Masters Thesis

Did white supremacy stall the forward momemtum of the Colored Farmers’ Alliance?

In Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America, Lawrence Goodwyn suggests, “White supremacy prevented black farmers from performing the kinds of collective public acts essential to the creation of an authentic movement culture” (Goodwyn 122-123). This thesis offers another point of view endorsing the notion that despite white supremacy, the Colored Farmers’ Alliance did create a movement putting forth an agenda of “collective public acts” that not only sought the betterment of farmers during the 1880s and 1890s, but also contributed to the initial success of the Populist Movement. A discussion entails of the events that precipitated the formation of the National Farmers’ Alliance and subsequent evolution of the Colored Farmers Alliance along with accounts of their unified efforts effecting change. This grass-roots association became one of the largest African American cultural movements in the United States laying the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.