Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Debra A. Reid

Thesis Committee Member

Mark Hubbard

Thesis Committee Member

Sace E. Elder


This thesis approaches the construction of race through the vantage of one agrarian magazine, the Prairie Farmer. It analyzes the rhetoric of the people who wrote for this magazine to distinguish changing attitudes toward whiteness and blackness in the rural and agricultural Midwest from the end of the Civil War to the Great Migration. While whiteness was equated with what the Prairie Farmer saw as the active, progressive farmer, blackness was associated with stupidity, laziness, and threat to property. From this, the thesis argues we can build a base of knowledge from which to analyze the roots of racism in the rural Midwest that many historians take for granted when considering this era.