Mississippi Agriculture Oral History Collection

Dublin Core


Agriculture and Industry


The Mississippi Agriculture Oral History Collection is comprised of interviews whose research focus is on the environmental, social, and technological aspects of agricultural change in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. Interviews were conducted with a variety of subjects, including large-scale and small-scale farmers, former agricultural workers, civil rights activists, extension agents, and agro-industrial sector workers, documenting their experience of the agricultural industrialization process during the mid to late twentieth century.

The Mississippi Agriculture Oral History Collection was donated to the Russell Library in 2017 by Brian Williams, a doctoral candidate in the Geography Department at the University of Georgia. All interviews were conducted by Williams as primary source research, spanning across various states in the southeastern United States, including Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia.

View all OHMS indexed interviews in this collection here.


Brian Williams


Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies







Interviews in this Collection (21):


Clyde Sartor grew up in Water Valley, Mississippi. Sartor worked as a cotton scout before he eventually came to receive a bachelor’s science and a master’s in biology at the University of Mississippi and later, a PhD at Mississippi State University.…


Harry Fulton was born in Winston County, Mississippi. He grew up on his family’s farm, and he attended Mississippi State University where he earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in entomology. Fulton worked as a district inspector…


Frank Corban was born in 1934 in Jefferson County, Mississippi. He was raised on the family farm, and he attended Mississippi State University for Animal Husbandry. He worked as a county agent for 55 years in Tunica County, Sunflower County, and…


Kevin Corban was born in 1961 in Tunica County, Mississippi. He attended Mississippi State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in crop pest management. He worked as a cotton scout for over twenty years…


James Carter was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi in 1928. He served in the Reserves during WWII and has been a farmer since he was fifteen. Carter has been a member of the Delta Council, the National Cotton Council and the State-Wide Farm Bureau.…


Mike Ellis was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952, and grew up in Webb, Mississippi. Ellis has been in the field of agricultural sales and services for 35 years and has farmed occasionally throughout his career. Ellis has worked at many companies…


Mary Mackey was born in 1956 outside Tutwiler, Mississippi. Her father was a farm worker, and she grew up chopping cotton. Mackey works as the Quilting Program Coordinator at the Tutwiler Community Education Center. In this interview, she describes…


Genether Spurlock was born in 1951 in Enid, Mississippi. She grew up chopping cotton before attending college and becoming a teacher. She served as the mayor of Tutwiler and works as the Education Coordinator at the Tutwiler Community Education…


Eddie Carthan was born in 1949 and was raised by his grandparents on their family farm in Mississippi. He attended college and became a businessman and then a farmer. Carthan was the first Black Mayor of Tchula, Mississippi before becoming the County…


Carlton Layne grew up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He received an education at Clarion State University, leading him to work for the U.S Department of Agriculture and eventually the Environmental Protection Agency. In this interview, Layne talks about…


Wendell Paris grew up in Mississippi and attended Tuskegee Institute where he studied agriculture. During his time as a student, he joined the Student Nonviolence Coordination Committee (SNCC). Paris eventually came to manage the Panola Land Buyers…


Samuel McCray was born in 1949 near Lambert. He was raised by his grandparents who were sharecroppers on a plantation. He attended Delta State University and he worked for various nonprofits before becoming a Field Representative and Caseworker in…


Frank Mitchener was born in 1933 in Sumner, Mississippi. He attended Davidson College before serving in the army for two years. Mitchener was a farmer and agricultural leader in the Delta. He served as the president of the Delta Council and the…


Herman Johnson was born in 1929 in Gilbert, Louisiana. His parents were sharecroppers, and he grew up working on farms. He graduated from Southern University and served in the Army. Johnson worked with Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company, taught…

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