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Deep Roots: 'Ohio's Mixed-Race Farmers'

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2007
      Map & Tour
      http://www.ohiou.edu/oufront/pix/dot.gifArchiveEye in the SkyAnother AmericaBobcat DadMy Life as a CatHush Harbors
      Ohio in Focus
      The Last Black Dairy Farmer

      Related Links/Info
      The black farmers and
      Agriculturalists Association

      PBS' Homecoming
      - black farmers

      ABC News - 60
      Farmers and a Mule

      Sustaining Communities -
      Ohio's black Farmers at the
      Crossroads (.PDF file)

      Henry Robert Burke's
      Southeastern Ohio

      (African-American History)

      School of Visual Communication


      Boone seeks - and finds -
      diversity in Southeast Ohio

      By Aaron Reincheld

      When photojournalism graduate student
      Regina Boone came to Ohio University in
      the fall of 2001, something didn't feel right.

      It wasn't that she was homesick.

      Boone, who was then 32, had
      spent three years teaching in
      Japan and backpacking alone
      across Asia, Africa and Europe.

      But the Richmond, Va.,
      native did feel isolated.

      Having completed her undergraduate
      degree at [an
      HIBMCU] in Atlanta,
      Boone, herself
      experienced culture shock in spite
      of the rich history surrounding
      the Athens region -- including
      the Underground Railroad.

      "Initially I was totally
      shocked," Boone says.

      "I was seeing very few ..
      people-of-color outside of campus.

      I wanted to find where [they]
      were in the greater community
      and what they were doing."

      So Boone set out on a mission:
      African-Americans ---
      beyond the University's gates.

      One day, she traveled to Gallipolis
      for a celebration of the Emancipation
      Proclamation, the document signed
      by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 ...

      African-Americans from Gallipolis and
      surrounding regions attended the event.

      "I felt relieved to see so many ..."
      Boone says. "I no longer felt as lonely."

      Her experience led her to
      a wonderful friendship.

      At the celebration, Boone met Bill
      Howard from Bidwell, Ohio -- the
      last "
      black" dairy farmer in the state.

      She soon formed a close relationship
      with Howard and his wife, Jackie.

      During visits to their farm, Boone learned about
      the current difficulties facing dairy farmers.

      "I saw how the job is not only an occupation,
      but also a lifestyle that has so many hardships
      that come along with it," she says.

      When assigned to complete a project for a
      visual communications class, she thought
      Bill Howard would make a captivating subject.

      The motivation behind the photos
      has different layers, and Boone
      hopes people who view her work
      will come away with a few messages.

      Boone hopes to showcase the
      region's cultural diversity.

      "I would like others to realize there
      is a community of Black people,
      a community of Bi-Racial people and a
      community of
      Multi-Racial people living
      in Southeast Ohio, and that they are here
      making a difference and have been here
      for a very, very long time
      ," Boone says.

      "This area is not a homogeneous community.
      I want people to recognize the diversity."

      Boone also hopes people gain an
      appreciation of farmers across the nation.

      "I want people to realize how the life of
      farming is such a sacrifice," she says.

      "We should not forget our farmers -- especially
      the few remaining
      black farmers who fought
      hard for their land and, unfortunately, are
      still fighting to survive on their land today."


      Aaron Reincheld
      is a graduate
      student writer
      with University
      and Marketing.

      http://www.ohiou.edu/oufront/pix/dot.gif  Ohio University - Athens, Ohio 45701 - Tel: (740) 593-1000



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