Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Ambinakudige, Shrinidhi S.

Committee Member

Rodgers, John C., III

Committee Member

Sherman-Morris, Kathleen

Committee Member

Williams, Brian

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Campus Access Only 1 Year

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


By the early 20th century, in 1920, Black farmers owned 14% of US farmland. Today, in the 21st century, Black farmers own less than 2% of US farmland. The demise of Black farmers and Black farmland in US Agriculture is a direct result of social, political, and racial weaponization against their foodways, culture, and livelihoods. The history concerning the plight of Black farmers goes beyond USDA's historical discrimination but enters a position where racism is embedded and perpetuated within the structure of US agriculture. In effect, Black small-scale farmers have reaped the downfall of this system, enduring racial biases and a complex relationship to the land for future generations. This dissertation examines and investigates the contemporary challenges associated with Mississippi’s small-scale Black farmers and their strategies that resist these challenges to create a self-sufficient agricultural system. Employing a qualitative approach using 31 semi-structured interviews and 4 focus groups discussions, in total of 87 persons, this research studies barriers and resilience strategies by amplifying the voices of small-scale Black farmers across Mississippi. This work draws from previous scholarship in institutional racism, colorblind racism, Black agrarianism, community based organizations, food sovereignty, and Black geographies. Findings indicate that racism still undermines Black farmers in agriculture. Still, they resist and combat these barriers by becoming powerful agents that bring catalyst change in the form of community togetherness and self-sufficiency.