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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
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  • Economics


This interview mostly concerns Douglas Heard's experience of growing up as the child of a black farmer in south Alabama in the 1940s through the 1960s. A considerable amount of time is also spent on remembering his father, Amos Heard, who was a successful black farmer, barber, and mill worker. He offers useful insight into how his father acquired the land for his farm, as well as it remaining within the family. He spends some time on mechanization and the resultant displacement of black sharecroppers from the land in the 1950s. The theme of race relations between the black and white communities is a recurrent theme throughout the interview, whether it regards farming, the army, the Civil Rights Movement, or even employment beginning in the late 1960s. The final third of the interview continues the story of strained racial relations, the younger generations disinterest in farming, and what Mr. Heard considers to be the demise of black farming in the South. Finally, he ends the interview with a short story about racist white coworkers who harassed him while working for Goodrich in the late 1960s. He defined this moment as being a clear moment of change for him in his life.

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