Document 33: Council of Federated Organizations, "Farmers," [Flyer], [October-November 1964], Elaine DeLott Baker Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

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   Voter registration and the organization of the FDP were the cornerstones of Freedom Summer, but staff was always looking for other ways to challenge institutional racism. The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ACSC) election (or "the Cotton Vote") provided this kind of opportunity. The local ASCS board members, chosen by a vote of the county's farmers, had the authority to determine the acreage of cotton that each county farmer could plant. The system of cotton allotments, with its price supports and subsidies, was the blueprint for access to the single most important cash crop in Mississippi. On a basic level, it was the arbiter of who would be rich and who would be poor. The opportunity to change the discriminatory practices of the board was great because, unlike local voter registration, which was regulated by the counties, the qualification to vote in the ASCS election was determined by the federal regulations of the ASCS. Any farmer in the county was qualified to vote in the election. Those who were not literate could signify their votes with an "X". While the ultimate goal was to pave the way for Black farmers to serve on the board, the immediate goal was to use the ASCS election as an organizing tool and to challenge the racist practices of the local ASCS board. This was one of the handwritten flyers that I wrote and distributed in Madison County in the month before the election. Its message was simple, "If you farm, you can vote." The ASCS elections in the fall of 1964 did not result in Black farmers being elected to ASCS boards, but the irregularities in voting practices that they exposed and that were documented by the legal team, did result in change over time.


Vote For The ASC Candidate of your Choice On December 3.

Community A Henry McClinty Jr.

Community B Samuel Rouser

Community C Gabriel Davis

Community D John Goodloo

Community E Claude Moore

Community F Ligo Taylor

Community G Luther Honeysuckle

Community H Booker T. Harper

IF You Vote You Can Win.

IF You Farm You Can Vote.


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