Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Development of cooperative extension...
 Black farm and home demonstration...
 4-H club work
 Back Cover

Title: Lamplighters, black farm and home demonstration agents in Florida : 1915-1965
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AM00000063/00001
 Material Information
Title: Lamplighters, black farm and home demonstration agents in Florida : 1915-1965
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Cotton, Barbara R.
Rasmussen, Wayne ( Introduction )
Affiliation: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Publisher: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University ; United States Department of Agriculture
Publication Date: 1982
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: AM00000063
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Florida A&M University (FAMU)
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - AAA1479

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Development of cooperative extension service
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Black farm and home demonstration agents: what they did and how they did it
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
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        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    4-H club work
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
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    Back Cover
        Back cover
Full Text

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Black Farm And Home
Demonstration Agents
In Florida, 1915-1965

Barbara R. Cotton

Introduction by Wayne Rasmussen, Chief
Agricultural History Branch
United States Department of Agriculture


r- cr


Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Colron, Barbara
The Lamplightcrs; Blick Farm and Home Dcmonstration Agents in Florida, 1915-1965

I. Titcl

Copyright 0 1982 Barbara Cotton
The United States Department of Agriculture in cooperation with Florida
Agricultural and Mechanical University
Tallahassee, FL
All Rights Reserved

Cover: Home Demonstration Agent Ethel Powell (far right) and members
of the Duval County Home Makers' Club prepare to leave for the
1931 Farm and Home Makers' Short Course at Florida A&M
College in Tallahassee.


Preface 5
Introduction 7
1. Development of Cooperative Extension Service 9
II. Black Farm and Home Demonstration Agents
What They Did and How They Did It 25
III. 4-H Club Work 73
IV. Evaluation 89
Appendix 113
Bibliography 117
Footnotes 123



XWhen the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service was
established in 1914, like other southern states, Florida created a
separate department of work for Blacks. Until now, no documented
definitive study of this phase of extension work has been done. The
primary purpose of this volume, therefore, is to record and evaluate
the role of Florida's black county agents in carrying our the mission
and goals of Cooperative Extension. The study covers the develop-
ment of extension work among Blacks from 1915 to 1965, when the
"department for Negro work" was phased out and state and county
staffs were integrated.
For fifty years, operating out of Tallahassee, Florida, and working
cooperatively with what is today Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
University, black farm and home demonstration agents provided
practical assistance for the enhancement of living conditions of rural
black Floridians. Given the racial conditions under which they
labored, these agents achieved notable success. But as they pursued
their objectives in an often ignorant, indifferent, and hostile environ-
ment, they also experienced failures and frustrations. Hence, the
specific objectives of this study are as follows:

1. to examine the role of black farm and home demonstration
agents in presenting to rural Blacks improved farm and
home living practices;
2. to determine the techniques and services devised and imple-
mented by the agents;
3. to evaluate the role of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
University in enhancing and facilitating the work of black
county agents;
4. to examine the extent to which black county agents enjoyed
the cooperation and support of the Florida Agricultural
Extension Service, other governmental agencies, and private
and public enterprises;
5. to analize the problems and proscriptions which often
hindered the efforts of black county agents; and
6. to establish the extent to which black county agents im-
proved the quality of life of the people they served.

The author acknowledges with grateful appreciation the coopera-
tion of the following individuals who contributed to the preparation
of this study: Althea Ayers, Bessie Canty, Issac Chandler, Virgil
Elkins, English Greene, James Miller, Ethel Powell, Beulah Shute,
Victoria Simpson, Russell Stevens, Ursula Williams, and Ivie Wood,
former agents of the "Negro department," for giving interviews on
their extension experiences; Larry Rivers, Associate Professor of
History, Florida A&M University, for conducting many of the
interviews; Theodore Hemmingway, Professor of History, and David
Voss, Assistant Professor of History, Florida A&M University, for
helping to write the proposal for the study; Joel Schor, Historian,
Agricultural History Branch, United States Department of Agri-
culture, for assisting in the development of the study; and Wayne
Rasmussen, Chief, Agricultural History Branch, United States De-
partment of Agriculture, for arranging for the research and publica-
tion of the study through a cooperative agreement with the National
Economics Division, Economic Research Service, United States
Department of Agriculture.
For any errors in fact or interpretation, the author accepts full

Barbara R. Cotton
Professor of History
Florida Agricultural and
Mechanical University
Tallahassee, Florida


The Extension Service is the most studied of all governmental
institutions concerned with farming. Developing nations around the
world have established Extension Services based upon the United
States model. Its unique structure as a joint undertaking of Federal,
State, and local governments has provided a pattern for the operation
of other joint programs in the United States. County agricultural and
home demonstration agents are often cited as ideal public servants.
Since World War II, the number of agricultural and home demon-
stration agents in the United States has increased substantially. At
the same time, farming has become much more productive than ever
before. In 1940, we needed 2.2 acres of farm land to produce the
agricultural commodities needed by one American, today we need
only one acre. In 1940, one farmworker produced the food and fiber
needed by 11 persons, today one farmworker produces for 78 persons.
It is impossible to determine the direct relationships between these
increases in agricultural productivity and the increase in the number
of county and home demonstration agents but it seems probable that
such relationships exist.
In recent years, however, there have been questions raised regard-
ing the future functions of and need for Extension. Are repre-
sentatives of agribusiness, such as fertilizer, farm machinery, and seed
dealers superseding the county agent? Have the responsibilities of
the farm wife changed in such a way as to make the work of the home
demonstration agent irrelevant? Does the higher level education of
the farm family members today as compared to fifty years ago enable
them to seek out for themselves the type of information traditionally
provided through Extension? Are the needs of minority groups in
American agriculture being met at least partly outside of Extension?
In 1977, Congress directed the Secretary of Agriculture to evaluate
"the economic and social consequences of the programs of the
Extension Service." Formal evaluations were prepared and trans-
mitted to the Congress by the Extension Service. In addition, the
Extension Service encouraged and supported a number of inde-
pendent outside studies that would provide some of the material
needed to answer the types of questions being raised about the future

of the Service. The present study, although not commissioned by the
Extension Service, is an outgrowth of this review. The Agricultural
History Branch, National Economics Division, Economic Research
Service agreed to undertake historical studies for the Extension
Service. As part of the overall study, the Agricultural History Branch
asked Barbara Cotton of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Univer-
sity to conduct the present more detailed study of Black Extension
Work in Florida. Dr. Cotton was assured of absolute independence in
planning, researching and carrying out the project. The result, based
upon manuscripts, reports, interviews, and published data, brings
background perspective to the problems of reaching Black farmers.

Wayne D. Rasmussen
Economic Research Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture


Development of Cooperative

Extension Service


In 1914 the United States Congress passed the Smith-Level
Extension Act authorizing Cooperative Extension Service in the areas
of agriculture and home economics. The overall objective of the
Cooperative Extension Service was to assist the rural population of
the United States in acquiring "useful and practical information on
subjects relating to agriculture and home economics, and to encourage
the application of the same.'" This objective was to be accomplished
through educational programs emanating from the United States
Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Experiment Stations,
and the state land-grant colleges and universities, and was to be
funded cooperatively by the federal, state, and local levels of govern-
The philosophy behind the creation of a federally supported
agricultural extension program was that on-the-spot practical
demonstration was the most effective way of disseminating the
results of scientific information to the farm and non-farm rural
population so that they might acquire the attitudes and skills essential
to the improvement of farm, home, family, and community life.
Consequently, the program called for the appointment of itinerant
county agents whose "responsibility was to give leadership and
direction along all lines of rural activity, technical, social, and
The notion of taking practical agricultural information to the
people did not come into being with the creation of the Agricultural
Extension Service. Rather, it represented the realization of an idea
that was as old as the nation itself. Both George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson advocated the necessity of spreading effective farm
practices. In a message before the Congress, Washington introduced

the concept of a national university in which a chair of agriculture
would have the responsibility of "diffusing important information to
farmers." Jefferson continuously urged the creation of a "system of
local agricultural societies" to carry out the function of extension to
farmers in Virginia.
Throughout the young nation, state and county agricultural socie-
ties were organized to instruct farmers in better ways of solving farm
and home problems. These societies sponsored local community
farmers' institutes and agricultural fairs and disseminated instruc-
tional leaflets and circulars. They also actively supported the forma-
tion of a department of agriculture in the federal government as well
as the creation of tax supported colleges for the teaching of
agricultural and mechanical arts.' In 1862 both of these ideas were
realized. Congress passed a bill creating the United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture. And another bill, the Morrill Land-Grant Act,
provided for the creation of publicly supported state agricultural and
mechanical colleges. The Morrill Act called for the granting of large
tracts of land and an endowment of $5,000 per year to each college.
Thus, such colleges are known as land-grant colleges.
With the establishment of the land-grant college, extension work
had a base from which to develop. Professors of agriculture utilized
local farms to conduct demonstrations and to perform experiments.
When the Hatch Act of 1887 provided for the creation of agricul-
tural experiment stations on land-grant college campuses, reliable
research information was acquired and disseminated through farmers'
institutes, exhibits, lectures, short courses, publications, and boys'
clubs. Colleges received funds to carry out extension programs from
local and state appropriations. Extension work became so extensive
that many colleges added an extension division to their departments
of agriculture.
The organization of the Extension Service on the existing coopera-
tive and county-wide basis is largely attributed to Dr. Seaman A.
Knapp of the Bureau of Plant Industry of the United States
Department of Agriculture. In 1902 farmers in Texas requested
assistance from the federal government to combat the devestation of
the Mexican boll weevil. Dr. Knapp was allotted $40,000 to utilize
improved methods of cotton production on small community demon-
stration farms. It was believed that such methods would produce,
despite the weevil, healthy cotton crops. Federal agents were hired to
give demonstrations on selected farms. Cooperators, farmers who
were given instructions by mail or on the demonstration farms, were

also hired to carry out improved cotton growing procedures. By 1904,
because of this initial success in fighting the boll weevil, "twenty-four
agents were employed in three states-Texas, Louisiana, and
Arkansas-and 7,000 farmers had agreed to serve as demonstrators."4
The boll weevil crisis warranted the use of demonstration work.
Thus, in 1906 the General Education Board, founded by John J.
Rockefeller, allocated funds to carry the work of demonstration
agents to Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia, as well as to states that
were not affected by the weevil. The work load of the federal agent
was excessive. Very often he served farmers in six to eight counties.
Consequently, many farmers were not reached. In 1906 several
leading businessmen and farmers in Texas suggested that farmers
would be better served if agents were assigned to individual counties.
Knapp accepted the arrangement after local leaders agreed to pay a
portion of the agents' salary and expenses. The $1,000 raised by the
leaders was matched by the United States Department of Agriculture.
This first venture in appointing an agent to an individual county and
sharing the expense of his services gave rise to the county agent
movement. In 1908 Mississippi passed a law allowing counties to pay
a part of agents' salaries. Other states followed. In 1911 state
governments began to appropriate money for the program. And in
1912 several state governments began to cooperatively employ state
agents, with administrative centers located at one of the state land-
grant colleges.5
Although cooperation between the states and the federal govern-
ment improved the work of agricultural extension, the demand for
extension services was so great that many needs were still not being
met. A proposal to appropriate federal funds to facilitate extension
work eventually resulted in the Smith-Level Cooperative Extension
Act in 1914. Cooperation already existed between the United States
government and state and local governments. The Smith-Lever Act,
however, established a nationwide extension system operating upon
well-defined policies and procedures with federal financial support
matched by state, county, and college contributions. This act stated
clearly that the work would be carried out cooperatively between the
Department of Agriculture and the state land-grant colleges.6


The Morrill Act of 1862 which established state agricultural and
mechanical colleges, thereby expanding extension services to farmers

throughout the country, was passed during the second year of the Civil
War. It is not surprising, then, that the law made no provisions for the
use of land-grant funds for the establishment of black colleges.
Although four states-Mississippi, Alabama, South Caroline, and
Virginia, allocated portions of their funds for use by black colleges in
1871, it was not until the passage of a second Morrill Act in 1890 that
provisions were made by the federal government to use land-grant
funds for the maintenance and establishment of black colleges. The
initial step in the establishment of extension work among Blacks,
however, is credited to Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee
Institute, a private college in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1892 Washington,
who wished to improve farm practices and living standards of rural
Blacks in Alabama, began sponsoring farmers' institutes at the school.
The problem of transportation, however, made it difficult for the
average black farmer to attend. Concerned, therefore, with the
knowledge that farmers who needed instruction in farm and home life
the most were not getting it, Washington, with a grant from Morris K.
Jesup of New York, purchased and equipped a wagon with farm
implements and supplies and sent a teacher from Tuskegee's agricul-
tural department to farmers' homes to demonstrate better methods of
farming and home life. The success of the agricultural wagon in carrying
out farm and home demonstrations was almost immediate. After the
wagon had been in operation for three months, Washington presented
to Seaman A. Knapp the idea of a movable school. At first, Knapp
rejected the idea of supporting black agents. Not only was he afraid of
the reactions of southern whites, but he also believed that since the
work of black agents would be restricted to black communities, their use
would represent a waste of funds. Since whites, however, could serve in
both white and black communities, Knapp directed his agents to enlist
black farmers as demonstrators and cooperators. The General Educa-
tion Board convinced Knapp to change his mind. And in 1906 Thomas
M. Campbell received a government commission appointing him
agricultural collaborator for the United States Department of Agri-
culture in Macon County, Alabama, thus becoming the first black county
demonstration agent employed by the federal government. His salary
was paid jointly by Tuskegee Institute, the General Education Board,
and the United States Department of Agriculture. Largely through the
support of the General Education Board, by 1913, thirty-six black agents
had been appointed county agents in nine southern states."
It should be remembered that the 1862 Morrill Act contained no

special provisions for the use of land-grant funds for the maintenance
and establishment of black land-grant colleges. Thus, with the
exception of four states, federal funds were used exclusively for white
colleges until 1890, when the Second Morrill Act provided for the
distribution of funds on a racial basis. Consequently, when the Smith-
Level Act was proposed, a group of northern white senators at-
tempted to insure the equitable distribution of funds among black and
white colleges. "Reacting, in part, to resolutions drawn up by the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,"
Senator Wesley L. Jones of Washington State proposed an amend-
ment to provide for the allocation of funds for extension work among
The supporters of the amendment argued that without it there
would be gross disregard for extension work among Blacks. When
asked how his state would react to the bill if it were not amended, a
senator from Georgia candidly replied, "'we would put it in our white
agricultural college. We would not appropriate a dollar in Georgia to
undertake to do extension work from the Negro Agricultural and
Mechanical college. .'"10
The southern senators defeated the amendment. They argued that
black land-grant colleges were not capable of performing effective
extension work in agriculture and home economics, that white
extension agents were doing and would continue to do sufficient work
among Blacks, and that a division of responsibility within a state
would result in different instruction and in conflict between Blacks
and whites over the application of the act." The act, as finally passed,
provided that individual state legislatures would determine which
college or colleges would administer Smith-Level funds. The result
was that the Georgia senator's statement on the division of extension
funds in that state was thoroughly applied throughout the southern
states for five decades. Without exception, the administration of
Smith-Lever funds was entrusted to white institutions. They, in turn,
directed and supervised the extension work of black colleges. Thus,
from its inception, the Cooperative Extension Service operated upon
a dual structure of white and black extension work.


