Black Farmer Storytelling Project
PDLT presents Black Farmer Storytelling Project display at Florence County Library
Florence, S.C., August 6, 2015 –Pee Dee Land Trust has prepared an exhibit of storyboards featuring photographs and quotes collected during a series of interviews with six African American farmers in the Pee Dee region. The “Pee Dee Black Farmer Storytelling Project” is currently on display in the lobby of the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library in Florence through August 18th. The exhibit also features books on farming, rural history, and conservation donated to the library by the Pee Dee Land Trust.
“These storyboards and the interviews behind them represent an important step for the Pee Dee Land Trust in understanding and sharing the experience of smaller-scale, limited resource farmers in the region. There is a long history of African American farmers growing nutritious produce for local communities, and we wanted to hear those stories and share them through their words and photographs,” said Pee Dee Land Trust Executive Director David Harper.
To complete the interviews, Pee Dee Land Trust partnered with Jillian Hishaw of F.A.R.M.S. (Family Agricultural Resource Management Services). Ms. Hishaw’s work focuses on reducing the amount of family land lost due to heirs property and other challenges in rural black communities. Ms. Hishaw and several of the farmers also participate in Pee Dee Land Trust’s Farms to Food Bank project, in which fresh local produce from small-scale farmers is distributed through the Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Lowcountry Food Bank to Pee Dee residents facing hunger.
Farmers interviewed for the project include (click on the farmer to open their full story board):
- Mr. Gabriel Bathay – Mullins, Marion County
- Mr. and Mrs. John Culbreath – Kingstree, Williamsburg County
- Mr. Harvey Miller – Chesterfield, Chesterfield County
- Mr. Clint and Ms. Debbie Nero – Scranton, Florence County
- Mr. Michael Streater – Chesterfield, Chesterfield County
- Mr. Ivory Wilson – Mullins, Marion County
Mr. Harvey Miller of Chesterfield explained his commitment to farming this way: “Young people of today don’t realize that, once the land is gone, your history is gone. My siblings moved away and their children have no connection to the land. Most of the children are educated and have high powered jobs that are here today and gone tomorrow — but the land will always remain.”
The project was partially funded by a grant from the Humanities Council of South Carolina, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. After August 18th, the Pee Dee Black Farmer Storytelling Project exhibit will then circulate among other libraries and public buildings across the Pee Dee.
Alan Smith, Director of Florence County Library, with the Black Farmer Storytelling display at the Florence County Library through August 18th. Lake City Library will display the story boards from August - October 15, 2016.
Thank you to some of our media partners for helping us spread the word about this exciting display and project.