Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



Political Science


The primary intent of this thesis is to discuss and critique the influence of agrarianism and liberalism in those movements and organizations which have demonstrated ideological loyalty to the nation that land is the basis of political loyalty to the notion that land is the basis of political power. An historical overview of those movements and ideas which shaped black agrarianism thought and practice is provided in an attempt to link trends and assumptions, or to dismiss them, to the organizational assumptions and practices of the Emergency Land Fund, a contemporary organization committed to the retention and expansion of black landownership.

A study of agrarianism and its organizational manifestations is significant in that landownership has been advanced, by adherents of agrarianism, as the solution to the political and economic powerlessness of black people in America. A critical assessment needs to be made of those theories and practices which have generated support among black leaders,and the community in general, to determine the extent to which those theories and practices do what it is they claim they intend to do.

The main source of information were census data, ELF internal documents which included Forty Acres and a mule, ELF Newsletter. promotional pamphlets and flyers, interviews with ELF employees or associates, and secondary information in the form of books, periodicals, and newspaper articles.