The New Deal resettlement communities appear in the literature as efforts to ameliorate the wretched condition of southern sharecroppers and tenants.However, those evicted to make way for the new settlers are virtually invisible in the historic record. The resettlement projects were part of larger efforts to modernize rural America. "Modernization" is a complex process whereby a relatively specific set of assumptions and behaviors make other assumptions and behaviors "wrong, "both morally and pragmatically. The removal of former tenants and their replacement by FSA clients in the lower Mississippi alluvial plain — the Delta — reveals core elements of New Deal modernizing policies, exposing key concepts that guided the FSA’s tenant removals: the definition of rural poverty as rooted in the problem of tenancy; the belief that economic success entailed particular cultural practices and social forms; and the commitment by those with political power to gain local support. These assumptions undergirded acceptance of racial segregation and the criteria used to select new settlers. Alternatives could only become visible through political or legal action — capacities sharecroppers seldom had. However, in succeeding decades, these modernizing assumptions created conditions for Delta African Americans on resettlement projects to challenge white supremacy.