Monica White receives two awards for her research on Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement

January 16, 2020

Nelson Institute professor of Environmental Justice, Monica White has been awarded both the 2019 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (REI) Fellowship for her research relating to Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement.

White received the 2019 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award for her book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2018. The award is presented by the Division of Race and Ethnic Minorities Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, which includes a committee of academics and professionals. In selecting White for this award, the 2019 committee said, “[White] deftly blends the past and present through her methodological techniques of archive work, semi structured interviews, informal meetings, and more to provide a strong picture of how the resistance of black farmers in the past is being channeled in the present in contemporary black agriculture and food justice and sovereignty movements in places like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and New York City.”

As a part of the award, White also received a monetary donation, which she gifted to the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives. This organization, which “provides assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security,” provided White with editorial support and feedback.

“I’m very grateful to have been selected for this award,” said White.

In addition to the 2019 Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book Award, White has also been selected for the Institute for Research in the Humanities University of Wisconsin-Madison Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (REI) Fellowship. This award allows tenure or tenure-track faculty to be released from teaching and service duties for up to two semesters so that they can focus full-time on their research. In this case, White will be working on her next book which will focus on the individuals who stayed in the south and did not participate in the Great Migration.

“There is a lot of material on the Great Migration from the south to the north but nothing concentrates on those Black families who stayed,” said White. “I want to concentrate on the cost of the migration in terms of fractured families, and for those who stayed, how they held onto institutions, land, and how they created survival strategies. Millions stayed and those stories have been overlooked, so I’m beside myself with excitement to have the opportunity to dive into my new book.”

As a part of the fellowship, White will participate in weekly meetings with other fellows where they will present their work and share their ideas.

“This is one of the many gifts I’ve had working here at UW-Madison,” said White. “My work is better because of the collaborative intelligence and the way colleagues freely give and share here. I feel fortunate to have a chance to collaborate with other fellows.”

Beard Foundation Presents Leadership Awards

From the NYT:
“Ben Burkett is still farming a parcel of land in Mississippi that his great-grandfather homesteaded in 1889, about two decades after slavery ended. He grows 16 vegetables, including okra and soybeans, on 320 acres, but he is also active in several organizations that promote local food production for local consumption.“Our work is to bring awareness to the plight of the true family farm,” Mr. Burkett, 62, said over the phone from his farm in Petal, in Southern Mississippi. Mr. Burkett is one of five winners of the James Beard Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries in the world of food politics and sustainable agriculture.”

Ben Burkett-farmer and activist

Ben Burkett-farmer and activist

Great news. I have learned a great deal from working with the folks at Indian Springs, the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives and truly, from Ben himself (and for the last few years, his daughter Darnella too.) This past Saturday, he accepted congratulations from his peers and shoppers at the New Orleans farmers market where he showed up to sell his products, just as he has every season since 1995 even with the grueling schedule he keeps assisting with initiatives near and far to expand local wealth and health for communities. No one deserved this award more this year.

and congrats to his fellow winners, all of whom also richly deserve the honor:
“… include Karen Washington, the former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and an urban farmer; Michael Pollan, the writer and journalist who has written extensively about food and food politics; Navina Khanna, a fellow at the Movement Strategy Center who has worked to create awareness and action around food justice issues; and Mark Bittman, an author and food writer for The New York Times.”

Beard Foundation Presents Leadership Awards – NYTimes.com.