From Dewey to Skyline Farms: Progressive Education in New Deal Resettlement Communities

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Duke, Rebecca K
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Great Depression of the 1930s created some of the most difficult economic times in the history of the United States, with the agricultural sector of the economy taking an especially severe hit. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs aimed to help the rural poor, including those who were uprooted from the land as well as those who stayed on their farms despite worsening conditions. The federal government created forty-three cooperative, rural agricultural communities to assist destitute farming families. Following George Hein’s book Progressive Museum Practice: John Dewey and Democracy, this dissertation examines the influence of progressive education ideology on the creation and organization of these resettlement communities, focusing on one of the largest of these communities, Skyline Farms, Alabama. Additionally, this study examines modern efforts to share the community’s New Deal history by providing a framework for interpretation for the Skyline Farms Heritage Association.
Alabama, Great Depression, Museum Administration, New Deal, Progressive Education, Resettlement Communities, History, American history