Like many other states, Florida became involved in extension

activities long before the passage of the Smith-Lever Act. As early as
1899, Farmers' Institutes were held. Organized throughout different
portions of the state, these meetings, sponsored by the University of
Florida, the white land-grant institution in Gainesville, made it
possible for farmers to acquire important information related to the
farm and home from experiment station and college staff workers.
The separate but equal policy of the South provided that Blacks,
however, attend institutes sponsored by the State Normal College for
Colored Students. Located in Tallahassee, the school was founded in
1887 by an act of the Florida Legislature. With the passage of the
Morrill Act of 1890, the college began to share federal land-grant
funds with the University of Florida. And in 1902, with a special
appropriation of $600 from the legislature, the State Normal College
began sponsoring Farmers' Institutes in four Florida counties. College
experiment station personnel, physicians, and other specialists pro-
vided demonstrations and lectures on conservation, livestock, health,
crops, and other subjects of interest to the farmer and homemaker.12
Even before the beginning of Farmers' Institutes, the Agricultural
Department at the Normal School actively sought to improve farm
conditions by sponsoring Farmers' Educational Conferences. Begin-
ning in 1901, these annual conferences, held on campus, became an
official part of the agriculture curriculum. They sought to demon-
strate to the farmer that there existed "a real friend to him in the
form of Agricultural Education." In advertising the annual con-
ferences, F. H. Cardoza, Instructor of Agriculture and Director of the
Agriculture Department, wrote, "Nowadays, it requires no proof that
an up-to-date farmer needs to use every particle of brain and brawn
power to successfully grow crops and livestock at small cost and large
profit." Cardoza believed that the knowledge farmers gained by
reading farm journals and bulletins from the state agricultural
experiment station and by attending county farmers' institutes was
not enough.l' Therefore, even after the college began sponsoring
Farmers' Institutes in 1902, on-campus Farmers' Conferences con-
tinued to be held annually until 1911.
The specific reasons for holding educational conferences for
farmers were summed up as follows: (1) "They provide a free, short
course in some practical agricultural subject for the direct benefit of
practical farmers," (2) "They allow free discussion of methods as to
the working out of various farm problems," and (3) "They give
teachers and students a chance to become better acquainted with the

needs of farmers, and to further assist them in obtaining information
which will aid them and their families in improving rural life."14
Farmers' Educational Conferences were one-day gatherings to
which farmers and their wives throughout the state were invited.
Instructors from various departments of the school, invited speakers,
and successful county and state farmers gave addresses and presented
When the federal government appointed A. S. Meharg state
demonstration agent in 1909, the state became a part of the
Cooperative Demonstration Program. In that same year, the state
legislature appropriated $7,500 a year for two years for agricultural
extension work. The funds appropriated to the state demonstration
program were managed by the director of the Agricultural Experi-
ment Station and were used primarily for Farmers' Institutes. State
extension personnel consisted of a Superintendent of Farmers'
Institutes, and Extension Assistant, and a State Demonstration
Agent. County Demonstration Agents were also appointed in 1909.
The first black county agent, Frank Robinson, was appointed in 1913
to serve Leon County farmers.15
Soon after Florida became a part of the Cooperative Demonstra-
tion Program, local Farmers' Institutes were replaced with Mid-
Winter Institutes, held on the campus of the State Normal College.
The first Mid-Winter Institute was held in 1910. In 1911 these annual
Farmers' Institutes replaced the Farmers' Educational Conference
which had been sponsored exclusively by the College's Agriculture
Department. Although Mid-Winter Institutes were as popular among
farmers as farmers' conferences had been, they were more beneficial.
Along with the knowledge gained from demonstrations and lectures
from college personnel and successful farmers, participants also
benired from increased partcip~atoa of experinenr station per-
sonnel who reported the findings of the most recent agricultural
research. Moreover, now that the state had become a part of a
national cooperative program, state and federal agricultural per-
sonnel regularly participated at the institutes. At the initial institute
in 1910, for instance, both the assistant superintendent of Farmers'
Institutes and the new U.S. government farmers' demonstration
agent were featured in discussions of cotton culture, corn culture, and
crop cultivation."
At the 1913 institute the State Commissioner of Agriculture
discussed agricultural possibilities in Florida, and the Director of the

State Experiment Station lectured on soil management. The major
responsibility of educating the farmer through useful advice and
practical demonstrations, however, continued to be carried out by the
agriculture instructors at the college. They lectured on and demon-
strated techniques of crop rotation, commercial fertilizers, farmer-
made fertilizers, mule raising, methods of raising stock, comparative
values of breeds of hogs, and crop diversification." Lecturers took
great care to present information clearly and straightfowardly, so that
even the most non-educated farmer could understand the advice and
directions he was given. In addition to practical farming techniques,
the farmer was also counseled to be patient and to use common sense.
For example, in suggesting that a farmer should raise more than one
mule to pull his plow, a presenter advised:

You can do so, by using skill and patience. There is no need for
farmers to pay from $200 to $300 for a single mule at a sale
stable, when if they start in time, they can grown their own
livestock for all purposes. The principal secret is the providing
of good pastures all the year, and the saving of plenty of hay for
winter feeding. A little corn and bran are good.-"

Unlike the Farmers' Educational Conferences which only lasted
one day, the Mid-Winter Institutes lasted four days. In addition to
farmers and agriculture instructors, college teachers and students
from other departments, public school teachers and students, and
non-farm community residents were invited to attend. The objective
was to assist individuals in improving every aspect of family life.
Therefore, in addition to activities designed to improve farming
techniques, programs planned exclusively for homemakers and older
children were also emphasized.
Wives participated in doing needle work, cooking, preserving, and
canning activities. The most popular activity among young men at
the 1913 institute was the plowing contest in which they were given
the opportunity to use the new steel beam plow. Judges awarded
points based on the straightest furrow, conformation of furrow,
treatment of team, and uniformity and depth of furrow. To enhance
their interest in animal husbandry, young girls participated in horse
and mule decorating contests. Led by the girls, the winning animals
promenaded over the lawn to the delight of the crowd. Exhibits from
public schools throughout the state were judged and prizes awarded.

By 1912 Mid-Winter Farmers' Institutes had become so popular that a
special agent was appointed by the college to plan and coordinate


When the Smith-Lever Act was passed in 1914, Florida accepted its
provisions and the Florida Cooperative Extension Service was estab-
lished on the campus of the University of Florida in May of 1915. At
its inception the programs of the Extension Service were conducted
through the following six projects: Project I-Administration and
Publications, Project II-Demonstration Work with Adult Farmers,
Project Ill-Boys Agricultural Clubs, Project IV-Home Demonstra-
tion, Project V-Hog Cholera, and Project VI-Agricultural Instruc-
tion Among Negro Youth.20
As the organization grew other projects were added. Project VI,
however, continued to be the special division devoted exclusively to
work among Blacks. In the beginning, work among Blacks centered
upon the development of Farm Makers' and Home Makers' Clubs,
established "for the purpose of teaching practical agriculture and
home economics to Negro boys and girls." Directed by a federally
appointed agent, these clubs were first organized in Gadsden,
Jefferson, and Jackson Counties, the three counties with the largest
black rural population. In 1917 clubs were established in Washington,
Alachua, Marion, and Leon Counties,
The plan of work for boys enrolled in Farm Makers' Clubs was to
have each boy cultivate one acre of land. He was directed to plant corn
on half of it, sweet potatoes on one fourth of it, and peanuts on the
other fourth. Black girls enrolled in Home makers' Clubs were
directed to grow one-tenth of an acre of land in a staple vegetable,
such as tomatoes. They were also instructed in canning, preserving,
and housekeeping techniques. Both boys and girls were directed to
keep records of the cost of production, crop yield, and sales. Club
work among black girls and boys was similar to that done with white
youth; however, to maintain the distinction between the two groups,
report forms, badges, and emblems were different.
During the first year of extension work among Blacks, Project VI
(Agricultural Instruction Among Negro Youth) was expanded to
include demonstration work among black farmers. This work was

conducted in Leon County under the direction of the local agent. His
job was to carry out on-the-job demonstrations on the planting and
tending of the principal crops grown in the state. He was also to train
farmers to give demonstrations on their farms for the benefit of
farmers he could not serve. He worked four days with farm
demonstrations and two days at the Florida A&M College for
Negroes. Although headquartered at the college, Project VI was
under the direct supervision of the Extension Division of the
University of Florida, and weekly reports were made to the state
agent there.22
The promotion and growth of the work conducted under Project
VI is due, in large measure, to A. A. Turner who, in October of 1915,
was appointed special agent in charge of farm makers' and home
makers' clubs. A graduate of Wilberforce University in Ohio, and the
first member of his race to complete the dairying program at Ohio
State University (in 1906), Turner worked at Tuskegee Institute with
Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver before
coming to Florida. He shared Washington's philosophy of self-help
and respect for toil as the means by which Blacks could elevate
themselves economically. One month after his arrival in Tallahassee,
he put forth in an editorial in the college newspaper what he hoped
his work as a Smith-Lever agent would achieve:

As a rule parents are very anxious about the future of their
boys and girls, they therefore put forth every effort to train them
in such a manner as to insure their success in life. To this end
they must recognize the necessity of training them along general
lines-religious, intellectual, and industrial or vocational.
The average Negro child receives sufficient training along
religious lines to tide him thru life. The present demands of the
world are such as to almost compel parents to train their
children before leaving the home to a point where they can at
least get by in the world. But the future demand for men and
women will require a class of boys and girls who have been
taught to work at home. This matter of home training is much
neglected by most parents.
The poor results obtained from students attending industrial
schools are often due to the failure on the part of parents to
make them love and honor simple toil. The child who is taught
the importance of helping to earn the food he eats and the
clothes he wears usually develops into the independent and
desirable citizen later on.

What the Negro race needs most at present is industrious,
reverent and thrifty men and women who will love work and
aspire thru its wholesome agency, to take their rightful places in
their world. It is the aim of the Smith-Lever work to render aid
in bringing about this result by offering a real incentive to the
boys and girls on the farms to see the joy and the profit in the
work they are doing.2

Thus, Turner believed that it was through parents' and children's
recognition of the merits of hard work that Blacks would develop
economic independence and become acceptable citizens.
In 1917 the organization of the department for Negro work was
expanded when a home demonstration program was added. Ori-
ginally included as an extension service for whites (Project V), home
demonstration work, in addition to the development of girls' clubs,
provided for the organization of "women's clubs to study the needs of
the home, its surroundings and improvement, and sanitary measures
for the preservation of the health of the family." When the state
agent in charge of home demonstration visited Florida A&M College
in 1917, plans for beginning this kind of work among black
homemakers were discussed. The first step in the development of

A. A. Turner

home demonstration work among Blacks occurred when some white
county demonstration agents began allowing selected black women in
the community to come to their homes for instructions in canning.
Two county agents equipped canning sheds in their yards and allowed
Blacks to bring their vegetables and can them under the agents'
supervision. A second step occurred when public canning demonstra-
tions were allowed under the black farm agent's supervision. As a
result, several black volunteer canning agents were employed in many
counties. And in Putnam and Duval Counties, regularly employed
canning agents were hired by the Board of County Commissioners.
During the Spring and Summer of 1917, a black assistant home
demonstration agent was hired in six counties to give canning
instructions to adult women as a part of the home makers' club
work.24 From this initial experiment in canning demonstration, home
demonstration work among Blacks eventually expanded to include
practically every aspect of home life.
Another significant step in the advancement of extension work
among Blacks also occurred in 1917. Assistant farm agents were
appointed in the seven counties where farm and home makers' clubs
were organized. The assistant agents were teachers who assumed
their duties with the Extension Service in March after their schools
closed. Like the assistant home demonstration agents, they worked
approximately six months during the Spring and Summer. Their
duties included both farm makers' club work and farm demonstration
work. Thus, in 1917 the two programs of work among Blacks, farm
makers' clubs and home makers' clubs, had been expanded. The
former consisted of work with boys and men, the latter of work with
girls and women.
With the expansion of personnel within the "Negro department",
A. A. Turner was given the title of local district agent. His
responsibility was to supervise all black assistant farm and home
demonstration agents throughout the state. Plans for demonstration
work among black farmers and boys were made in conference with
Turner, the state agent, and the white boys' club agent. Home
demonstration plans were made by Turner and the state home
demonstration agent. On the local level, however, black assistant
agents were supervised by their white counterparts known as county
agents. They were directed to have their weekly reports approved by
county agents before they were sent to Turner and the state office.
Turner tabulated and summarized the reports and sent them to the

state extension leader's office in Gainesville. As supervisor, Turner
visited each assistant agent at least once a month, during which time he
evaluated their work, assisted them with their planning, and gave
them directions for teaching improved techniques of farming and
home life.5 In 1924 the Report of General Activities of the Extension
Service began to refer to black agents as Negro Local Farm Demon-
stration Agents and Negro Local Home Demonstration Agents. In
1935 the reports used the titles, Negro Farm and Negro Home
Demonstration Agents.
In January, 1919 two general field agents were appointed to
represent the United States Department of Agriculture supervising
extension work among Blacks in the southern states. Specifically,
their duties were:

(1) to cooperate with State directors and other white supervisory
agents, organizations, and individuals within the States in
developing negro extension work; (2) to assist negro State
supervisory agents in planning work, preparing reports, estab-
lishing relationships, and generally in getting more uniform and
efficient service from the local agents; and (3) to study the best
methods of doing extension work among negroes, as developed
anywhere in their territory, and to take such information to
agents in other states.26

So that these duties might be performed efficiently, the southern
states were divided into two groups. Thomas M. Campbell, the first
Black county agent, headquartered at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama,
was assigned to supervise extension work among Blacks in Georgia,
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Okla-
homa. J. B. Pierce, headquartered at Hampton Institute in Virginia,
supervised black extension work in Maryland, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
Therefore, in addition to being directly responsible to the state
extension director in Gainesville, Turner also reported to field agent
The need for the inclusion of Blacks in the program of the Florida
Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service may be seen from a
composition of statistical data abstracted from the 1920 census of
major characteristics of Blacks and whites five years after the
beginning of agricultural extension. According to Table 1, sixty-three

percent of the black population in Florida lived in rural areas, the
focus of extension services. And while Blacks operated only twenty-
four percent of the farms in the state, within that group 48.8 percent
were owners, 50.4 percent were tenants, and only 0.8 percent were
managers. Among white farmers, 78.3 percent were owners, 17,4
percent were tenants, and 4.2 percent were managers. Black owners


Select Characteristics of Black and White Rural Dwellers
in Florida, 1920

1. Total Black Rural Population
2. Total White Rural Population
3. Total Number of Farms
A. Total Operated by Blacks
B. Total Operated by Whites
4. Total Number Black Farms
A. Owners
B. Tenants
C. Managers
5. Total Number White Farms
A. Owners
B. Tenants
C. Managers
6. Average Acreage of Black Owner
7. Average Acreage of Black Tenant
8. Average Acreage of Black Manager
9. Average Acreage of White Owner
10. Average Acreage of White Tenant
11. Average Acreage of White Manager
12. Total Black Rural Population 5-20
Years Old Attending School
13- Total Illiterate Black Rural Population
10 Years and Older





of Total




Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth
Census of the United States, 1920: Agriculture, vol. 6, pp. 353-357 and
Population, pp. 184, 186.


had smaller and poorer farms than white owners. The average size of a
black-owned farm was 56.4 acres compared to 115.1 acres for whites.
The average size of a farm owned by a black farmer was even smaller
than the average size of a farm operated by a white tenant-71.7
acres. The average value of a farm owned by a black farmer was
$1,428 compared with $5,892 for a white owner. Moreover, only
forty-six percent of the black rural population between five and
twenty years old attended school. And twenty-seven percent of rural
Blacks ten years old and older were illiterate. These figures indicate
the acute need for the services of farm and home demonstration
agents among Blacks in Florida.



Black Farm and Home

Demonstration Agents
What They Did and How They

Did It


From 1915, when Florida created a separate program of extension
work for Blacks, to 1965, when the Extension Service was integrated,
farm agents labored to achieve four fundamental conditions which
would improve the standard of living among Blacks: improved farm
practices, more cooperative marketing, higher profits, and better
quality farm homes and buildings.
To provide greater opportunities for achieving a higher level of
sustenance and, ultimately, a higher profit margin, more scientific
farming practices were essential. Thus, farm agents demonstrated
correct methods of seed selection, crop rotation, cultivation, harvest-
ing, soil preparation, soil conservation, selective breeding, crop
diversification, disease control, insect control, and other fundamental
practices. During the first full year (1916) of extension work,
demonstrations were fairly simple. The primary objective was to
show the farmer how to raise enough food for his family and his
stock. Little attention was devoted to making a profit.
In Leon County, extension work was conducted in vegetables such
as corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, velvet beans, and cowpeas. Demon-
stration plots of cotton, tobacco, alfalfa, and kudzu were planted also.'
Such demonstrations were known as method demonstrations in that
the farm agent actually showed an assembled group of farmers the
correct way to carry out a particular farming procedure. Some of the
observers were farmers who had been recruited as demonstrators to
show the procedures to farmers in other areas. Approximately one


hundred and fifty Black farmers were recruited in 1916 as demonstra-
In addition to demonstrating correct methods for the cultivation of
crops, the first year of extension among Blacks was also devoted to
obtaining better breeds of livestock and dairy animals. Since pork was
the principal item of the black man's diet, much attention was given
to increasing the value of hogs. The agents arranged with Florida
A&M College to allow farmers to breed their cows with six pureblood
bulls recently purchased by the school. Efforts were also made the
curb hog cholera by instructing farmers how to keep their hogs
healthy and by demonstrating how to administer serum. In the area
of dairying, agents again urged farmers to take advantage of the
services available at Florida A&M. They instructed farmers to use the
college's purebred dairy sires for breeding purposes. And to insure
the maintenance of cattle through the winter, they encouraged
farmers to store fodder in the college's silo until they were able to
construct silos of their own. Under the agents' direction, farmers
conducted result demonstrations to provide proof of the value of a
given method. Result demonstrations in 1916 showed that in crop
production, because of the use of better farming methods, the average
yields were above those of the previous year.2
After the declaration of war by the United States in 1917, the
major thrust of extension work among Blacks was increased pro-
duction for home use. Black farm agents were appointed in Gadsden,
Jefferson, Jackson, Washington, Alachua, and Marion Counties. In
five other counties emergency assistant agents were employed in
1918 for an average period of five months. These agents performed
the same kinds of functions and used the same procedures as they did
before the war. Most of the demonstrations conducted were in the
areas of planting, of cultivating, and of maintaining hogs and
poultry.' Agents conducted field tours to inspect the work of
demonstrators and to give additional instruction and advice. They
also carried farmers on tours to observe result demonstrations.
During World I farmers were encouraged to increase production.
After the war, however, wartime levels of production were main-
tained, resulting in an oversupply that caused a disastrous collapse of
prices. The agricultural depression which accompanied the decade of
the 20's and the economic catastrophe of the 30's witnessed the
agents' struggle to increase the profit-making ability of the black
farmer as well as to continue the teaching of improved methods of


farming to make the farm more self-sustaining. In an effort to
expand and to improve upon work with the adult farmer and
homemaker, agents organized separate men and women clubs; the
clubs elected local leaders to carry out planned activities following the
directions of the farm and home demonstration agent. A club was
composed of a group of community residents who came together to
identify common problems and to determine ways of eliminating
those problems. The farm agent's role was to assist in the elimination
of the identified problems through giving advice and identifying
human and material resources.
Demonstrations, as the principal teaching method, were expanded
during this period. However, they were less simplified than before
and were planned specifically to improve the quality as well as the
quantity of products so that the farm would pay. For instance,
demonstrations were conducted to show that a high yield of sweet
potatoes was produced when cuttings and draws were taken from
beds where good seed had been planted as opposed to the common
practice of securing cuttings from volunteer vines. In poultry work
agents gave assistance to farmers in culling and feeding and in
controlling insects and disease. Other demonstrations showed the use
of manure and crop rotation, especially in the growing of peanuts.4
The following excerpt from the program summary for 1928 gives an
idea of the kinds and numbers of demonstrations agents conducted to
show improved farm practices in sixteen Florida counties.

