AgriCULTURAL History in the Classroom

By Williams, Chansi; Alston, Antoine | The Agricultural Education Magazine, November/December 2004 | Go to article overview

AgriCULTURAL History in the Classroom

Williams, Chansi, Alston, Antoine, The Agricultural Education Magazine

A man without history is like a tree without roots. (Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, 1917).

From the First Morrill Act of 1862 to the founding of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) in 1928, historical events have not only shaped current issues in agricultural education, but they also hold the keys to understanding the future of the field. Without any knowledge of the strong history of agricultural education, students would lack access to the documentation of the foundations which were laid to prepare them as leaders in the agriculture industry. One major aspect of this history that is often overlooked or misunderstood is the contribution of various cultures in the development of agriculture, a component that the primary author of this article has termed "AgriCULTURAL" history.

Simply stated "AgriCULTURAL" is a term created to describe the importance of educating all students in an agricultural program about the contributions of ethnic minorities to agriculture. This can be achieved by integrating a multicultural curriculum within the classroom. Tackling issues like cultural diversity in agriculture should be a major concern for educators because barricades still exist between the agricultural industry and minority participation. For the context of this article the focus will be African-American students.

Today, African-Americans comprise a very small percentage of the agricultural workforce in the United States. According to Foster and Henson (1992) the agricultural industry is the foundation for any society. However, in the United States ethnic minorities and women involvement in the field of agriculture is limited. Various demographic estimates indicate that ethnic minority populations are steadily increasing, and more of these students will need to be recruited into agricultural related careers in order to sustain the agricultural industry for the future and to help ensure that the United States remains competitive in the global economy (USDA Fact Book 2000). As agricultural educators, it is important to link relevant facts of the past with present opportunities for the future. Wakefield (2003) indicates that students should have access to documents displaying the role of Blacks in Agriculture and FFA; additionally, they should be given the opportunity to take part in FFA events.

If agricultural teachers do not start to define their roles as educators in more diverse ways and acknowledge the history of Blacks in agriculture, African-American students will continue to miss out on the growing employment opportunities in agriculture due to a lack of awareness and interest in the field. According to Luft (1996), agricultural teachers need training in multicultural education because more than likely, they will utilize their pedagogical skills in classrooms which are comprised of a wide of array of students, often different from the teacher's own racial or ethnic background. The needs of culturally diverse students should be a priority for all agricultural educators (Luft, 1996).

An important aspect in educating agricultural students about cultural diversity lies in creating a warm and inclusive classroom environment. Imagine African-American students sitting in an agriculture class, and never observing any sign that African-American professionals in agriculture exist? Or, even more problematic, imagine a classroom discussion that never acknowledges the contributions of any ethnic groups at all, particularly those of African-Americans? What might be done to reverse these images? One of the first ideas that come to mind is a lesson plan that elaborates on the contributions of African-American agricultural scientist such as George Washington Carver, botanist/crop scientist, Dr. Alfreda Webb, the first AfricanAmerican female veterinarian, and Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, who was the founder of the only black School of Veterinary Medicine in the United States at Tuskegee University. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

AgriCULTURAL History in the Classroom


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.