially accepted obstruction and intimidation.  "And although northern cities were not havens of racial equality and democracy, they nonetheless provided blacks with more social and political rights and presented a much smaller threat of violence than that which blacks faced in the rural South."  Even in the South, creating urban communities allowed blacks to become more socially powerful and begin to fight back against racial oppression.

A holding pen for slaves on sale.
"The civil rights movement challenged the political elements of the plantation system that the AAA did not."  The Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi, organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CRE) and focused on black voter registration in the South, increased the voting power and therefore political power of the black community.  The resulting Voting Rights Act of 1965 solidified this shift.  Presidential candidates from both parties suddenly became concerned with courting the black vote, and at least paying lip service to civil rights issues.

"In the 1950s, whites' massive resistance to racial integration enveloped the South.  This resistance was led by the planters and disrupted economic activity and developments, thereby conflicting with the interests of industry."  The civil disobedience actions of the civil rights movement met with violent and disruptive responses from whites.  Those responses (rather than the demonstrations themselves), frequently led or egged on by planters and their cronies, disrupted business and industry and fueled new resentments - and allyships.

Much strife ensued around the landmark desegregation case of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, and the enforced desegregation of public schools that followed.  Schools that chose to shut down rather than desegregate caused economic disinvestment, leading to difficulty in opening new plants.  These disruptions put planters further at odds with the rising southern industrial class.  Blacks aligned with industry, presenting a more united opposition to planters and their way of life.

"[T]he civil rights movement played a hidden though important role in the retrenchment of supply management.  Supply management policy undermined the economic dimensions of the plantation system.  One important effect was to allow blacks to leave the rural South, which helped to create an environment conducive to the rise of the civil rights movement.  This movement for racial equality then challenged the lingering political dimensions of the plantation system as well as the political power of southern planters.  Southern politics became more inclusive, and the Democratic Party began to support civil rights more fully.  All this reduced the power of southern planters over national policies, including agricultural policy.  Thus, the transformation of the southern class structure was the underlying factor that allowed the retrenchment of supply management policy."
Discussion:

Talk about mind blown.  This chapter does an excellent job of drawing lines between agricultural policy and the civil rights movement, something I have literally never thought about before.  I am sure that historians disagree on the degree of influence of various factors in the rise of the civil rights movement, but the evidence here is compelling that agricultural policy at least played a role.

I am frustrated a bit by the tone of this chapter.  In certain passages Winders seems to fully acknowledge the utter wrongness of slavery and the decades of oppression that followed its abolition.  But he also takes a very passive tone about black people being "allowed" to leave rural lands and find their way to urban settings, and how great that ultimately was for the black community.  Let's be clear.  Black people were not "allowed" to leave farms any more than they were "allowed" to seek work as agricultural labor in the states.  They were forced in, and they were forced out again, compelled by white greed in both directions.  That they were able to rise up out the deep-seated and profound structural racism of the Jim Crow South to fight for their rights is a testament only to their own strength and courage.  They were done no favors.

A light bulb went off for me in the discussion of the movement of blacks into more urban areas between 1930 and 1960.  White flight!  I have tried to understand the process of white flight here in New Orleans; its scars are all over the city.  My own father's family moved away from the Irish Channel and to Kenner after the first black person, a tailor, purchased a house on their block.  (Mind you my family was not well-to-do - they were poor Irish and my dad was a foster kid, one of many.  And even for them, living on a block with a black homeowner was more than they could bear.)  It dawned on me in reading this chapter that in all my thinking about where the white people went and why, I hadn't thought about where the black people were coming from.  Certainly some were coming from neighborhoods with a higher concentration of black residents.  To this day, New Orleans has neighborhoods that are nearly 100 percent black.  But perhaps some were also coming, literally, from the cotton fields.  Or maybe the line was not quite that direct.  Perhaps someday I will find the time and skill to dig up the research that undoubtedly exists about the movement of black people, post-emancipation, in southern Louisiana.

Finally, I would be remiss to mention the forced desegregation of schools in the South without mentioning Ruby Bridges.  On November 14, 1960, Ruby became the first black person to attend a public school in New Orleans.  1960.  Ruby was just a baby when she was put into the desegregation spotlight, and had to be guarded by court marshals because of threats upon her baby life.  She was too young to really know what was happening.  Whether because of or despite that early experience, she grew into an incredible woman who is quite active in the New Orleans social justice community.  Incidentally, before moving to New Orleans, Ruby's family were sharecroppers in Mississippi.

An "uncredited DOJ Photographer" shot this iconic photograph.