Cereal Demonstrations
(Corn, Oats, etc)

Acreage grown under demonstration method 6,664
Farmers influenced to adopt better practices 27
Farmers who planted selected or improved seed 337

Cotton Demonstrations

Acreage grown under improved methods 390
Farmers influenced to adopt better practices 34
Farmers who planted improved or certified seed 32
Farmers who sprayed or dusted to control insects and diseases 26

Legume and Forage Crops Demonstrations
(Cowpeas, soybeans, velvet beans, peanuts, etc.)

Number method demonstrations given 1,200
Farmers who planted improved or certified seed 32
Farmers who sprayed or dusted to control insects and diseases 26

Fruit and Vegetable Demonstrations

Method demonstrations 92
Animals in completed demonstrations 8,199
Farmers who secured purebreed sires for breeding stock 11
Farmers culling breeding stock 202
Farmers who controlled insect and disease pests 25

Demonstrations in Control of Rodents and Other Pests

Demonstrations 10
Farmers adopting control measures 10
Acres involved 200'

Although the use of improved farm methods increased the quantity
and quality of crops, the key to an increase in profits for the black
farmer, it was believed, was diversification and cooperation. Con-
sequently, during the 1920's farm agents emphasized the organiza-
tion of marketing clubs. Agents discovered that in some counties
truck, garden, and fruit crops could be grown along with staple crops
to supplement the farm income. And they encouraged farmers to
grow a diversity of crops and to sell them through cooperative
marketing. For those who participated, satisfactory results were often
achieved. In 1922, the year when the first marketing clubs were
organized, seventy-nine club members reported a profit of $11,119.50
from products which they sold cooperatively. Members of a poultry
club in a west Florida county, where the poultry market was poor,
shipped their eggs and poultry to Orange County (in central Florida)
and sold them at a profit. Following the advice of their agent, club
members in Chipley, Florida, took advantage of the increased demand
during the tourist season and shipped turkeys to Orlando. There they
sold for 50 cents a pound while they were selling for only 25 cents a
pound in Chipley. And they sold chickens and eggs at a similar profit.
With the assistance of the farm agent in Marion County, farmers
shipped twelve carrots of melons, grossing $5,409.97; five carlors of
soap beans, grossing $4,913.76; twenty-nine carlots of tomatoes,
grossing $13,825.98; and three carlots of mixed produce, grossing


$2,087.98. The total grossed by participating farmers was $26,236.97.
In Jackson County, one farmer sold $600 worth of hogs at a feed cost
of $275. Another sold $890 worth of hogs at a feed cost of $240. By
the farmers selling cooperatively, the hogs netted them $155 above
the price they would have received without cooperative marketing.6
These are but a few examples of the kinds of small-scale cooperative
selling took place under the direction of black county agents.
Soon, however, cooperative selling was conducted on a much
larger and more formally organized basis. Largely through the
instigation and influence of county agents, black farmers organized
several farmers' cooperatives. In 1922 the Negro Farmers' Union, a
cooperative marketing association, was organized in 16 Florida
counties with H. H. Williams, a progressive black farmer near
Hastings, Florida, as its first president. In 1923 the organization was
chartered by an act of the Florida State Legislature. The Florida State
Marketing Bureau of the Department of Agriculture supervised the
local chapters, and the Bureau carried out policies according to state
rules and regulations.7 The union developed practical methods of
cooperative marketing and purchasing, and despite low prices, made
significant gains. For instance, in 1923 Marion County farmers sold
$52,000 worth of truck crops cooperatively. By 1926 twelve local
farmers' cooperative associations existed, each operating around
central shipping points and chartered under the 1923 Florida State
Legislative Act. In 1927 black cooperative associations shipped forty-
three carlots of vegetables. Through cooperative purchase and sales,
three local associations with one hundred and thirteen members
purchased supplies in the amount of $5,538 and sold cooperatively
farm products valuing $34,495. One one hundred and five-member
cooperative bought $935 worth of fertilizer and stored 60 tons of
peanuts in a cooperative storage house. The Madison County Farmers'
Association purchased a carload of fertilizer at a substantial savings to
melon growers. This association sold seven carloads of melons
averaging the farmers a net of $156. The farmers reported that this
sale of melons earned them more clear profit than any other crop
raised in 1931.L
Although successful cooperative marketing required the collective
finances and actions of farmers, it must be emphasized that it was the
county agent who supplied farmers with the facts regarding produc-
tive farming practices and better methods of picking, grading, and
packing and who supplied the pertinent marketing and government


program information needed to realize mutual profit. On the eve of
the great stock market crash in 1929, for instance, Congress passed
the Agricultural Marketing Act, establishing a Federal Farm Board to
lend financial assistance to farming cooperatives. And black farm
agents were responsible for organizing a series of meetings at which
representatives from the Extension Service, the State Marketing
Bureau, the State Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Bureau of
Agriculture Economics were called upon to explain the benefits of the
Act.9 Agents then took the initiative to encourage farmers to take
advantage of the Act and organize more cooperatives.
Guided by their county agent, members of cooperatives often
conducted demonstrations to determine a desirable procedure. For
example, in 1930, upon the recommendation of their county agent,
members of the Leon County Farmers' Association cooperated with
district agent A. A. Turner and the Lewis State Bank to conduct
demonstrations to compare the purple foliage variety of cotton with
other varieties raised in that section of the State. The bank supplied
the seed for testing. The demonstrations revealed that the purple
foilage variety compared favorably with other varieties and the
interest which was generated resulted in better cultural methods and
improved the yields over the ordinary methods.',
The agent's responsibility of organizing and supervising coopera-
tive ventures was a weighty one. Carrying out these functions, he was
to seek approval from the local district agent, who was responsible
for conveying the advice of the State Marketing Bureau regarding
reputable marketing houses. Occasionally, when agents acted without
Turner's approval, farmers suffered serious financial losses. Such a
loss was recorded by Turner in a letter in 1926 to the Suwannee
County Farmers' Cooperative Association of Live Oak. The letter
called attention to the fact that a carload of melons that had been
shipped from Live Oak to Richmond, Indiana, and for which the
farmers had not been paid, was shipped without Turner's approval.11
With the beginning of the national farm programs enacted by
Congress and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1933, the
agents' role as an interpreter of governmental regulations increased.
The objective of the program was to provide emergency steps to raise
the farm income, conserve the soil, and ease the debt load. A major
task of the agents was to explain the purpose and anticipated
economic expectations of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA),
which called for fixing marketing quotas for farm products, taking


surplus production off the market, and cutting the production of
staple crops by offering producers payments for voluntarily reducing
acreage. In addition to educating the farmer on the intention and
benefits of the AAA, agents were responsible for describing new
methods of production dictated by the Act and for organizing and
managing control campaigns. As was true among the whites, the
AAA primarily benefited the more prosperous black farmers, for to
receive federal subsidies, farmers planted less acreage. Thus, many
marginal and tenant farmers were pushed off the land. When the
first Agricultural Adjustment Act was declared unconstitutional,
substitute legislation emphasized soil conservation. The Soil Con-
servation and Domestic Allottment Act of 1936 encouraged conserva-
tion by paying benefits for planting soil-building crops instead of
staple crops. The black agents' role was to give specific information
to growers about procedures, practices, and benefits to be obtained
and to conduct demonstrations on better land use. Typical were the
results in one county where a farmer in each of forty-five communi-
ties was selected to plant five acres of soil-improving crops during the
Fall of 1938, these crops to be plowed under and followed with corn
in the Spring of 1939. Records revealed that 6,041 bushels of corn
was produced from 225 acres, or better than twenty-six bushels per
acre. In 1933 farmers averaged only fourteen bushels per acre. In
1938 two agricultural conferences were organized by agents at Florida
A&M College and Fessenden Academy near Ocala. State and federal
conservation specialists gave farmers who attended special informa-
tion on soil conservation and crop control practices. 2
Farm agents also worked closely with the Farm Security Ad-
ministration and the Farm Credit Administration in informing
farmers of the availability of credit programs for underprivileged
farmers. They carried state representatives on tours of farms through
counties so that they could meet farmers and secure first-hand
information regarding their needs, handicaps, successes, and failures.
Farmers benefited from a better understanding of farm programs.
And black farm agents followed up on state representatives' visits by
giving individual advice to farmers on sound methods of farming,
which would facilitate the farmers' ability to repay the loans.'
Black agents also rendered a valuable service in helping farmers
obtain adjustments of outstanding debts. In 1934 farm agent Frank
Pinder, of Alachua County, reported that the federal land bank
assisted many black farmers in refinancing their mortgaged farms.

One farmer in Newberry, Florida, borrowed $2,100 to liquidate a
mortgage which he had had for several years. Other farmers were
equally successful in borrowing small amounts ranging from $300 to
$700. The total amount borrowed in Alachua County on a long term
basis was $5,100. A still larger number of black farmers secured
individual loans ranging from $50 to $350 for crop production,
totaling $6,332.50. Through his emphasis on personal contact with
farmers and farm debt administrators, Pinder was successful in
preventing foreclosures on forty farms in the county.14
In addition to cooperating with the federal government in helping
to carry out the national farm programs, farm agents continued to
conduct demonstrations aimed at the improvement of farm practices.
Therefore, they focused on demonstrations related to corn, cotton,
legume crops for feed and soil improvement, potatoes, peanuts, fruit,
garden crops, poultry, and livestock. Much of the work during the
depression centered upon a "live-at-home" program which stressed
the improvement of the economic status of the black farmer with
income derived from cash crops grown in year-round gardens. They
also recommended maintaining gardens to improve the health of the
family by providing its members with a diversified diet. Stressing the
need for milk in the diet, agents influenced farm families to purchase
better breeds of cows and to increase dairying for home use and local
consumption. Agents encouraged farmers with land that was not
being cultivated to increase their cattle, for even though the price was
low, there was a local market for good quality beef. Following the
advice of his agent, a Hamilton County farmer accumulated 740 head
of cattle and sold them for $900 on the local market?'
In their efforts to introduce better methods of achieving more
ready-cash to farmers, agents influenced some of them to experiment
in planting crops other than truck and staple crops. The following
example is noteworthy; During the early 1930's most tobacco
growing in Florida was done by large syndicates. Most of the farmers
who grew tobacco independently were white. In 1934, however,
Davis Myer of Alachua County was encouraged by his farm agent to
try his hand at growing tobacco. Consequently, in addition to his
regular crops, Myer planted a field of tobacco from which he
produced 1,496 pounds and sold at a Valdosta, Georgia, market for 27
cents per pound, earning him a $411.40 profit. Only a few counties in
Florida were conducive to successful tobacco growing: Gadsden,
Columbia, Alachua, and Sumter. In these counties black farmers who


followed the methods demonstrated by farm agents, and who could
finance their own operations, earned reasonable profits. In 1939
fifteen Gadsden County farmers grew 31,500 pounds of tobacco and
received $4,252.50 or an average of 13 cents per pound. Twenty-six
Alachua County farmers grew 68,127 pounds of bright leaf tobacco
which was sold for $10,211.68. And fifteen Sumpter County farmers
received $4,501.52 for their tobacco crop.'6 These accomplishments
are especially noteworthy, because most black farmers were afraid to
take the risks involved in growing tobacco.
During the 1930's farm agents continued, through the Florida
Farmers' Cooperative Association, to encourage cooperative market-
ing. In 1935 the agent in Marion County reported through the Negro
Farmers' Association of Marion County, sales of $12,392.58 for beans
and watermelons. In Jackson County farmers cooperatively marketed
500 tons of peanuts and received a profit of $32,500.17
In 1937, due to the surplus of cotton and its prevailing low price,
sugarcane and sweet potatoes were designated as substitute cash
crops. Although farmers produced sugarcane and sweet potatoes as
staples, they seldom realized more than the cost of production when
the crops were marketed locally. Information secured by A. A. Turner
from the Florida State Marketing Bureau revealed that Florida
imported more sweet potatoes than it produced and that it imported
more than a half million gallons of sugarcane syrup annually. In the
Spring of 1937 agents began a four-year demonstration plan to show
the value of the two products as money crops. They conducted
demonstrations in Hamilton, Columbia, Marion, and Jackson Coun-
ties. And with the assistance of the North Florida Experiment
Station, they supplied farmers with the best seeds for planting. They
also demonstrated recommended practices for cultivating, for apply-
ing fertilizers, for grading properly, for curing, and for packing
produce for market. The Florida Farmers' Cooperative Association
assisted farmers in refining their surplus syrup. In 1939, as a result of
successful demonstrations, farmers in nineteen other counties began
to conduct demonstrations."8
As a result of demonstrations and exhibits sponsored by the
Florida Farmers' Cooperative Association through the facilities of the
Florida National Exhibits, Inc. of Deland, Florida, and the Florida
State Fair, Tampa, Florida, the two crops were given state wide and
national advertising. It was through the Florida National Exhibits,
Inc. that Flocane Sugarcane Syrup, as the product came to be known,

found its way into the markers of the midwest at the Great Lakes
Exposition in Cleveland, Ohio. Until that time no effort had been
made to market the product outside of Florida direct from the grower.
The association representative reported from Cleveland in 1938 that
the syrup was well liked and that multiple orders indicated that it
should be shipped for marketing in carlots. One hundred and ten
Cleveland retail grocery stores carried the product.
In 1940 Flocane syrup was introduced in the East at the New York
World's Fair. In a letter to A. A. Turner, E. W. Brown, manager of the
Florida State Exhibit, wrote the following about the popularity of the

You will be pleased to know that the FloKane [sic] Syrup
which we have on display here is attracting a great deal of
attention, particularly with restaurants, hotels, and their dining
rooms serving griddle cakes and waffles.
Few people have realized the superiority of this cane syrup
produced in Florida over existing table syrups until they have
had the opportunity of tasting the full-bodied, delicately flavored
FloKane [sic] Syrup produced from special sugar cane, grown by
farmers of our state through the promotional and educational
work supervised by you.
In standardizing this syrup and placing it on the market you
are not only performing a most beneficial function in behalf of
the farmers of Florida but you are as well making available to the
American public a delicacy that is in no way to be confused with
the common molasses type of syrup that has heretofore alone
been available.
I predict that FloKane [ric] when properly introduced, will be
available at all well-stocked grocery stores and delicatessens in
the country.20

Plans were also carried out in Leon County to develop the sweet
potato and chewing sugarcane crops to the point where standardized
brands of the two products could be supplied by black farmers in
competition with other states supplying the commodities in the
Northern and Eastern markets. Fifty thousand certified Puerto Rican
plants were ordered from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Growers
Association and distributed by farm agents to farmers in several
North Florida counties. During their vacation period in Chicago,
black farm agents from Leon and Jefferson Counties studied the sweet

potato and sugarcane markets. New York markets received a similar
study by Hamilton and Columbia County agents. Following the close
of the World's Fair in the Fall, Turner visited the New York market
during the chewing cane season. In their individual communities,
businessmen gave financial assistance to farm agents from Columbia,
Jackson, Leon, and Marion Counties to visit several Alabama and
Louisiana institutions where they obtained valuable information on
sweet potatoes and sugarcane. Farmers shipped sweet potatoes under
the name Florico Yams. The first carload of chewing sugarcane was
shipped out of Florida in 1938 by John Mizell of the Spring Branch
community in Hamilton County. The cane was sold to a grocer in
Detroit, Michigan, for 21/2 cents a stalk. In 1940, not only did Mizell
ship a carload of cane to New York for marketing, but he also supplied
the local market with 20,000 stalks. By 1941 his sugarcane crop
included ten varieties for syrup and for chewing, which sold at prices
ranging from one cent to five cents per stalk.21
By 1941 Flocane Syrup and Florico Yams had acquired adequate
markets in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and New York. Through the
assistance of county commissioners in Leon, Gadsden, Duval, and
Madison Counties, an exhibit of Florida grown copper skin sweet
potatoes, sugarcane, and sugarcane syrup was displayed in Atlantic
City during September and October.22
During the Second World War, 1941-1945, black and white
farmers alike found themselves called upon to produce more food
crops than previously, both for home consumption and for sale.
Consequently, farm agents devoted much of their time to teaching
improved farming techniques. They encouraged farmers to grow
more sugarcane and produce more meats and vegetables so that the
nation would be amply supplied to carry on the war. And they placed
much emphasis on home or "victory gardens" with interest in
increasing size, getting a better location, planting more varieties of
vegetables, and having enough to feed the family with a surplus for
canning. They expanded their efforts in this field to also include non-
farm families. Agents reported that there were 5,371 victory gardens
in 1942.23
The aim of having a "family milk cow" in every farm home
resulted in the purchase of a cow by 472 black families. The work
conducted with sugarcane and sweet potatoes before the war was
expanded. The sugar that was refined from syrup at centralized
plants throughout the state furnished sweetening for family use as


well as a source of income. The

Florida Farmers' Cooperative

Association continued to assist the farmer in refining syrup and

S'ct'cti Por lo (mio Sulg(rcae C(rops re Safe fIr Cash )Incon' ,
Del)c.'t~able Cropls [fr HomeUsce and Essential i Line
ithi the Ncuilial Dtefese Production Progra.

li I k..I. I[ .-a- n' f I' r, ; t I i '; lju; I hi ,it I 'I r I' ilnI R -1 r A.N-i.- 1,; .1 'I.L'l fl-
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P.0,BO4 U61



cI iZ-

The- CrOplwr Ski* Var;eiy ci Swel Paltles LI'Growinr 1.is Year n thir IllIotwin Couni s:
.1 ;. ,.,.' I, If; !, i... I '.I, IIilri:, l: ri ,nn i. <'; ,i-,l1 n,, i\ ^ 'i J .-I, Te rll ., M :. li~i o n ,.\ lhlrI ;,, I':lw" rI'.: ,-li I : ,1l''.
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locane Syrup and Sweet Pta display at Florida S:e Fa'r i' Tampa, 193ll.

