Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

Joby Bass

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

Clifton Dixon

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

David Cochran

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology


Government New Deal farm policies of the 1930s changed the realities of farming and the landscape in Mississippi. This research endeavors to compare three farm communities created by New Deal legislation in the state: Hattiesburg, McComb, and Tupelo. The economic crisis that was the Great Depression created a highly politicized environment as citizens looked to the government for economic relief. A crisis this severe would require an exceptional effort to mitigate the economic hardships it created, in varying degrees, for millions of Americans. The actions of the federal government during the Great Depression were an interesting mix of paternalism, desperation, and experimentation. The paternalism of the New Deal demonstrates, to a degree, the lack of economic and political leverage of the subjects of this study, tenant farmers and sharecroppers. Herein lies one of the significant implications of this research. How did these underrepresented constituents fare with regard to government policy? The federal government purchased land and chose people to inhabit subsistence farm communities. This interaction, dictated by factors such as location, government requirements, individual knowledge, and economic conditions, reshaped the landscape. The government's creation of these communities and the individual homesteaders who participated left imprints on the landscape. My intent is to examine each of the three communities in the study area on the basis of variables which helped define them historically and to evaluate, to the extent possible, the changes wrought by this action on the contemporary landscape.

Included in

Geography Commons