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Southern Farmers and Their StoriesMemory and Meaning in Oral History$
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Melissa Walker

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780813124094

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813124094.001.0001

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(p.223) Conclusion
Southern Farmers and Their Stories


University Press of Kentucky

This concluding chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the local farmers' recollection of their experiences in the rural transformation in the American South. It suggests that the transformation of agriculture undermined farm people's ties to the past and the rural southerners, through their stories, sought a kind of redemption, a restoration of a sense that their lives and their way of life had mattered. Their shared memory focused on self-sufficiency, a rural work ethic, persistence through hard times, a commitment to mutual aid, an attachment to the land and the local community, and the relative equality of rural folk. Their descriptions of transformation and its meanings were marked by sharp class, generational, and racial divides.

Keywords:   rural transformation, southern farmers, American South, self-sufficiency, work ethic, mutual aid, racial divide, generational divide, class divide

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