Abstract

This article analyzes and compares the vision for the future of agriculture presented at two Depression-era world fairs—the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and the 1940 American Negro Exposition—to highlight double standards in agricultural policy. An examination of correspondence, federal records, promotional materials, photographs, and news articles related to the two fairs reveals that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) envisioned a subordinate and ancillary role for African Americans in its vision of industrial agriculture. The exhibits at both fairs embodied the perspective that informed the USDA's unequal approach to lending and administering federal farm programs, an approach that endures in similar ways today.

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