Date of Award
Master of Arts
Due in part to the short amount of time since the American farm crisis of the 1980s, few historians have done much research on the topic. Even fewer have examined the activism of this time, and those who have suggest that farm crisis activists were less confrontational and more compromise and consensus oriented in their approach than earlier farm organizations. This study contributes to a more robust understanding of the wide-ranging nature of activism during this period by examining the foundations and work of an Iowa-based community organizing group named Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI). An analysis of interviews with members and organizers of the group, internal notes and planning documents, newspaper articles, books, and journal articles provide a detailed look at how the group operated. This study explores Saul Alinsky's idea of community organizing, CCI's work during the farm crisis, and its later work with a growing Latino population in the state of Iowa. It explores how CCI's confrontational actions and radical ideas helped farmers save their farms and how its persistence and cultural competency helped immigrants create a soccer league, recover from devastating immigration raids, and reclaim stolen wages. Using untapped sources, this project will help illuminate the work of an organization that scholars have largely ignored until now.
Tyler C. Reedy
Reedy, Tyler C., "Radicals in the Heartland: The farm crisis, immigration, and community organizing" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13022.