The Politics of Despair
Power and Resistance in the Tobacco Wars
When tobacco prices fell below the cost of production in the early 1900s, farmers in western Kentucky and Tennessee, faced with desperate economic circumstances, formed cooperatives through which they could pool their crops and withhold tobacco from the market until a satisfactory price was offered. Campbell recounts the organizational underpinnings of the notorious "Black Patch War" and the forces that drove farmers to seek violent solutions to their economic ills. Campbell then expands the story to the burley region, where a simultaneous movement was under way. In 1908, over thirty thousand burley growers undertook the only successful large-scale agricultural strike in American history. Campbell brings this drama to life and describes the emotional day when the farmers achieved their unprecedented victory over the powerful Tobacco Trust.
The Tobacco Wars represented one of the last desperate gasps from the countryside before the onset of "agribusiness" drove millions of farmers and their families away for good. The Politics of Despair thus stands as a unique reminder of a tradition of protest that has, perhaps, been irretrievably lost. This book will interest not only rural and labor historians and students of the American South but anyone concerned with the profound issues surrounding the decline of rural America.
About the Author
"A compelling history of ordinary people attempting to take control of their lives.""—William Greider, author of Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (And Redeeming Promise) of Our Country
"Thoroughly researched and well-written, The Politics of Despair is a major contribution to agricultural history"—Pete Daniel, author of Dispossession: Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights
Other Titles by Tracy Campbell
Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)