In 1913 Clarence Poe, the editor of the Progressive Farmer, launched his infamous campaign to racially segregate rural North Carolina. Historians of comparative race relations have used Poe's proposal as an example of the intellectual exchanges between South Africa and the US South. This article reinterprets Poe's segregation campaign by placing it in the context of his decade-long engagement with the transnational Country Life Movement that spanned the Atlantic in the years before World War I. While visiting England, Ireland, and Denmark, Poe engaged with prominent romantic agrarian thinkers and encountered scenes of a harmonious, beautiful, and prosperous Anglo-Saxon country life that he longed for the South to emulate. In light of these influences, Poe's fight to remove blacks from the rural South had less to do with imported racial ideas and more with Poe's commitment to recreating the Irish countryside in the South. It was Poe's romantic agrarianism that inspired him to spearhead what was, by all accounts, an economically misguided and morally repugnant policy.

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