The Preservation of a Historic Black Farm: Matt Gardner Homestead in Giles County, Tennessee.

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Coomes, Abigail
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Middle Tennessee State University
The history of the rural South has been slow to change over the years. The narrative is dominated by White plantation owners and farmers. African Americans are featured in the narrative as either enslaved or sharecroppers. Rarely will the story of a Black landowning family be featured in the history of Southern farms. The goal of this thesis is to highlight the need for Black farm studies and why Black rural landscapes matter in the history of the South. The project focuses on The Matt Gardner Homestead in Giles County, Tennessee. It is a prime example of a Black landowning farming family that supported an entire community. Studying the Gardner farm shows the relationship between landowning African Americans and those who rented their land. Each member of the Gardner family helps tell what life was like for a Black landowning farming family. This case study on the Gardner family will add to the history of Black landowners and farmers in the South, and hopefully provide a templet for other case studies on Black rural landscapes.
African American Farming, Giles County Tennessee, Historic Preservation, Material Culture, Matt Gardner Homestead Museum, Public History, African American studies, Agriculture, Architecture