Flocane Syrup and Sweet Potato display at Florida State Fair in Tampa, 1943


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1 OlUriE $f L AMUULTUL EFulHat
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grading and packing sweet potatoes. It also encouraged increased
production of corn for home use and the market. And agents
encouraged farmers to cooperate with the AAA Program and to
adopt better soil-building techniques. Moreover, because of good beef
prices, agents urged farmers to increase their efforts at cattle raising.
Because of the shortage of meat, agents also placed increased
emphasis on poultry. They instructed farmers in selecting better
breeds and stressed proper feeding and better housing. As a result,
more families raised poultry for meeting home needs, for canning, for
marketing, and for producing eggs. Because of a butter and canned
milk shortage, agents stressed increased activity in dairying. They
emphasized milk as a vital part of the diet and instructed farmers in
better care of cattle, better breeds, better feeding, and better health
In addition to teaching improved farm practices, agents now had
the added responsibility of demonstrating the correct use of farm
tools and machinery. This was necessary because the many farm men
and boys who went off to war were replaced by men and women, girls
and boys who had no farming experience.2
Due to the scarcity of gasoline and rubber, agents made fewer
home visits. Instead, they sent circulars and informative letters in lieu
of personal visits. So that as many families as possible could receive
information on the war effort and extension activities, a neighbor-
hood leader system was devised. The program was national in scope.
It involved assigning a man and a woman in each neighborhood to
inform a designated group of families about war information and
programs and to report to the agent problems that families might
have. Black agents in Florida recruited farmers, ministers, teachers,
businessmen, and professional workers as leaders. The system was
organized in every county served by agents and many other counties
not served by agents.
The neighborhood leader system helped to facilitate the agents'
many tasks during this period. In addition to their regular extension
work, agents were assigned specific tasks related to the war. One such
task was to help families adapt to the rationing system by showing
them how to complete applications for sugar, gasoline, oil, and other
necessary provisions. They also contributed to the war salvage
campaign by urging farmers to save scrap iron, rubber, paper, alu-
minum, and other war materials. And they encouraged farmers to

invest their extra income in war bonds and stamps and to seek FSA
loans2 6
The knowledge that many black men who were drafted or who
enlisted in the army were in poor health caused the Extension Service
in inaugurate a program to improve the general health conditions of
rural families. As a result, agents began to introduce policies designed
to balance family diets and to improve sanitary conditions. These
activities became a permanent part of the extension program after
the war.2

From the end of the war in 1945 to the elimination of the "Negro
department" in 1965, the fundamental objectives of the black farm
agent remained the same: to improve farm practices and to provide
useful information on profitable marketing procedures. In addition to
these basic services, however, agents devoted more attention to the
proper use and care of farm equipment, the improvement of rural
housing, the enhancement of health, the increase of home and
community recreational facilities, and the expansion of programs for
rural youth. In general, "extension was broadened to include the
major aspects of rural life and to reach and serve more farm people
on all levels.28 The two district agents who directed black agents to
develop programs along these new paths of endeavor were J. A.
Gresham, 1948-1960 and V. L. Elkins, 1961-1965.
Between 1920 and 1950, the black farm population in Florida
declined from 12,954 to 7,506. Lured by the promise of better
economic opportunities in the urban and industrial areas of the
United States during the two world wars, hindered by their inability
to purchase adequate farm machinery, and discouraged over their
failure to secure adequate profits due to increased operational costs,
many black farmers left the farm. Those who remained, however,
continued to require the services of the farm demonstration agent.
Personal contact with the farm agent was still vital, since, in 1945,
only 10.5 percent of rural Blacks in Florida owned radios and only 0.5
percent owned televisions. In addition, over 42 percent of rural farm
and non-farm Blacks in the state had received no formal education
beyond the fourth grade. And 12 percent had no schooling at all.29
The low education level of rural Blacks required agents to continue
to teach better methods of crop production, increased livestock, swine
and poultry production, and better soil conservation practices. In the




None School High School College

Grade 0 1-4 5-6 7 8 1-3 4 1-3 4 or more
Percent 12 42.3 20.9 6.8 7.2 6.8 2.4 0.9 0,7

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Seventeenth
Census of the United States, 1960 (With Statistical data for 1950).

area of increased production a Gadsden County agent, Russell
Stevens, carried out a program to increase the black farmers' output
of flue-cured tobacco, "one of Florida's top cash crops." After careful
investigation, Stevens and his farmers determined that the low
production of tobacco was due "to failure to secure plants early
enough, improper fertilization, and lack of sorting poor grades from
good quality." To eliminate the problem they conducted demonstra-
tions on plastic tobacco seed bed cover, soil testing, sorting, and
grading. They also conducted flue-cured tobacco exhibits and awards
programs during which the farmers discussed the advantages of
adopting the prescribed practices. As a result of using the improved
practices, black tobacco growers of Gadsden County yielded, in 1962,
"a 33 1/3 percent increase over the previous year."50
In Jefferson County, another black agent, Robert Bryant, carried
out a swine production program. He carried farmers on tours of one
of the major swine producers in the county. He also held a meeting
where farmers were encouraged to exchange information regarding
their individual methods of swine raising. As a result of his efforts,
farmers added six prebred boars to their herds.31
Agents continued to assist with the marketing of farm products
and several local farmers' associations continued to operate to meet
the farmers' common needs. For instance, the objectives of the
Wakulla County Farmers' Association was to purchase and make the
most effective use of farm machinery, to bring about an efficient
exchange of labor, and to increase the annual labor and net income of
the member farms, thereby increasing the purchasing power and


standard of living of each farm family. No black farmer in Wakulla
County owned a tractor, and many reported that large harvests of
peanuts and hay had been ruined because of the absence of an
efficient means of picking and bailing." In 1952 the association
purchased a tractor.
To raise the value of their land and to increase the comfort and
beauty of their homes, farm agents assisted farmers in remodeling,
screening, obtaining electricity, and even constructing farm dwel-
lings. The need for increased emphasis on the improvement of rural
homes was recognized in 1931 after a study on rural housing in
Florida was conducted. This study, directed by the Florida Farmers'
Cooperative Association, revealed an urgent need for the improve-
ment of rural housing for Blacks. Few black-owned houses contained
modern lighting, running water, screens, sanitary toilets or sewage.
In most instances, heating facilities were restricted to the fireplace."
Yet, in 1945, little had been done about such conditions.
The agents' plan of work generally called for setting up model
homes in various communities. The model home served the same
purpose as the method and result farm demonstrations. Through the
advice and assistance of an agent, a home was remodeled. The agent
then conducted tours of the home to show other farmers how they
too could produce similar improvements of their homes. The com-
pletion of a model home required the inventive talents of the agent
and the sacrifice, hard work, and perseverance of the farm family.
An Alachua County agent worked with a farm family for three years
before their home was finally turned into an example for other
farmers. They family of nine was living in a two-bedroom unsealed
house with shutter windows, one small wooden stove, and no running
water. They were farming twenty acres of land. Through the
assistance of the farm agent, the farmer acquired credit to purchase
seed and fertilizer which he used to increase his acreage of corn. He
also purchased, on credit, several male hogs of good breed to mate
with his sows. Within several months, his production of corn
increased, enabling him to feed his hogs, and he was able to increase
the number of hogs he marketed. Following the budgeting advice of
his farm agent, he gradually saved enough money to begin the
renovation of his home. He purchased second-hand lumber and added
two bedrooms. He also installed running water and an indoor toilet
and sealed the entire house.


W'~E .


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SFarmer whitewashing his house during the early stage of the home improvement project.

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Farmer completing his home improvement project by protecting and beautifying his home with
an attractive fence.

The agents' responsibility in the area of farm and home improve-
ment included explaining terms of credit and foreclosure, negotiating
with federal funding agencies to secure home improvement loans,
and assisting farmers in developing plans for spending and re-
modeling. They also often rendered actual physical assistance.
In their efforts to improve health conditions, agents informed
community residents about the services available from county health
units. They instructed residents to be immunized against contagious
diseases. A "County Health Week" was organized by some agents.
During this period, community residents would assemble to observe
demonstrations and listen to lectures delivered by the agent and by
county health personnel on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of
health problems.
In the area of community advancement, farm agents joined forces
with Black ministers and teachers to improve community facilities
through county assistance and self-help. Attempts were made to
increase library facilities, to establish school lunch programs, to
improve recreational facilities, to obtain paved roads, to install water
systems, to develop child development and parent-education pro-

grams, and to improve other aspects of community and family life.
The most effective method of reaching and bringing adults together
to become involved in community affairs was through their children.
Consequently, after 1945 the Extension youth program, popularly
known as 4-H, was heavily emphasized. The role and significance of
4-H will be discussed in chapter three.


In addition to work in agriculture, the Smith-Lever Act provided
for work in home economics. Since women were primarily responsi-
ble for maintaining the home, the term "home demonstration work"
was used to describe all phases of extension work conducted with and
for women. In Florida, home demonstration work was provided for in
Project IV, which included club work among women and girls. As
stated previously, the objective of women's club work was to "study
the needs of the home, its surroundings and improvement, and
sanitary measures for the preservation of the health of the family."
Girls' club work emphasized training in "domestic science and art and
the principles of homemaking."4
Project IV, which provided for home demonstration among white
girls and homemakers, began in 1915. Home demonstration among
Blacks, however, did not begin until 1917 when, as a part of the food
conservation program during World War One, black homemakers
were instructed in canning procedures. The first black home demon-
stration agents were emergency volunteer workers employed to assist
rural Blacks in conserving food and improving home life in general.
In 1918, after an emergency appropriation was made, fifteen black
home demonstrators were hired.35
Just as home demonstration among whites was conducted through
clubs, black agents also organized adult women into homemakers'
clubs. The results were also immediate. In the fifteen counties where
the work was conducted, 1,629 farm wives enrolled in 140 canning
clubs. They filled 55,500 tin cans and 38,100 glass jars of fruits,
vegetables, and meats. In addition to teaching canning procedures,
emergency workers emphasized the improvement of the home and
its surroundings. In 1918 their efforts produced the following results:
6,040 bars of soap made, 29 houses purchased, 47 houses painted, 73

houses white-washed, 44 houses screened, 128 privies screened, and
109 wells covered.36 These statistics show that rural black home-
makers recognized the benefits of extension services and took
advantage of the opportunities available to improve their family and
home conditions.
From 1917 to 1929, A. A. Turner was in charge of both men and
women agents. His work, however, emphasized the planning and
supervising of farm demonstration work. Ths, although supervision
of home demonstration activitIr was minimal, in a 1922 letter to A.
P. Spencer, Vice Director of Extension, Turner explained that an
increased interest of farm wives in improved home conditions
required the assignment of a district agent in charge of women's
work.7 Claiming that no funds were available for such an appoint-
ment, Spencer denied Turner's request. But Turner's wife, Susie,
assisted periodically by serving as a temporary agent. She attempted
to establish close contact and collaborative efforts among the other
black women agents throughout the state. But until 1929 when Julia
Miller was appointed Local District Agent in charge of Negro Home
Demonstration Agents, extension work among women was im-
poverished by a lack of adequate supervision.
Despite an absence of centralized planning and supervision, black
home demonstration agents nevertheless strove to provide rural
homemakers with knowledge and skills needed to improve nearly
every aspect of home life. With the end of the war, the number of
agents was decreased. In 1920 nine agents were employed to serve for
six months in nine counties. Although much of the agents' work was
done through individual home visits, General Activities Reports
reflect only work done through girls' and homemakers' clubs. During
this post war period agents emphasized the necessity for thriftiness,
the proper use of foods and their importance, the proper construction
and selection of home furnishings, the proper methods of growing
and preserving food, and the proper techniques of home sanitation
and improvement.
Through the establishment of savings clubs, agents taught home-
makers to put away as much as possible from their household funds;
and having accumulated an adequate amount homemakers learned to
spend it wisely on home improvements and household items and to
make other necessary investments. To increase profits, agents lec-
tured to club members on the value of buying and selling poultry,
dairy, and garden products cooperatively. As a result, in 1922, savings


clubs reported a total of $1,734.72. Occasionally, cash prizes were
awarded to members who invested in purebred poultry or in the
improvement of their homes."
Home sanitation clubs stressed the importance of family health.
Along this line agents sponsored health campaigns to teach prin-
ciples of health and sanitation. For instance, in several cities agents
secured the cooperation of public health nurses who lectured and gave
demonstrations on good health habits. Agents also discussed screen-
ing houses against mosquitoes, maintaining proper ventilation, and
manifesting general sanitation. They organized nutrition clubs to
instruct homemakers in the proper and economical use of foods, the
primary concern being for the nourishment of children. And they
placed emphasis on the value of milk, eggs, and vegetables and on the
proper uses of meat.39
The following table shows the range of services rendered by home
demonstration agents and the extent to which homemakers took
advantage of and profited by these services.
In 1929 the most serious problems facing black home demonstra-
tion agents were the lack of organization and coordinate planning
among the home makers' clubs, systematic planning among the
agents themselves, and cooperation with other organizations and
individuals to achieve better results. The appointment of Julia A.
Miller as the Local District Home Demonstration Agent in charge of
Negroes did much to reduce these problems. Attempting to co-
ordinate the activities of the several home makers' clubs in different
parts of individual counties, Miller organized a council in each county
where an agent was employed. A county council was made up of the
leader of each club in the community, selected by its respective club
members. As members of the county council, club leaders met
quarterly with the county agent to discuss common problems and to
recommend program plans to be carried out through the club
method. Not only did county councils provide more unity of purpose
among communities, but they also helped home demonstration
agents determine the specific needs of a community. Through the
information supplied by council members, agents became aware of
problems faced by particular individuals who otherwise might never
have been reached. Council members also helped to identify prospec-
tive demonstrators and to promote other extension activities. In 1931
a State Council for Black Home Demonstration Clubs was organized.
Composed of representatives from each county council, the state




Clubs Work Accomplished
Canning Clubs 157
Enrollment 157
Number reporting 103
Containers filled in tin quarts, estimated 28,500

Canning Clubs--Continued
Containers filled in glass pints, estimated 11,270
Total containers filled 39,770

Value of products conserved, counting
containers @ 20X each S 795.40

Poultry Clubs
Enrollment 109
Number reporting 69
Purebred chickens raised 1,105
Eggs preserved for home use, dozen 649
Eggs marketed by club members, dozen 271
Poultry marketed by club members, pounds 1,355

Value of poultry raised $ 498.70

Improvement Clubs
Enrollment 141
Number reporting 103
Fireless cookers made 373
Soap made from waste fats, bars 5,219
Houses whitewashed 79
Houses painted 34
Houses remodeled 109
Houses purchased 25
Fruit trees set out 206
Grape vines set out 330
Rugs and other articles made from croker sacks 901


Rag rugs made 143
Floor mops made from old stockings 222
Hats made from wire grass, pine needles, and shucks 378
Baskets made from wire grass, pine needles, and palmetto 211
Water systems installed 2
Telephones installed 6

Value article made from unmarketable and
discarded materials from farm and house $ 393.60

Dairy Clubs
Enrollment 45
Number reporting 23
Cows kept for milk used in home 225
Butter made by club members, pounds 4,320
Process butter made in home, pounds 2,208

Value dairy products marketed by club members $ 278.40

Source: University of Florida Division of Agricultural Extension and U.S.
Department of Agriculture Cooperating, Report of General Activities for
1921, with Financial Statement for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1921, p. 97.

council served in an advisory capacity and promoted state-wide
projects to spread information on extension activities. To reward the
efforts of county council members, the state council created a
scholarship for the club girl who established the best record as a
community club leader.40
The appointment of Julia Miller as local district agent witnessed
the beginning of planned projects which each home demonstration
agent was to carry out in her county. All agents were instructed to
undertake projects in food production, food conservation, clothing,
home improvement, home furnishings, home sanitation, home gar-
dening, and home poultry.41
One of the top priorities of home demonstration during this period
was food production. Miller reported, "nothing is needed more
among rural colored people in Florida than an increase in production
of home-grown foods and an adequate supply for the family needs."
To teach rural housewives how to select and grow essential items for
the family's diet, demonstration agents sponsored twenty-five ex-
tension schools in the seven counties where black agents were


employed in 1929. The schools lasted for two days. Demonstrations
were conducted showing that five groups of food could be produced at
home: (1) vegetables and fruits; (2) milk, meat, eggs, and cheese; (3)
cereals; (4) sugar or sugar foods such as honey and jelly; and (5) fats
and fatty foxds such as meat, butter, and lard. Agents emphasized
improved production of these food groups in both quality and
quantity. In the month of February alone, a total of 3,006 people
attended these schools.4
Another project which Miller encouraged demonstration agents to
stress was food preparation. Demonstrations were conducted on
practicing improved methods of cooking meals, using the pressure
cooker and other time-saving devices, planning a daily balanced diet,
and planning a family food budget. Special demonstrations were
given on preparing milk drinks, school lunches, and raw and cooked
vegetables. Food preparation demonstrations in 1930 resulted in 220
homes adopting balanced family meals and seven schools introducing
the hot lunch plan. One hundred and two communities participated
in the program, 228 meetings were held, and 208 inquiries were made
via telephone to agents' offices requesting information on the correct
preparation of food."
In Miller's estimation, nothing was more appreciated by rural
women than the knowledge and skills they acquired in making their
own clothes. Consequently, the clothing project that she introduced in
1929 gained immediate popularity among homemakers and soon
became a permanent part of the extension program among Blacks.
Agents stressed thrifty methods of making clothing by using meal
and feed sacks. They encouraged homemakers to make appropriate
use of old clothing through renovating and remodeling. And for those
who could afford it, agents stressed the selection and purchasing of
suitable material to make garments and the proper selection of ready-
made fashions, such as hose, hats, and shoes. And they held clothing
contests to encourage homemakers to dress better.44
The home improvement project also received considerable atten-
tion. Reporting on her attempts to encourage better homes, one
agent described the following achievements:

To get my rural people interested in better home life, 1 had a
miniature dwelling house built and carried in my car throughout
the county. This served to show the people a well-planned home
at least expense. As a result nine homes were improved this year.


