Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Committee Chair

Rajack-Talley, Theresa


African American farmers--Kentucky; Farms--Kentucky; Land use, Rural--Kentucky


The decline of black farmers and black-owned farmlands is an ever worsening problem. Though their numbers neared one million at the start of the 20th century, the most recent account of black farmers states that there are only 30599 left in America (Census of Agriculture, 2007). The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences and perspectives of black farmers in Kentucky regarding factors that contribute to land loss. Participants in this exploratory study were gathered using convenience and snowball sampling techniques. Each farmer owned land in Central and Eastern Kentucky counties. This study discovered that contrary to popular arguments, the farmers did not report that economies of scale or racial discrimination, contributed to land loss. However, patterns of racial discrimination did emerge as a factor that farmers had to negotiate in their farm operations and sales. Land loss was closely associated with real estate sales and lack of interest among rural youth in farming and/or rural lifestyles. A limit to this study is its small sample size; yet, despite this shortcoming, this research is an entry point for assessing and learning about Kentucky's black farmers, their lives, and their perspectives on land loss.