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An Important Chapter in Black History, Now Off the Shelf

Mann Library has digitized and made available to the world the early 20th century magazine The Modern Farmer. Published by the National Federation of Colored Farmers (NFCF) from 1929 to 1949, this unique treasure was one of the only serial publications published in the Depression-era United States that was aimed at African-American farmers. The NFCF was an organization that formed local chapters of buying and selling distribution cooperatives for African-American farmers and their goods at a time when prevailing Jim Crow laws made such efforts dangerous. James P. Davis, The Modern Farmer’s editor and president of the NFCF, served as a Head Field Officer of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and was also a member of President Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet,” the group of African Americans who served as public policy advisors to the President and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Mann Library’s copies of The Modern Farmer are the only known copies of this important record of 20th century history. The online collection can be found at with a search for “Modern Farmer.”

For more information on the history of this remarkable publication, see our February “Vaults of Mann” blog.