Of this nine, one has installed gas lights. Mary Speed, Tallahassee,
remodeled her home by suggestions given her. Two bedrooms
were added with two windows in each room. The lumber was
gotten from their own field and carried to the mill and dressed
and with the help of a brother, the house was built. Mary's
garden and poultry paid for the paint, which amounted to
$52.45, Two beds were refinished, five chairs painted and two
mattresses reconditioned. Curtains were remodeled, rugs made
and Mary is now enjoying the comforts in her new home.4

Although houses were sometimes completely remodeled, most
home improvements were done on a small scale. One room in the
house, most often the kitchen, would be singled out for some type of
improvement. Small but significant home improvements included
refinishing old furniture, making box furniture, making rugs, framing
pictures, and making draperies and furniture covers. Other home
improvements involved procedures as simple as arranging kitchen
furniture more conveniently, purchasing or making more durable
brooms, making garbage pails, and cleaning yards. But whatever the
nature of the improvement or the degree of its complexity, black
agents considered home improvement to be essential to the overall
upgrading of the quality of life of rural people.46
During the three years Miller served as local district home
demonstration agent definite progress was made in securing the
cooperation of both public and private agencies in helping to meet
the goals of extension agents among Blacks. Agents were instructed
to actively seek the financial, material, and human resources from
persons and organizations who could help. For instance, prizes
awarded to contestants in clothing contests were often donated by
companies, such as Singer Sewing Machine and Peter Pan Cotton
Fabrics. As a means of encouraging homemakers to participate in
home garden programs, county commissions and county chambers of
commerce donated seed. And the success of the health and sanitation
program often depended upon the participation of state and county
health departments.47
In 1932 Rosa Ballard replaced Julia Miller as local district home
demonstration agent. But because of her accidental death in 1933,
Ballard's tenure was short-lived. She brought to the position, how-
ever, years of experience as State Home Demonstration Agent for
Negroes in Alabama. Consequently, the year 1932-33 witnessed


S "I

District Agent Rosa Bllard (1st row, left) nd District Agent A. A. Turner ( row, right)

continuous progress in reducing the discomforts of rural life. Ballard
continued to emphasize projects in home gardening, home improve-
ment, home management, poultry, dairying, foods and nutrition,
clothing, and home health and sanitation. She also continued to stress
the need for agents to secure cooperation from public and private
Firmly believing that demonstration was the most effective method
of teaching improved practices in home living, Ballard organized
several week-long home improvement demonstration schools which
were attended by hundred of homemakers. In the Spring of 1932,
three hundred and seventy-four people observed twenty-four demon-
strations given on a farm in Orange County. The demonstrations
were conducted by Ballard, two home demonstration agents, dub
members, friends of the farm family, and a carpenter. The owner of
the farm house purchased $12735 worth of materials and paint and
paid the carpenter $35.25 to make repairs. Consequently, at a cost of
$162.60 a once dilapidated house was transformed into a comfortable,
sanitary one. In Sumpter County, meetings were held at a home for
five days, with 297 people attending. Three dead trees were cut down,
and the house and fence were repaired. A walk was constructed in
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f~(i AlmB s1d(s olf)ad] n gn ,A m 1 rw i

oino prgesi +c tedsomot frr ie lr

front of the house, and shubbery was planted beside it. Furniture and
rugs were made, repaired, and cleaned. Demonstrations were given
on preparing and serving balanced meals and on caring for the sick.
Ballard secured the daily participation of the county public health
nurse. And the County Board of Health supervised the construction
of an outdoor toilet.48
From 1933 to 1936 black home demonstration agents functioned
without the benefit of a local district agent. Once again, the Extension
Service at Gainesville said no funds were available for the position.
Consequently, black agents were supervised by the white district
home demonstration agent in Tallahassee. The 1933 Report of
General Activities stated that the supervision of the white agent was
above the level provided by Ballard.49 This contention, however, was
disputed by agents who served during the period. They maintained
that the three years during which there was no black district agent
were particularly distressing. The coordinated planning and project
presentations developed by Miller and continued by Ballard waned,
because white supervisors were naturally not as devoted to the
advancement of "Negro work" to the same degree as Blacks. Field
supervision of black home demonstration agents was practically non-
existent. Black agents began to rely more on written materials such as
bulletins and circulars for information that they needed to know.
They also became more dependent on local leaders and demonstra-
tors to help them carry out a productive program.50
With no district agent to direct their activities and with the coming
of the depression in 1933, black home demonstration agents worked
under severe obstacles. In spite of these complications, however, they
managed to help many rural people and city dwellers meet their basic
needs. Without them, the Depression would have taken an even
greater toll on Blacks than it did. Like the farm agents, the home
demonstration agents had as their primary objective during this
period the development of a "live-at-home" program which stressed
economic self-sufficiency through the maintenance of year-round
gardening, home dairying, poultry raising, and food conserving.
Agents not only encouraged family gardens, but they also advocated
community gardens. These gardens, it was reported, helped to keep
many individuals off the relief rolls. Produce from them was also
distributed to families on relief. A Sumpter County agent reported
that continuous interval planting was done there, and in almost every
instance individuals were canning their surpluses. In the largely

" .. .0ts' m ._ ..

Family picking strawberries from their home garden near Dinsmore, Florida-

urban Hillsborough County, home agent Floy Brict, with the assistance
of the Food Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), provided for
the establishment of several community gardens for relief subjects.
Under her plan, each garden provided for twenty-five families. The
FERA furnished the seed and fertilizer. Britt furnished the instruc-
tion, with the understanding that 1/3 of the vegetables would go to
the growers, 1/3 would be canned and stored for future use, and 1/3
would be given to relief headquarters. The Gadsden County agent also
encouraged schools to plant gardens."
Emphasizing the need for milk in the diet, home demonstration
agents in 1933 persuaded eighty-four families to buy milk cows. The
agents recommended that each family provide a pint of milk for each
child and a quart for each adult, daily. They also demonstrated
improved methods of dairying and encouraged homemakers to
market surplus milk and butter. Another method of promoting self-
sufficiency among Blacks was to encourage them to raise their own
poultry for consumption and for the market. The Marion County
agent gave eighteen demonstrations on poultry in fourteen com-

munities and persuaded thirty-nine families to purchase purebred
cockerels to improve their flocks.52
Through the cooperation of black home demonstration agents,
local leaders, and county and federal agencies, several community
canning centers were established during this period. In most in-
stances, the federal government provided the equipment and paid for
the expenses of supervision at the centers. Housing for the centers
was provided by local funds and private donors. Agents taught
canning procedures to local leaders, and many were hired to work at
the centers.1
Another project basic to extension work during the depression was
mattress making. Like the canning program, the federal government
helped by furnishing surplus cotton and mattress ticking. In Madison
County, the county commission sent Aletha Ayers, the black home
demonstration agent, to Tuskegee Institute to learn mattress making.
Then she taught the white demonstration agent and her council
mattress-making skills which they, in turn, carried to white home-
makers. The philosophy behind the mattress-making program was
that "families who were willing to make their own mattresses earned
the opportunity to get a supply according to their need." Home
demonstration agents provided the instruction and supervision and
the needy families concerned furnished the labor.4
During the Depression, more than any other period, black home
demonstration agents encouraged homemakers to work together for
the general improvement of their communities. In this connection,
home makers' clubs sponsored working bees. Members would meet at
a designated house to work, under the direction of the agent, on a
project. Canning and mattress-making bees were especially popular.
Agents also encouraged homemakers to help each other by bartering
available items in exchange for scarce items.5
In 1936 the Extension Service at Gainesville finally appointed
Beulah Shute as the Local District Home Demonstration Agent in
charge of Negroes. Shute immediately identified the following as
objectives she wished to accomplish:

1. to assist all local agents in developing a program to meet the
needs of rural people of their counties;
2. to emphasize the value and the need of more practical
demonstrations conducted by people in their own homes;

3. to assist in bringing about a 100 percent completion rate
of demonstrations started by club members;
4. to provide more informative subject matter to local agents
that would help them do their jobs better;
5. to help local agents secure more satisfactory office space
with sufficient equipment and furnishings; and
6. to help local agents plan how to use their time more effi-

The extension program having functioned without adequate super-
vision from 1933 to 1936, Shute believed her immediate responsi-
bility to home demonstration agents to be assisting them in deter-
mining goals and making appropriate work plans to accomplish
them. In carrying out this major responsibility, she visited each of the
eight agents and assisted them in planning programs of work for
1937 to meet the needs of their individual communities. She
suggested that where possible, attention be given to blending the
county program with the state plan of work. Through her visits,
Shute obtained first-hand information about specific community
problems and was thus able to assist the local agent in planning
solutions to the problems. She also used the meetings to supply the
agent with economic data from the Department of Agriculture,
Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Such data often determined the
kinds of recommendations agents made to rural families. To achieve
even more information on rural conditions, during her first year of
service, Shute accompanied agents on 415 farm and home visits. On
these visits she discussed with rural demonstrators the importance of
completing demonstrations, and she gave the demonstrators per-
tinent information on general extension plans and goals. In her 1937
narrative report she commented that after a planning session with
the district and local agent and after hearing about projects being
carried on in other parts of the state, many demonstrators were more
anxious to work in their communities.'7 The following table shows
the extent to which Shute sought to closely supervise home demon-
stration agents during her first full year as their local agent.
As a result of her visits to counties served by home demonstration
agents in 1937, Shute devised specific plans for them to follow in
1938. And for herself, she constructed a monthly calendar of work for
each county.



Activity Accomplishments
Number of days worked in the field 198
Number of days worked in the office 97
Total number of days worked on official duty 295
Number of days annual leave 14
Number of holidays observed 4
Number of miles traveled on official duty in personally
owned automobile 14,298
Number of miles traveled on official duty by bus 462
Total number of miles traveled on official duty 14,760
Number of individual letters written 511
Number of different circular letters written 32
Number of different circular letters prepared and mailed 599
Number of news articles 10
Number of bulletins distributed 3,150
Number of meetings attended 85
Approximate number of people contacted at above meetings 5,921

Source: Beulah Shute, "1937 Narrative Report of Negro Home Demonstra-
tion Work in Florida," p. 28.

Coming into the program during the midst of the depression,
Shure called upon her agents to expand extension work by increasing
the number of adult local leaders. In 1936 twenty-three leader train-
ing meetings were held to teach techniques of gardening, canning, and
improving the home. Approximately 436 new leaders were prepared
to take direct responsibility for assisting the home demonstration
agent. Throughout the period they continued to stress growing family
gardens, conserving food, maintaining health and nutrition, dairying,
and raising poultry. Though they received less attention, projects in
home improvement, clothing, rural engineering, and community
activities were also implemented. Home sanitation was at a critical
stage in rural Florida. To correct this condition, agents conducted

clean-up campaigns to motivate people to improve their homes and
surroundings. With the assistance of the federal government, the
Hillsborough County agent sponsored an Out-Door Privy Campaign.
Families paying a small fee for building material were provided with
free labor to construct privies. Agents helped to improve health
conditions by establishing school lunch programs. They planned
balanced meals and even helped to prepare and serve the lunches. In
addition to implementing regular extension projects, home agents
cooperated with other governmental agents by assisting with relief
programs, old age pension programs, and resettlement projects. Six
counties gave agents National Youth Administration Assistants.
These assistants helped with demonstrations, made illustrative
material, operated canning centers, and performed other non-
technical tasks.58
With the coming of World War II, food production and conservation
once more became the major concern of home demonstration. Closely
related to the Victory Garden Campaign, with its aim of planting more
and better quality vegetables, was the campaign to preserve huge
surpluses of vegetables through canning. Encouraged during the early
years of the depression, agents emphasized canning to an even
greater extent during World War II. The Agricultural Extension
Service awarded certificates of recognition, such as the one pictured
below, to homemakers who met required government standards for
food conservation.
In no other county was this project more thoroughly carried out
among Blacks than Duval County, under the direction of home
demonstration agent Ethel Powell. Not only did she encourage
homemakers to can vegetables in their homes, but she also played a
significant role in securing for their use a county canning kitchen at
the black Y.W.C.A. To encourage more women to use the facility,
Powell offered awards to individuals for the largest amount of
products canned from individual gardens; the largest variety of fruits,
vegetables, and meats canned by a single family; and the largest
number of containers canned by an individual family. Of course,
having no funds to purchase the awards, she solicited contributions
from private businesses. Four months after the canning kitchen
opened, Duval County homemakers had canned from their victory
gardens 4,484 containers of fruits and vegetables.59
In 1944 the Duval County Board of County Commissioners opened
a "super" canning kitchen. Designed to accommodate more than 150


0 uarbitng tb1t Jome




TI- AT ."-
.. ..L a. . .

:- :Has Fulfilled the Recuirement in
: :and is deserving of recognition in the
Conducted by the
A RCN UPlOTTf 7 i LrrrA 6tU'f larnM mt' i'

- .
e r"am J K.au& u.rj

L~ Z .~

Cbhdbeu da (mg Gzdi aad

LaRk L'fl.JAJ Oin V jYL


rr .t
C'-ChakCa' m d la .. Gu"rdnu gad
"a. "iUI"

*kfVClti pCriNTfT- r I.tb FfLCkiL avE

(Food Conservation Certificate)

Canning Center at the Black Y.W.C.A. in Jacksonville, Florida

people per day, it had a daily capacity of more than 5,000 containers
and was equipped with the latest canning accessories. After con-
siderable negoitation with the county commissioners, Powell was
successful in securing for Blacks the use of the center. Special days
were set aside for the Blacks to use the kitchen, and the kitchen at the
black Y.M.C.A. was closed. In a May, 1944 issue of the Jacksonville
Journal, Powell was congratulated for "being able to integrate canners
in this all-out canning program4.6"
Although food production and conservation were the major goals
during the war, home demonstration agents continued to stress other
needs of rural families. Health, physical fitness, and health facts about
adolescence were some of the programs implemented. Agents showed
motion pictures such as "Let My People Live" and "Goodbye, Mr.
Germ," and they conducted demonstrations to make some of the
nutritional, but unattractive, foods appealing to children.
Because of a shortage of farm labor, women and other girls often
replaced men in the fields. Many left home for the fields at daybreak
and did not return until dusk. Consequently, adjustments had to be
made in home management. Therefore, demonstrations were
especially designed for younger girls and boys, who were left in
charge of the home and of their younger sisters and brothers. Agents
taught them to meet clothing needs, by bleaching and dying feed bags
and making them into garments. In addition,

the bags were also used for bedding, table linens, curtains,
towels, and slip covers. Some thrifty girls saved the strings
obtained from traveling the bags open, and used them for crochet
cotton, making towel edging, small table macs, and crocheted
lace. Civilian coats and suits of husbands and brothers in the
Army and Navy were remodeled into clothing for the women
and girls, or cut down for younger brothers.f*

After home needs were met, agents encouraged families to market
fresh vegetables, fruit, poultry, housewares, and other saleable items.
In 1944 housewives and young girls sold $7,208 worth of fresh fruit
and vegetables, $47,431 worth of poultry products, $628.89 worth of
milk and butter, and $269.14 worth of rugs, quilts, spreads, crafts, and
other items.62
Throughout the war period, agents contributed to the war effort.
They designated specific days during which they cooperated with
federal, state, and other organizations in spreading vital war-related


information. They recruited community leaders to help so that as
many rural people as possible could be adequately informed. Like the
farm agents, home agents informed clubs, councils and individuals
about the Supplementary Food and Feed Program, gave them advice
on spending wartime emergency funds, and encouraged them to buy
war bonds.63
After the war, home demonstration agents concentrated on help-
ing rural Blacks make needed adjustments. Their responsibilities
were great because even though progress had been made in improv-
ing rural conditions, most Blacks still lived in poverty and suffered
from little or no education. They lived in over-crowded and un-
sanitary conditions. Their houses were in poor condition, their
children malnourished, and their medical services and facilities
limited. During World War II, a scarcity of food caused more urban
families to request assistance from home demonstration agents,
especially in food conservation. In addition to food conservation,
agents gave urban families important advice on nutrition, home
management, and budgeting. After the war, urban communities
continued to request the assistance of agents. Consequently, this
period witnessed the agent having to divide her time more equitably
between rural and urban families.64

