Better Living by Their Own Bootstraps: Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1914-1965

Cherisse Jones-Branch

The first major study to consider Black women’s activism in rural Arkansas, Better Living by Their Own Bootstraps foregrounds activists’ quest to improve Black communities through language and foodways as well as politics and community organizing. In reexamining these efforts, Cherisse Jones-Branch lifts many important figures out of obscurity, positioning them squarely within Arkansas’s agrarian history.

The Black women activists highlighted here include home demonstration agents employed by the Arkansas Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service and Jeanes Supervising Industrial Teachers, all of whom possessed an acute understanding of the difficulties that African Americans faced in rural spaces.

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