UW–Madison scholar wins 2022 Carnegie Fellowship
Monica White, a professor of environmental justice at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been awarded a prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.
White will use the $200,000 award to complete the research and writing of her second book, We Stayed: Agriculture, Activism, and the Southern Black Rural Families Who Fought to Keep the Land. The book focuses on three generations of an Alabama family who, instead of moving north in the Great Migration, stayed in the South farmed the land, and used their long-standing community connections to help lead the civil rights movement.
“Congratulations to Monica for earning a Carnegie Fellowship,” says UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Monica’s work is a significant contribution to our understanding of Black history. I’m very pleased that her work is being recognized through this award.”
White is Distinguished Chair of Integrated Environmental Studies and the founding director of the Office for Environmental Justice in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Her research focuses on Black, Indigenous and Latinx community-based food systems that provide food security, sovereignty and social solidarity.
“So much of the scholarship around the Great Migration concentrates on families like mine who left the South. I think there’s been insufficient attention on the Black families who stayed and the institutions that they created in order to stay,” says White, who also holds a joint appointment in the Nelson Institute and the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “These families offer us an example of how they were able to stay by engaging in agriculture, but also in activism. And they saw the two as wed together and closely connected.”
White’s first book, Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, was published by UNC Press in 2019. The book documents how Southern Black farmers turned to agriculture as a means of resistance and how this history inspired modern food justice movements in cities.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York awards the Carnegie Fellowships to provide distinguished scholars in the social sciences and humanities the support they need to complete important research in their fields. In 2022, the corporation selected 28 fellows from nearly 300 nominations.