During the war, Floy Britt replaced Beulah Shute as the local
district home demonstration agent. In 1946 she determined that the
most urgent needs of homemakers were adequate food supply, food
conservation, nutrition, home management, home improvement,
clothing, health, sanitation, and community work. To meet these
needs she placed renewed emphasis upon the effective utilization of
local leaders and county councils. She looked upon local leaders as the
"arms of the demonstration agent." And she urged her agents to use
these leaders-because "without their help the agent's services will
be limited"-and county councils to determine the goals and plans of
homemakers. She also realized that when council members were
given the opportunity to participate in program planning, house-
wives were more willing to cooperate with agents and better results
were obtained. To assist leaders in carrying out planned activities in
their respective clubs, Britt held numerous training meetings. During
these meetings, she informed leaders of their duties and responsi-
bilities and distributed printed literature containing helpful informa-


tion. She also encouraged agents to construct and disseminate
circulars, letters, leaflets, bulletins, and other literature to home-
makers. Since many homemakers were poor readers, Britt asked
agents to include drawings in their printed material. For example, a
poster showing a healthy hen for the month of February showed that
poultry production would be emphasized that month. But although
she encouraged use of printed material, Britt continued to emphasize
personal contact as the best means of teaching needed subject
In the areas of adequate food supply and food conservation, agents
advocated the same kinds of methods used during the war. They
instructed housewives to plant fruit and vegetable gardens, raise
poultry, can as much food as possible, and sell their surplus at city
markets to supplement the family income. In Columbia County, for
instance, the home demonstration agent worked with a club member
to raise poultry for home use and to produce eggs for market. The
housewife started with 300 chickens. She designated 100 of them for
home use and for market and 200 for egg production. The 200 hens
produced an average of seventy-five to eighty dozen eggs each week.
In 1959 the income from her poultry totaled $1,052. From the sale of
home grown vegetables and eggs, an Alachua County housewife
earned enough money to build an addition to her three-room house
and to have it treated for termites.66
While working with families to improve nutrition, agents studied
the food needs of each member and provided the family with
information regarding the kind and amount of food each member
required. Through method and result demonstrations, home visits,
special interest and club meetings, printed materials, and audio-visual
aids, agents supplied information on correct food habits and attitudes,
and on the composition of a good diet. They also emphasized weight
control practices. Since, during this period, urban and rural home-
makers were buying more commercial goods, home management
programs were exceptionally important. Agents lectured and gave
demonstrations on selecting and buying equipment wisely to meet
family needs, understanding the mechanization of appliances for total
utilization, and avoiding the perils of buying impulsively. Agents took
homemakers on shopping trips and required them to develop specific
plans for maintaining furniture and equipment. After completing
several sessions on money management and encouraging home-
makers to "develop a sense of appreciation for one's own income


level," a Pinellas County agent reported that her homemakers
benefited significantly. They made such comments as: "'I had no idea
we spent so much on non-essentials,' "'We could save some if we
made a budget and stuck by it," and "'Impulse buying can wreck the
family pocketbook. Home management also involved helping the
families plan the efficient allocation of their income, informing them
of the available financing institutions and the wise use of credit,
training them to keep good business records and analyzing them for
future planning, helping them plan for future protection through
savings and insurance, and keeping them informed of changes in
social security and FHA loan regulations.67
In the area of home improvement, agents assisted families in
analyzing the interior, exterior, and ground improvements needed,
and in determining the material and financial resources available to
make such improvements. Agents provided information on the types
of housing loans and helped families make long and short-term credit
plans. Many homemakers who followed the advice of their agents in
remodeling or building found that the planning and hard work were
well worth the efforts. After three years on a "pay-as-you-go" and
largely "do-it-yourself" basis, a member of the Arlington Home
Demonstration Club in Jacksonville lauded the benefits of home
demonstration work and gave much credit to her demonstration
agent for the completion of her new home. During a home dedication
program arranged by her club she stated:

1 believe in my work as a homemaker and I thank God for the
opportunity that has been provided for my family to improve
our standard of living through my participation in Home
Demonstration Club Work.
Had it not been for the guidance and encouragement of our
Home Demonstration Agent, Mrs. Ethel Powell, on many
occasions we would have given up.
Our faith in each other and our work has been the answer to
solving many family problems.
My greatest satisfaction, today, is in my work of which I hope
is an example of what is expected of me as a club member and
leader in my community and country."

An example of black agents' emphasis on community work can
best be illustrated by summarizing a clean-up campaign carried out
under the joint direction of home demonstration and farm agents in


Marion County. The following excerpt, taken from the 1962 Exten-
sion Service Report of General Activities, shows the kinds of
improvements made in a community when club leaders, businesses,
local government and the general populace cooperated with their
extension agents.

For years people in Marion County had talked about poor
sanitation, health problems, and the increasing number of farm
and home accidents.
But nobody did anything about them-that is, not until this
year when some 50 Negro community leaders launched a clean-
up campaign. Their target?-To rid the county of mosquitoes
and cut down mounting farm and home accidents.
The group soon learned it was necessary to call on other
communities and leaders to do specific jobs. Getting volunteers
was no problem. Barbers, undertakers, businessmen, doctors,
teachers, ministers, domestic workers, and laborers came for-
ward, ready to help.
Commitees -seven of them, to be exact-rolled up their
sleeves and went to work. A steering committee planned and
directed work to be done. It set a date for completing the
campaign. The job of the beautification committee was to
encourage families to plant lawns, trees, flowers, and to banish
all rubbish, tin cans and refuse around the house.
No aspect was overlooked. The home improvement com-
mittee gave training in interior decorating to adults and young
people. And, finally, the evaluation and survey committee
measured results and recommended further work to be done.
All county and city boards, professional leaders, businessmen,
and civic organizations endorsed the drive. City and county
governments furnished trucks to haul away rubbish. In six days
325 truck loads of refuse were taken to disposal points.
More than 1,500 shrubs and trees were donated by individuals
and groups for community beautification. Thirty-one dilapidated
buildings were razed. More than 750 homes were improved by
installing bathrooms, building adequate storage, setting drive-
ways and walkways, adding rooms, hanging drapes, building and
repairing steps, painting and reroofing, screening, and land-
scaping. In an effort to control mosquitoes, stagnant water was
removed. Building material, paint, and other supplies were
secured at a discount.
The new agricultural building was an inspiration to members
of the community to improve their surroundings. After 4-H club


members and adults helped landscape the building, they put into
practice what they had learned about landscaping in their own
yards and surroundings.
Operation Clean-Up extended to cleaning and beautifying
community cemeteries and getting running water installed in

During the campaign, black extension agents provided advice, skill,
and instructional aids necessary for the successful completion of the


In performing the great variety of services incorporated in agri-
cultural extension work, black farm and home demonstration agents
utilized different methods of teaching that required thoughtful
planning. Each method had to be carefully selected to meet the needs
of a particular group of people and existing conditions. As previously
stated, the basic method of instruction was the demonstration-the
underlying philosophy of Seaman A. Knapp's program of agricultural
Having worked as a school teacher in Delaware and Virginia
before joining the Extension Service in Alabama, Rosa L Ballard,
district home demonstration agent in charge of Blacks in 1932,
stressed the importance of thorough planning and executing the
demonstration when she wrote:

Unlike the school teacher, whose groups are already organized,
the demonstration agent works with voluntary groups organized
by herself and maintained in proportion to her ability to interest
them in her program. The busy housewife has little time for
theory and the average farm woman has not spent enough time
in school to benefit very much by it. The demonstration, then,
must be concise and to the point, and so planned as to carry
home a lesson each time a demonstration is given.70

But the demonstration method was not restricted to agricultural
procedures such as crop production and dairying. It was used also in
agricultural engineering, such as farm repair and tractor main-
tenance; home management and improvement, which included food


preparation and storage, credit, and budgeting; and marketing and
distribution. Not only were demonstrations conducted on the farm
and in the home, but they also were conducted at county and state
fairs and on County Community Achievement Day.
Another method of teaching used by agents was the group
meeting, of which there were several kinds. The regular farm and
home makers' club meetings were especially important. We have
seen that at these meetings club members identified their problems
and planned a program for their solution. These meetings also gave
agents the opportunity to give instruction simultaneously to a large
number of people. And agents agreed that the most significant
feature of club meetings was that they helped to bolster the self-
confidence of members, thereby increasing their willingness to try
out new ideas. One former agent explained that he encouraged his
club members to become involved in planning to a great extent. "If
the people," he said, "plan most of the programs themselves, they are
apt to carry them out more readily and they will be more open to the
agent's suggestions." He cited the following as an example:

In a particular community the people needed to increase their
corn production. They were not using the proper fertilizer. But
their priority was mail boxes. So I allowed them to do that. But I
also suggested that they work on the corn crop. So we got both of
them done. I feel that if I had discouraged them from those mail
boxes, they would not have done the other."

Other group meetings included Farm and Home Makers' Exten-
sion Schools, Leadership Council meetings, and Farm and Home
Makers' Short Courses. Agents planned Farm and Home Makers'
Schools to be held throughout the year in various counties. Agents,
progressive farmers, extension personnel, and college instructors
lectured and gave demonstrations on topics such as improved farm
methods, farm management, and farm-business techniques.7
Agents planned and conducted Leadership Council meetings for
the direct advantage of the leaders of each community club. Leaders
were responsible for carrying out club plans in the absence of the
agent. Consequently, agents conducted leadership training meetings
to enhance leadership skills. These meetings were also used to supply
leaders with pertinent information about extension programs and
goals and to inform them of their responsibilities in helping to


Home Demonstration Club Leadership Council Meeting

achieve those goals. One leadership skill that agents placed particular
emphasis on at training meetings was correct parliamentary pro-
cedure. Since leaders conducted meetings in the agents' absence, and
since club members did not have large blocks of time to devote to
meetings, it was especially important that leaders knew how to
conduct business orderly and expeditiously,71
A fourth type of meeting used for instruction was the Farm and
Home Makers' Short Course held annually on the campus of Florida
A&M. The Short Course served the same purpose as the Mid-Winter
Institute given annually at the school before the beginning of
cooperative extension. The activities, however, were broadened to
include the home demonstration aspect of the program. Like the
Farm and Home Makers' Extension School, the Short Course gave
farmers and their wives the opportunity to receive information on
improved farm practices from agents, extension specialists, faculty,
and other individuals trained in the areas of agriculture and home
economics. At the 1925 short course, Dr. George Washington Carver,
the renowned black scientist from Tuskegee, lectured to the group. A
major advantage of the short course over the extension school was

that individuals from all over the state could attend, whereas
extension schools could only accommodate club members from
approximately two or three counties. Another advantage was that by
having complete access to the farm buildings, grounds, and equip-
ment located at the school, participants came into more direct contact
with farm conditions.
The short course was given in November, when "farming was
about over and farmers were getting ready for a new year." In
addition to farm production practices, participants gained current
information on health services available in their individual counties,
and government programs such as social security. Farm and home
makers put up exhibits illustrating progress they had achieved during
the year and placed livestock and swine in competition. The school
awarded prizes such as "100 baby chick or a pig (gilt) to start a pig
chain" to contest winners and to counties with the largest short
course representation.74
In addition to direct contact through individual farm and home
visits and through group meetings, agents used printed literature to
instruct. They circulated USDA official bulletins and newsletters
which contained information on research and improved farm and
home methods. But due to the low educational level of a large portion
of the black clientele, farm and home demonstration agents often
supplemented official literature with printed material of their own.
This material, like the demonstration, was designed to teach a
particular procedure or to fix a particular idea in the individual's mind
through simple, yet correct and thorough, directions. During her
tenure as district home demonstration agent, Floy Britt constructed
numerous two to three-page leaflets illustrating techniques of home
care and management. The following topics were some covered by
these leaflets.

a. The Easy Way to Clean Your Oven
b. Learn About Gems
c. Keep Your Important Papers in a Safe Place
d. Floor Problems
e. Safety in Your Home
f. Sanitation and Health
g. Getting Ready for Your Baby
h. Prevention and Elimination of Pests
i. House Cleaning Short Cuts


As a rule, black agents did not use the radio as a teaching
instrument during the period under investigation. One exception,
however, was Jackson County agent Virgil Elkins who conducted a
weekly radio farm program. One portion of the show presented a
discussion of farm practices; another portion presented news stories
and interviews on extension related activities such as fairs, short
courses, and county and regional camps.75
The wide variety of methods agents used allowed them to reach a
large audience and to have a direct influence on the lives of many


Ever mindful of their obligation to carry the most improved
methods of agriculture and home economics and the most recent
results of agricultural research to the people, farm and home
demonstration agents took advantage of the opportunities available
to them for professional improvement. Once again, Florida A&M
contributed its part by hosting an annual conference for them. The
first Conference for Negro Farm and Home Demonstration Agents
mentioned in a Report of General Activities was in 1925. These
conferences, held until the "department for Negro work" was
abolished, featured instruction from the colleges agriculture and
home economics faculty, the Extension Service in Gainesville, the
Florida State College for Women, the Florida State Marketing
Bureau, and other regional and federal extension personnel. The
conferences were planned by the local district agents and were
designed to cover a wide variety of subjects aimed at increasing the
agents' knowledge of useful information needed to improve the
conditions of the rural population. The agents were also taught
methods and procedures for communicating this information. In
1950, for instance, experts discussed how agents could help farmers
with farm management problems, production credit, and statistical
farm reports. And Field Agent T. M. Campbell lectured on the topic
"Using Community Resources.''6
Florida A&M further demonstrated its support to the professional
improvement of agents in other ways. In 1930 the president of the
college, J. R. E. Lee, Sr., accompanied the agents to a Special Summer
School for Negro Extension Agents at South Carolina State Univer-

Black Farm and Home Demonstration Agents stand in front of the Agriculture and Home
Economics Building on the campus of Florida A&M University during the 1944 Agents'
Standing left ut right: V. L Elkins, District Agent, Ursula Williams, Gadsden County; Isaac
Chandler, Hamilton County; Sudella Ford, Hillsborough County; Irie Clark, Leon County; Ethel
Powell, Duval County; E. P. Smith, Marion County; James Miller, Madison County; Sarah
Thomas, Marion County; Richard Bradley, Sumpter County: Virginia Gardner, Pinellas County;
Pearl Gardner, Jackson County; Leonstine Williams, Alachua County; William Robinson,
Jackson County; Richard Hartsfield, Leon County; Deloris Jones, Madison County; Victoria
Simpson, Dade County; Russell Stevens, Gadsden County; McKinley Jeffers, Columbia County;
Leola Reaves, Orange County; A. C. Bacon, Representative, USDA, Washington D.C., and Floy
Britt, District Home Demonstration Agent

sity in Orangeburg, South Carolina. In an address delivered at the
school, Lee told the audience, "I want to see in my State, extension
agents who are wide awake; men who are willing to forget them-
selves and place their jobs above themselves; willing to consecrate
themselves to the cause of extension work."77 In that same year the
Agriculture Department at Florida A&M began offering and ex-
tension course in agriculture to extension agents and to agriculture
teachers. The purpose for including county agents was to give them
an "opportunity to use or make use of the state school, its equipment,
and teachers."'7
When they could afford it, agents attended other conferences and
training schools located out of the state. At the Second Rosenwald
Summer School at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia, the
Florida agents who attended were offered courses in agricultural


engineering, economics, extension methods, poultry, and gardening.
In 1935 agents attended two recreational training schools held at
Fessenden Academy near Ocala. Sponsored by the National Play-
ground and Recreation Association, this conference was the first of
its kind held for Blacks in Florida.79
Throughout the life of the "Negro department", local district
agents emphasized professional development. In 1938 Beulah Shute
reported that the three home demonstration agents who attended
summer school were better prepared to do their work. In addition to
more formal study, Shute suggested the following methods of
improving professional growth in her 1938 Plan of Work:

a. Some form of training institute for agents emphasizing the
major phases of their work;
b. Monthly conferences on common county problems of home
and farm agents serving the same county;
c. Monthly conferences of Black and white home demonstra-
tion agents to discuss common problems; and
d. Intercounty meetings to exchange ideas.s0

In a letter to A. P. Spencer, Associate Director of Extension Ser-
vice, district agent A. A. Turner appealed to the director to sponsor a
call-meeting of black home and farm agents, vocational agricultural
teachers, and other black rural leaders as a means of improving the
knowledge and capabilities of agents. In her 1954 Master's Thesis,
district agent Floy Britt, made the following recommendations: (1)
that all home demonstration agents have a bachelor of science degree
and do further study toward a master's degree; (2) that home
demonstration agents receive preservice induction and inservice
training; (3) that the agents' additional training or inservice training
include social science, economics, sociology, education, anthropology,
psychology, and political science; (4) that provisions be made for
adequate curriculum by state institutions of higher learning; and (5)
that an extensive on-the-job training program be established. She
concluded that agricultural and home demonstration agents were
obligated to secure the best training available "so as to render the
type of service that the rural people of Florida need and justly
Seeking further to develop themselves professionally both farm
and home demonstration agents organized state associations. The


home demonstration agents were organized at the instigation of Floy
Britt who "took a look at where they [agents] were going separately
and decided quickly and positively to determined where they would go
as a group." The idea of an organization was zealously received by the
demonstration agents. Consequently, in 1957 the Florida State
Association of Negro Home Demonstration Agents was established.
Specifically, its objectives were: (1) to develop quality leadership
among agents and (2) to develop a sense of professional pride
through cohesive achievement.82
In carrying out the first objective, the association met often to
discuss ways to improve program trends, methods, and procedures.
Professional growth seminars were held at which community, uni-
versity, and extension personnel provided agents with information
on how agents could use their positions to foster improvements in
the home and community.
A third method used by the association to develop quality leader-
ship among agents was through active participation in the National
Negro Home Demonstration Agents' Association. Again, through
the efforts of Floy Britt, the Florida association was allowed to join
the national chapter. The national association was also organized to
encourage professional development and growth among black agents.
Its membership consisted of all of the state associations which had an
officially adopted constitution and a satisfactory program of activities.
Black home demonstration agents from Florida played active roles in
the national association; many held offices and served on the advisory
council. Virginia Gardner, home demonstration agent from Jackson
County, was elected president in 1963. And Gadsden County agent
Ursula Williams presided over the association in 1964. In 1963 the
Florida association hosted the national conference on the campus of
Florida A&M University.83
In an effort to meet the second objective the association created the
Distinguished Service Award. Presented annually to the "Home
Demonstration Agent of the Year," the award recognized meritor-
ious achievement. Each year's recipient was determined by points
awarded in nine specific categories which were considered crucial to
effective service in extension work: (1) formal preparation for the job
of home demonstration agent, (2) number of consecutive years of
meritorious service to extension (five years minimum with three
years in present community), (3) outstanding achievements in the
field of extension relative to leadership, youth development, adult


work, and work with other organizations, (4) active participation in
the state association, (5) professional improvement, (6) participation
in non-agricultural and extension activities, (7) publicity given
extension work through the mass media, (8) good public relations
with clientele and co-workers, and (9) community activities. The first
Distinguished Service Award was given to Ethel Powell for her thirty
years of service and leadership in Duval County."4
Records describing the program and activities of the Florida State
Association of Farm Demonstration Agents are not available. How-
ever, interviews with former members suggest that this organization,
like the home demonstration organization, sought to provide ex-
periences to foster leadership and professional growth among its
members. It met regularly to discuss their experiences and to
exchange program ideas.85



