Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Barbara Krauthamer

Second Advisor

Laura Lovett

Third Advisor

Rachel Mordecai

Fourth Advisor

Jeanne Theoharis

Subject Categories

Cultural History | United States History


“And Liberty For All” is a case study of an African-American rural community in Georgia. It argues that to understand the manners in which Southern rural black communities fought for civil rights in the Black Freedom Struggle, one must take the longue durèe approach to researching and writing their histories. Thus, this dissertation covers the period of slavery until the modern Civil Rights Movement of the 1940s. This case study is representative of other Southern rural communities in that it highlights the nuanced ways in which they survived and persevered while facing racism, racial violence, and disenfranchisement by using grassroots organizing techniques that were specific to the needs of their community. However, it takes an ethno-historical approach in centering the experiences of the local black community who self-identified as Geechee and who trace their ancestry and traditions to enslaved West and Central Africans brought to coastal Georgia in the eighteenth century for their knowledge of rice cultivation.