4-H Club Work

From the beginning of demonstration work, even before the
passage of the Smith-Lever Act, Boys' and (irls' Demonstration
Clubs were established throughout the country. Therefore, when the
Cooperative Extension Service was established, the clubs became a
permanent part of the extension service.'
In Florida, extension work among Blacks began with boys and girls
rather than with adults. Project VI of Florida's extension program
called for the establishment of Farm Makers' Clubs for Boys and
Home Makers' Clubs for Girls for the purpose of teaching them
"practical agriculture and home economics." The clubs provided
opportunities for boys to study crops, livestock, and poultry, and for
girls to study problems and conditions related to the home. A. A.
Turner was sent to Florida to organize and direct these clubs. His
personal objective was to assist rural black youth to develop into
"independent and desirable citizens" by showing them the "joy and
the profit" of farm work. As stated in Chapter One, the plan of work
for boys enrolled in Farm Makers' Clubs was to have each boy
cultivate one acre of land, on which he would plant one-half in corn,
one-fourth in sweet potatoes, and one-fourth in peanuts. Girls grew
one-tenth of an acre in a staple crop, usually tomatoes. And they
were taught to can their surplus for future use. The 1917 Report of
General Activities revealed that the 87 1/ acres of corn planted by 175
boys' club members yielded a higher average than that for the entire
state. After production cost was deducted, the boys earned more than
$2,500 or just over $14 an acre. Similar increases in production and
sale were made with other crops.' As the work progressed, boys were
instructed in raising pigs and girls in raising poultry and in home
An early feature of both black and white boys' and girls' clubs was
the contest. The philosophy behind contests was that they were
valuable not only as a spur to young people but as an advertisement of
club work to the community and the nation. They were also a
demonstration tc the public of better ways of farming and home
making. Well run, they would teach the lesson of goxd sportsman-

ship."' Tellie C. Williams, of the Centerville Community in Leon
County, was the first black boy to win a prize in boys' club work.
Following the direction of his agent, he raised 26.5 bushels of corn.4
Before 1911, throughout the country, white boys' and girls' clubs
were identified by their respective emblems and insignia. In that year,
however, a national emblem was adopted to designate the clubs. It
consisted of an open book and a four-leaf clover with the letter "H"
on each leaf. The word "Demonstration" was written across the top
of the bxx)k. The book represented "the need for education in farm
living." Also included was the word "Demonstrator" which denoted
"that each club member agreed to read and follow the directions
furnished by the Department of Agriculture and be a 'demonstrator'"
of those methods. The four H's symbolized the equal training of the
head, the heart, the hands, and the health of each club member: "The
head was to be trained to think, plan, and reason; the heart to be kind,
true, and sympathetic; the hands to be useful, helpful and skillful."
The "health H was to resist disease, enjoy life, and make for
efficiency,. ." Of course, black boys' and girls' clubs were dis-
tinguished by a different emblem, designed by A. A. Turner and
adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1919.'
General Activities Reports do not indicate when black boys' and
girls' clubs were officially designated as 4-H Clubs and allowed to use
the 4-H emblem. The first use of the term "4-H" to describe club
work among Blacks in Florida appeared in the 1928 Report of
General Activities. Before 1928 extension work among black youth
was designated as either "boys' and girls' club work" or "farm and
home makers' club work."
Beginning with instruction in improved methods of crop produc-
tion and canning, 4-H club work gradually incorporated a wide
variety of farm, home, and community activities designed to enhance
the quality of life of both rural and urban youth. The following
summary shows the extent to which 4-H activities were attempting
to reach black youth in 1953.
During the early years of 4-H club work the term "project" was
substituted for contest. Each club member selected an individual or a
community project to be carried out "for the dual purpose of 'learning
by doing' and of demonstrating an improved practice in his com-
munity" according to state-wide regulations. It was not until 1951,
however, that Florida approved a state-wide "Negro awards pro-
gram." Despite the lack of a state approved awards program, black


Summary of 4-H Club Work Among Blacks, 1953

Number of 4-H member enrolled in and completing projects:

Enrolled: Boys 2,752; girls 4,087; total 6,839
Completing: Boys 2,153; girls 3,205; total 5,418

4-H membership:

Boys: Farm 2,286; rural non-farm 310; urban 156
Girls: Farm 2,361; rural non-farm 1,307; urban 419

4-H completions by projects:

Other Cereals
Soybeans and other
Vegetables 1,
Range and Pasture
Other Crops
Soil and water conservation
and management
Wildlife and nature study
Poultry 1,
Dairy Cattle
Beef Cattle




Tractor maintenance 62
Electricity 139
Farm Shop 77
Farm Management 16
Beautification of home
grounds 1,285
Meal planning and
preparation 1,153
Canning and preserving 866
Freezing of foods 42
Health, nursing, first aid 583
Child care 257
Clothing 1,486
Home Management 467
Home furnishing and room
improvement 404
Home industries, arts,
crafts 580
Junior Leadership 301
All other 123
Total projects
completed 12,8716


_ ____ __ _______ ___

agents continued to enroll club members in project activities. And
individuals and clubs competed with each other at community
achievement programs, county and state fairs, and short courses.
Black clubs attempted to adhere as closely as possible to national
standardized rules and regulations: Each club had to have at least five
members carrying on similar kinds of projects. Each club had to have
a local leader and had to meet at least six times a year. Each club had
to exhibit its projects and have them judged by club members. One
other requirement for a 4-H club was that members must complete at
least sixty percent of the projects in which they enrolled. Available
statistics for black 4-H'ers in Florida show that this requirement was
usually met. A special USDA survey taken in 1936 showed that
seventy-three percent of black boys and girls enrolled in 4-H clubs
that year completed their projects.7
General activities reports did not consistently report the per-
centage of project completions. But from 1952 to 1958, reports
showed the following facts on Black 4-H enrollment and project



Year Counties Enrollment Project Projects
Participating Enrollment Completed

1952 12 4,814 11,613 9,026 (77.72%)
1953 12 4,309 10,475 7,697 (73.47%)
1954 12 4,087 11,474 9,436 (82.23%)
1955 12 3,487 13,016 10,363 (179.61,)
1956 12 4,717 12,726 8,847 (69.51%)
1957 12 4,779 11,977 9,113 (76.25 )
1958 12 4,610 12,531 9,600 (76.61%)
Source: Florida Extension, Report of General Activitfies. 1952, 1953, 1954
1955, 1956. 1957, 1958.

The large percentage of completions shown in Table 5 attests to the
effective performance of farm and home demonstration agents and to
the interest in self-improvement exhibited by black youth.

Florida black 4-H'ers did not enjoy the personnel and financial
resources to carry out club programs in the same impressive style as
their white counterparts. But despite the unfavorable conditions they
were forced to accept, they managed to produce many desired effects
when carrying out the national 4-H program. In 1955 they created a
state 4-H Council of Home Demonstration Work. Composed of an
elected delegate from each county council, it met to plan programs of
work which county clubs and councils used as guides.
One of the important features of 4-H club activities was fair and
exhibit work. The general objective of this aspect of the program was
to generate the interest of youth in agriculture and home economics.
During the early days of extension, fairs provided blacks with a
meansof popularizing the farm and homemakers' movement. They
also helped to develop the educational side of the work. Fair exhibits
showed the progress in the development of extension work among
Blacks and helped to acquire the support and good will of both races,
especially whites. After attending the Florida State Fair in 1923,
Oscar Mills, president of the Southeastern Fair in Atlanta, Georgia,
told the Jacksonville Journal, "the colored department is a
revelation to me. The building, filled as it is with unusual
accomplishments under the direction of Superintendent Turner,
reflects much credit upon the colored people. More important
than popularizing extension activities, however, was the fact that
fairs and county exhibits improved the self-images of 4-H club
members and gave them a sense of accomplishment in knowing that
they were able to complete a project good enough to be placed in
Using the designated "colored areas" of county and state fair
grounds, black boys and girls gave individual and team demonstra-
tions. In 1922 the South Florida State Fair erected a building to house
exhibits by Blacks. In addition to exhibiting farm products and
entering livestock and swine competitions, club members conducted
demonstrations on money management and home improvement.
Some of the demonstrations conducted in these categories included
"How to Buy a Man's Shirt," "How to Pack a Suitcase," and "How to
Prepare and Bake Bread." Through careful planning and hard work,
4-H'ers improved the quality and complexity of projects entered for
competition. In 1955 eleven projects entered by Blacks were accepted
for the State 4-H Club Award Program.9

""Mtnulrl W OR


4-H club girl discuss their demonstration on good eating habits with District Agent Floy Britt
at the 1956 State Fair in Tampa, Florida

In 1963 ten 4-H club girls from five counties entered poster
exhibits on teenage nutrition at the North Florida Fair. The major
objective was to show that the "freedom to eat foods a person likes
also carries a health responsibility to make sure basic good nutrition
is maintained." After the fair, the girls put on the exhibits in their
individual counties. During the same year, at the State Fair, fifty-eight
club girls entered exhibits and performed demonstrations on food
science for the family. During the eleven-day period, teams from
fourteen counties put on demonstrations lasting three and a half
hours each. Each girl set up an experiment on a particular topic.
Some of the topics were "Water Changes in Fruit," "Effects of Light
on Cured Meat," "Oxidation of Lean Beef," and "Porosity of the
Both farm and home demonstration agents played a decisive role in
bringing about the success experienced by many club members who
entered projects at fairs. "I have taken a lot of pride and worked long
hours in trying to prepare my boys for competition, and they always
made me proud," explained a former Gadsden County farm agent.


.M M


Commenting on a demonstration on "Techniques of Public Speak-
ing" given by her club girls at a state fair, a home demonstration
agent said, "I carried eight girls, and throughout the day they gave
demonstrations for each time they were designated. It [the ex-
perience] gave them courage and it helped them develop their skills
in public speaking."11
Through the agents' efforts, banks, insurance companies, depart-
ment stores, churches, city councils, and other public and private
concerns contributed a variety of prizes and awards for fair winners.
Agents also solicited contributions from individuals in the com-
munity. In addition to certificates, ribbons, and medals, prizes
included watches, fountain pens, pencil sets, savings bonds, and
college scholarships.
A second notable feature of 4-H club work was the annual 4-H
Short Course held annually on the campus of Florida A&M. Short
courses were under the direct supervision of the college's agricultural
department. They represented yet another example of the extensive
role Florida A&M played in helping to carry out the objectives of
Cooperative Extension. The college viewed the annual 4-H short
course as a regular component of the agricultural program. From
1918 to 1964, each short course began with an address from the
president of the college and ended with a ceremony where he
presented each participant with a certificate of attendance. The short
course was designed to give instruction in agriculture and home
economics and to encourage the interest of rural boys and girls in
obtaining a college education. Members of the faculty, agents, public
school teachers, extension personnel, and farmers from surrounding
communities presented lectures and demonstrations. Local leaders
who accompanied club members also received instruction on such
topics as: "How to Interest More Youth in Club Work" and "How to
Improve Community Participation." Club members entered crops
and livestock for competition. Eleven boys and fifteen girls attended
the first short course in 1918.12
During the early days of the short course, most of the instruction
centered upon improved farm methods. As the 4-H program de-
veloped, a variety of other subjects were taught. In 1937 the girls'
short course consisted of instruction in personal hygiene, clothing,
nutrition, and leadership, as well as traditional subjects such as
canning and gardening. In addition to subjects on field crops,
dairying, and livestock, boys were taught techniques of farm machin-



~~~J-~~~~ 1_p-w5]4f ~_t

-~ r



I ~- ~ F~11 ~E~5&
A ;.( I.-

4-H delegates, local club leadcrs, and uunlty agents at the 1950 4-H Short Course at Florida A&M University, 1950


- -r---~nr~e I'- "'

ery repair and home improvement. Because of World War II, short
courses were not held between 1942 and 1944. Many counties,
however, sought to keep the spirit of short courses alive by holding
county courses. In 1942 a course held in Duval County was devoted to
the war effort. Subjects such as "Family Clothing and Textile Needs,"
"Supplying Your Family with Food," "Health in My Community,"
and "How You Can Help With the Defense Program" were discussed.
Shortly before the end of the war in 1945, the annual state short
course was resumed in Tallahassee.1
During the post World War II period, short courses were broadened
to cover the personal and community problems that 4-H club
members began to emphasize. The following are handouts taken
from the 1959 Short Course Handbook. They represent examples of
the variety of lessons taught and the cross section of individuals who
participated in short course instruction:

Speaking Tips

1. A good speech can be summed up in eight words: Have
something to say, say it, then quit.
2. Look at your audience. Forget about the ceiling and the floor.
3. Form the reading habit-a good speaker is well read and will
always have something to talk about.
4. The only way to learn how to speak is to take advantage
of every opportunity to speak.
5. Poise, posture, and gesture are important to every speaker.
6. Effective speech is a possibility for any normal individual.
7. Believe in yourself-self-confidence is one-half of any
speaker's treasure.
8, Be pleasant-no one wants to listen to a speaker who looks
bored with himself.
9. Relax. You'll feel better.
10. Be as natural as you can.
PracticeJ Practice! Practice!

Prepared by: Mrs. J. D. Speed
Instructor of English
Lincoln High School
Tallahassee, Florida

Dental Health

Theme: Value Your Smile
Objective: To Stimulate Understanding and Appreciation of
Good Oral Health
Film Strip: "Your Teeth and Their Care"
A. Arrangement and Structure of the Teeth
The Teeth and the Jaws
Structure of Individual Teeth
The Different Types of Teeth
B. Growth and Development of the Teeth
The Deciduous or Baby Teeth
The Permanent Teeth
Eruption of Teech
Movie: "Something to Chew On"
C. Functions of the Teeth
Chewing of Food
Teeth as Aids to Speech
Effects of Teeth on Appearance
Movie: "The Inside Story"

D. Dental Diseases and Abnormalities
Diseases of the Tooth Enamel
Diseases of the Surrounding Structures of the Teeth
Impacted Teeth
E. Replacement of Lost Permanent Teeth
F. Diet and the Teeth
G. Mouth Cleanliness
Home Care of the Teeth
Oral Prophylaxis
H. Ecomony of Timely Dental Care
1. Recommendations
Prepared by: Dr. James Wilson, D.D.S.
Public Health Dentist
Bureau of Dental Health
Florida Scare Board of Health


Effective Shopping Begins at Home
A Check List for Consumers
Yes No
Do you ask yourself at the end of the month,
wheree did my money go?"
Do you plan on spending on the basis of what you
want from life?
Does your family save ahead for future plans?
Do you struggle to keep up with the Joneses?
Do you know what you want before you go to the
Do you buy on impulse?
Do you look for labels and read them?
Do you know how to judge values?
Do you know where and when to buy?
Do you watch scales, sales checks and count your
Do you know the various forms of credit?
Do you pay your bills promptly?
Do you know the agencies who protect you?
Do you handle merchandise in the score carefully?
Do you combine friendliness, courtesy, and good
business methods in shopping?
Prepared by: G. W. Thomas
Assistant Professor
Home Economics
Florida A&M University

The value of 4-H short courses cannot be over emphasized. In
addition to the technical knowledge they received, club members
learned discipline and responsibility, and they received a taste of what
college life was all about. They were required to rise at the sound of
the bell at 6:00 a.m. They were to be ready to attend the flag raising
ceremony at 6:30 a.m. They were to be seated at the breakfast table at
6:40 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., they were to be back in the dormitory for room
inspection. They were to be assembled in the auditorium for the first
general meeting at 8:00 a.m. Finally, they were expected to attend all
of the short course classes. Many black boys and girls were inspired to
go to college as a result of their short course experiences. The


contacts made and the training received contributed to their prepara-
tion for better citizenship.4
A third feature of 4-H club work was the camp. Camps were
planned and directed by farm and home demonstration agents. They
were designed to teach young people how to live together away from
home and to enjoy recreational and educational experiences close to
nature. More specifically, 4-H camps provided training designed to
improve leadership skills. Campers learned how to meet group
responsibilities. The subject matter which they learned included
nature study, handicrafts, music, and other subjects which many local
leaders were not learned in.
Most of the black camps were sponsored either by individual
county farm or home demonstration agents or by agents representing
two or more counties. A permanent 4-H camp site for Blacks was not
created in Florida until 1949. Until that time county agents held
camps on land loaned by private individuals or businesses especially
for that purpose or on the grounds of the black colleges. In Leon
County, for instance, 4-H'ers held camps at Lake Hall. The grounds
were loaned to the 4-H clubs by Charles Paynes, a black farmer. They
were cleared and readied for camping by the Board of County
Commissioners and the County Road Department. At other times in
Leon County, camps were held at Lost Lake. 4-H'ers in Hillsborough
County were allowed to set up a camp site on the Alafia River, and
those in Marion County, at Lake Weir."
Although conditions at these temporary camp sites were far from
sufficient, black agents made continuous efforts to carry out programs
that would be beneficial to the participants. At a camp sponsored by
Duval and Putnam Counties at the Florida Normal Institute in St.
Augustine in 1937, 4-H girls received instruction in handicraft,
clothing, and food management. Later during that same summer, 4-H
boys were taught swimming, public speaking, wood working, first aid,
and self-improvement.16
In 1949 a permanent 4-H camp site for black 4-H'ers in Florida
was established at Doe Lake in Madison County. The ten cabins
constructed on the site represented a welcome improvement over the
small tents characteristic of previous camps. The camp was also
composed of a main building and a caretaker's home. It could
accommodate one hundred and thirty campers. After a permanent
camp site was established, campers benefited from more frequent
participation of guest instructors and lecturers.


'I leVaWe.fl4r h.ehVW

I .



Campers stand in front of the main cabin at permanent 4-H camp site established for Blacks at
Doe Lake.

In 1952, for instance, after a trip to Haiti, Mary L. Huey lectured on
the life and customs of the Haitians at a 4-H girls camp. Speakers
representing public and private agencies such as the Florida Highway
Patrol, the Florida Power Company and the State Department of
Public Welfare made frequent appearances at camps, as did state
officials from the state extension service."
In 1964 a dental inspection program at Camp Doe received wide
acclaim by the parents of campers. During the six-week camp season,
agents arranged with the State Board of Health to have the dental
mobile unit make several visits to the camp. A registered dental
hygienist gave dental inspections to and cleaned the teeth of 508 girls.
Each camper received a written summary of the results of the
examination, which, in many instances, included a recommendation
to visit the dentist. The program "gave many campers the opportu-
nity to have their teeth cleaned, and to receive information on how to
care for their teeth."18
Like the 4-H short course, county and district camps provided club
boys and girls with opportunities and experiences that would have
been difficult to achieve under different circumstances. The following


program of a 1960 district 4-H camp for girls adequately summarized
the advantages of camp activities.
Opportunities and Experiences

1. Happiness-A young camper has fun.
2. Responsibility-She learns to do things for herself and for
3. Cooperation-She learns to play, work, and plan with
4. Appreciation-She develops new interests and values.
5. Comradeship-She makes new friendships and renews old
6. Health-She learns regular health habits, eats well, and
participates in wholesome activities.
7. Adventure-She has new experiences and learns new skills
in the out-of-doors.
8. Life Adjustment-A city girl experiences a type of spacious
living new to her; a country girl encounters social situations
not available to her home.
9. Inspiration-She gleans spiritual values from nature itself
and from the quality of the camp community.
10. Independence-She gets away from you, her parent. The
separation will be good for both of you. There'll be the fun
of sharing new experiences at your next meeting.
11. Good Citizenship-She comes home to you from an en-
vironment in which democratic group living is a necessity. I

The first regional camp for black 4-H'ers in the South started in
1948 at Southern University in Baton Rougue, Louisiana. Its primary
objective was to provide educational and recreational opportunities
for outstanding 4-H'ers. It represented the black counterpart to the
national 4-H camp held in Washington, D.C. for white 4-H'ers who
excelled in their work. Of the eighty-two boys and girls from sixteen
states present at the first regional camp, five were from Florida. They
were selected by their agents for outstanding records in project work
and leadership. From 1948 to 1954, regional club camps were held on
the campuses of different black colleges and universities. In 1955,
however, it was moved to Washington, D.C., but black 4-H'ers were
not allowed to use the facilities of the National 4-H Center. Rather,


they were quartered on the campus of the predominately Black
Howard University. Nevertheless, black 4-H'ers looked upon being
chosen as a delegate to the regional camp in Washington as the most
important recognition that they could achieve.20
A fourth feature of 4-H work was County Achievement Day.
Celebrated annually, this day was to recognize club achievements, to
encourage more participation in club work, and to gain the coopera-
tion of the community in advancing club activities. Standard clubs
across the nation observed a National 4-H Club Week. Its purpose
was to provide an opportunity for members to take stock of past
achievements, to make plans for future activities, to inform the
public, including parents of the value of 4-H training, to interest
other young people in enrolling in clubs, and to enlist more public-
spirited citizens as volunteer leaders. During 4-H Club Week,
members sponsored luncheons, banquets, vesper services, and general
assemblies. The celebration was always centered upon a specific
theme such as "Improving Family and Community Living," "Serving
as Loyal Citizens Through 4-H," "A Salute to 4-H Parents," and
"Learn, Live, and Serve Through 4-H.ht2
An annual event sponsored by 4-H clubs for girls was the Dress
Review. It provided an opportunity for members to display their
sewing skills. At the 1959 4-H short course, F. Marie King of the
Department of Clothing at Florida A&M, explained the importance
of the Dress Review to the delegates.

A dress review for the 4-H girl is more than a parade of fashions.
It represents superior skills in the art of dressmaking, wise
selection of fabrics, patterns, and notions.
A girl who models for the state fashion show or for her local
club develops poise and self-confidence. She is conscious of the
correctness of every detail of her ensemble-her dress and how
it fits, the color and style in relation to her own physical
characteristics, and the coordination of her shoes, hat, and bag.
Fashion reviews are great but the ultimate value is determined
by the effect they have on the girl from day to day. Every girl is a
model every day and should strive to be a good model and ro look
her best.22

Given the time and interest, 4-H club activities represented one of
the most effective methods for black youth to develop much of their

JU UU3LJ-I,) L11 ij

S -'

G;irli t-1H Club Dress Review in Dural Counry, 1960

potential and to ultimately be prepared to make important contribu-
tions to society. A valid testimony of the lessons learned by 4-H club
members comes from excerpts taken from a 4-H Record Book by a
sixteen year old member of the Duval County 4-H club. She wrote:

As a result of 4-H Club Work, [ have learned how to make
improvements for my home, how to take care of a garden, and
how to prepare many foods. 4-H Club Work has helped me and
my family not only to improve our home, but also improve
ourselves and our surroundings.
In a few years when I finish school, I plan to enter college and
take home economics. One of the reasons for this choice is the
many experiences I have had in 4-H Club Work. 1 can say that
the 61. years that I have had in 4-H Club Work have been full of
learning experiences, joy. fun, and excitement.
It is my hope that more and more girls will join the club and
see what enjoyment and wonderful things would happen to

.~ .111 1




From its beginning in 1915, the Cooperative Agricultural Exten-
sion Service operated along two separate structures of black and
white extension work. Consequently, even though extension agents
helped to ameliorate the unsatisfactory conditions of rural life among
black people, when compared to white agents, they achieved far less.
Discussing the inequities of extension work among Blacks in the
South in 1958, Lewis W. Jones, Director of Research of the Rural Life
Council at Tuskegee Institute, concluded that the Cooperative Exten-
sion Service was the "most rigidly segregated agency identified with
the Federal government."-
In Florida, as well as other southern states, the segregated program
was far from equal. One perpetual problem which plagued the
"department for Negro work" was the lack of an adequate number of
black agents. One of the reasons district agent Shure emphasized
planning so extensively during the 1930's was that the shortage of
agents left "barely enough time to carry out many phases of the
exrension program in a satisfactory manner."2
Former agents of the "Negro department" recalled that there were
never enough agents to adequately meet the needs of the black rural
population. They also recalled that in some counties, white farm and
home demonstration agents were assigned assistants who usually
worked with 4-H clubs. Black agents, however, were never so
fortunate. In Gadsden County, where the rural black population was
larger than the white, a former home demonstration agent who
worked there for thirty years explained, "I requested the entire time I
was working to get an assistant agent." She added that "Whites
[agents] had assistants with less people to work with.' A black farm
agent who served the same county for thirty years also stated, "there
should have been another agent. My counterpart was an agent doing
work for adults and one doing work for the 4-H Club. So I felt we
[black agents] needed the same thing, but I had to do the work for
both. I had to spread myself very thin. By the time you became

involved in one project you had to focus on something else, because
you couldn't forget about the adults and vice versa."'
The date in Table Six show that a disproportionately small number
of black extension agents, in relation to the black rural population,
was characteristic of the Florida Agricultural Extension Service.
Table seven shows that on the basis of the ratio of Blacks to total
rural population, there should have been thirteen additional black
agents in Florida in 1920, fifteen more in 1930 and 1940, and
eighteen more in 1950 and 1960- Black agents never constituted more
than fifty-five percent of what was required for equity.
Table eight shows percentage increases and decreases in the
number of white and black agents from 1920 to 1960. During the
entire period, the percentage increase of white agents was far greater
than that of black.
Another major problem that impaired the performance of black
extension agents was the inequitable distribution of extension funds.
As might be expected, Project VI, Negro Farm and Home Makers
Work, operated out of a separate fund. From this appropriation, the
salaries of the two local district agents and the farm and home
demonstration agents were paid. The expenses of the district agents'
office and the travel expenses of county agents, when attending state
meetings, were also paid from this fund. The greatest portion of the
funds came from federal and state sources. Published reports of
expenditures for the "Negro department" appearing in the General
Activities Reports from 1915 to 1939 show a notable disparity in how
extension funds were expended. Whereas equity would require that
funds for black extension should have been appropriated in relation
to the black urban population, figures for 1920 and 1930 show that
such a policy was non-existent.
Table Nine shows that although Blacks made up thirty-four
percent of the population in 1920, only five percent of the total funds
available for extension was allocated to the "Negro department".
While they made up thirty-one percent of the population in 1930,
only seven percent of extension funds went to work among Blacks. It
should be noted that in determining the total amounts spent listed in
the table (column two), the writer deducted allocations for state
administration, printing, and publications, since it can be assumed
that these services were of some benefit to blacks. The percent of
funds actually spent for extension work among blacks, therefore,
represents a fair appraisal of the disparity between expenditures for



RELATION TO THE RURAL POPULATION, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960

Year All Agents Total Total Rural Population Percent Percent
Total White Black White Black Total White Black Whie Black
1920 86 70 16 81% 19% 612,645 403,754 208,891 66% 34%
1930 93 79 14 85 15 798,433 486,897 221,536 69 31
1940 117 100 17 85 15 851,623 624,472 227,151 73 27
1950 172 152 20 88 12 957,415 748,874 208,541 78 22
1960 241 219 22 91 9 1,210,580 1,000,056 210,580 83 17


REQUIRED FOR EQUITY, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960

Percent Black
of Rural


Number of Black
Agents Required
for Equity*

Actual Number
Black Agents


Difference Between
Actual Number and
Equitable Number


Percent Actual
Number Is Of
Equitable Number


*Total of agents (Table 6) multiplied by percent Blacks are of rural population.




_ __ __ ____ ___ ___ __________ ___ _



IN FLORIDA, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960

Total Increase or Decrease Percent Population
Number Over Previous Increase or
Year of White Black Ten Years or Decrease Decrease
Agents White Black White Black White Black
1920 86 70 16
1930 93 79 14 +9 -2 12.5% 2.5.5% 20.6% 6.0%
1940 117 100 17 +21 +3 26.6% 21.4% 28.2% 2.5%
1950 172 152 20 +52 +3 52% 17.6% 19.9% -8.1%
1960 241 219 22 +67 +2 44% 10% 33.5% -9%

Source: University of Florida Division of Agricultural Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating, Report of
General Activities, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960.




Total Total Blacks Percent of Total Percent Blacks
Year Total Allocated Should Have Allocated of Rural
Allocated to Blacks Received to Blacks Population
1920 $170,546,20 $ 8,440.00 $ 57,985.71 5% 34%
1930 353,647.65 25,526.53 109,630.77 7 31

Source: University of Florida Division of Agricultural Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating, Report of
General Activities, 1920, 1930.

Blacks and whites. Obviously, Florida Extension officials regarded the
matter of funds for "Negro work" with little serious concern, In a
letter to Field Agent T. M. Campbell in 1939, District Agent A. A.
Turner queried his supervisor on why the $26,000 appropriation for
the year did not compare with the $31,434 figure reported to
Campbell by the Extension Service in Gainesville.4
Although General Activity Reports did not publish a breakdown of
expenditures by race after 1930, given the continuation of racial
segregation and disparity in Florida during the period under in-
vestigation, it is fair to assume that Blacks continued to be dis-
criminated against in the allocation of extension funds until the
"Negro department" was eliminated in 1965,
The strikingly inequitable division of extension funds adversely
affected every phase of operation of the "Negro department."
Complicating the problem was the fact that very few counties where
black agents were placed contributed to the expenses of maintaining
an agent. In 1925 only four of the fourteen counties served by fifteen
farm and home demonstration agents made small appropriations to
home agents, and in no counties did farm agents receive assistance.
The same condition existed in 1932. Of the fourteen counties having
black agents, four contributed to home demonstration work. In 1935
only two of fifteen counties served by black agents supported the
work. A home demonstration agent who began work in Jacksonville
in 1931 stated that she was not included in the Duval County budget
until 1950, after seventeen presidents of home demonstration clubs
went before the city commission to request funds.5
In her 1948 annual report, district agent Floy Britt told the
extension service at Gainesville that more financial support from
counties would enable agents to render better service. She reported
that of the nine counties with home demonstration agents, only "six
supplemented funds for travel and expenses" and only "two provided
funds for demonstration material, achievement and fair exhibits."6
In 1950 the average annual salary of a black farm agent in Florida
was $2,604. White farm agents, however, averaged $4,368 annually.
And white assistant agents averaged $3,669 annually, $1,065 more
than black agents.7 A former home demonstration agent reported
that she received a salary of 2,400.
Some counties employing black agents gave travel allowances only
when agents attended state meetings. This represented a considerable
hardship on agents since they spent a large portion of their time in


the field making farm and home visits. For instance, farm and home
visits made by black agents in 1930, 1940, 1950, and 1958 totaled
5,315, 6,645, 9,087, and 9,247, respectively. These visits did not
include the numerous 4-H club meetings, community leadership and
training meetings, and council meetings agents attended. Even when
agents received compensation for traveling to state meetings, the
funds were only partial. One former agent explained that while he
received 54 per mile, his white counterpart was given 7c per mile.
And while he received $5 per diem, the white county agent received
$10.8 All other travel was paid from the agents' salaries. In 1948 Britt
reported that it was difficult to secure well-prepared agents to fill two
vacant positions in Gadsden and Columbia Counties because of low
salaries and travel expenses.
Due to the lack of an equitable share of extension funds, another
problem confronting black extension agents was either the absence or
the inadequacy of office space, office equipment, clerical assistance,
and teaching material. During the early days of extension work, many
agents' offices were located in their homes and in their cars. In 1931
only two of seven home demonstration agents had offices. In one of
his weekly reports for May, 1944, field agent T. M. Campbell
lamented the fact that a demonstration agent whom he visited had no
clerical assistance. Consequently, when she was in the field no one
was in the office "to receive telephone messages and farm visitors
seeking solutions to their problems." And district agent Shute stated
that when she requested typewriters for some of her agents, officials
answered by asking for writing samples of the agents' typing.10
As the extension program developed, black agents were provided
with more offices and better equipment, however, in most cases, the
provisions were never adequate. One former agent stated that in her
county in 1950

they [county officials] didn't even furnish paper. It was sent
from Gainesville or from Tallahassee. I had to do all of my
hunting and pecking on the typewriter myself to make out my
monthly reports. So did the farm agent. I guess it was in the late
50's that they gave us a part-time secretary together.-"

Another agent remembered that in 1952, his office was "located in
a building with two tables, one file cabinet, a worn-out typewriter,


.a~ ~4*!i



Home Demonsrrarion Agents' office in Duval County, 1959.
The agent retrieved the storage files in the bottom photo from the rubbish of a local
department store.

I '.
I *


. .
* *I


and that was it." And a former agent remembered the following
situation existing even as late as 1963:

When I came into extension there were two offices, a front office
for the secretary and a back office for the agent-not very much
room for having classes. I tried to rig the space that I did have
and tried to hold the leader training meetings there. We asked
the building manager to give us a small closet across the hall to
store our literature in.12

Most agents bought their own teaching materials and field equip-
ment. "When I first started working," one former agent stated,

they [extension service] gave me nothing to work with-no
demonstration materials. I had to go out and ask people to let me
use their equipment. As you went out into the areas you were to
have been putting into practice those plans you received from
the Extension Service with nothing to put them into practice

In 1939 Shute reported that most black home demonstration
agents bought their own canners, portable tables and stoves, lamps,
and other field equipment.14
It is not surprising that such blatant acts of discrimination
sometimes lessened the agents' enthusiasm for their work. One
former agent angrily protested:

You are not satisfied when you are not being compensated for
doing the same type of services as your white counterpart. You
are not satisfied when you know that your counterpart is sitting
in an air-conditioned office with a secretary and a telephone and
have all of the conveniences, and you are just the opposite-
lacking those facilities. You are not satisfied when you are not
being compensated by the county. You have to take care of your
family, and gas costs just as much per gallon for your car as it does
for his car .5

Another unfavorable condition characteristic of extension services
among Blacks was the inadequate accessibility of subject-matter
specialists. There were no black subject-matter specialists in Florida.
Consequently, black agents depended upon white specialists. Most of


the former agents of the "Negro department1 generally agree that
specialists rendered satisfactory assistance at agents' conferences,
short courses, and extension schools, but they were seldom available
to meet with community leaders or to render field service along with
agents. In an address before the Regional Conference on Negro
Extension Work at Tuskegee Institute in 1937, district agent Shute
joined other black agents from the southern states in appealing for
more specialists assistance. She explained that specialists should give
more attention to the training of agents so that they could meet the
needs of the people more effectively:

To understand the need for a specialist, it is advisable to
consider the educational status of the Negro extension agents.
Some of them have not completed their education, and in many
instances the salary is not sufficient to lay aside funds for further
advancement. There is also a general need for specialist assist-
ance in training the agent on the job in subject matter and report
In Florida there are only 15 Negro extension agents serving as
many counties in the state. With the poor housing conditions,
poorly selected articles of clothing, malnutrition both of children
and adults resulting from poorly selected, improperly cooked
foods, and unbalanced diets there is a need for specialists to
prepare information that will enable the agents to correct this
situation, LG

In 1948 district agent Britt also appealed for more specialist
assistance. She wrote:

All the specialists (both men and women) are very coopera-
tive, but the most regrettable thing is that their services are so
very limited with the work of Negro home demonstration.
There is a definite need of more specialists assistance. The
services rendered by the specialists during the annual conference
are greatly appreciated, but that is not enough. There is a need
for the specialists' services with Negro home demonstration
leaders' groups in each county. With this type of assistance a
stronger program can be built.7

An additional condition which often hindered the efforts of
extension agents to meet the needs of Blacks was the inconvenience
associated with traveling. Most of the black clientele lived away from


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