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Commercial Poultry Production on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore

The Role of African Americans, 1930s to 1990s

Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II

Commercial Poultry Production on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore traces the beginnings and development of commercial poultry production in this very important region. African Americans were mainly involved in poultry production on the labor supply side, which was crucial to the expansion of the industry. Commercial poultry production expanded through vertical integration, acquisitions, mergers, and consolidations and became the dominant economic activity on the Lower Maryland Eastern Shore in the 1950s. Throughout the years, the industry has intermixed with public health and the environment. These integrations were problematic on several fronts, as the industry sought to maintain a much-needed economic lifeline for the region and yet protect public health and ensure a sustainable environment at the same time. In all, commercial poultry production has continued to fuel the local economy of the Lower Maryland Eastern Shore since its inception in the 1930s. « less more »
University Press of America
Pages: 206Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7618-5876-8 • Hardback • June 2012 • $70.00 • (£47.95)
978-0-7618-5877-5 • eBook • June 2012 • $69.99 • (£47.95)
Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II, Ph.D., has written and published more than forty scholarly commentaries and articles in numerous national and international publications, including The Western Journal of Black Studies, Southern Historian: A Journal of Southern History, The Baltimore Sun, and Newswatch. He is a recipient of the Leadership and Excellence Award from the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) in Austin, Texas, and the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award at the Baltimore City Community College, where he is a distinguished professor. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Charlottesville, Virginia, and the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
Drawn from his 2007 dissertation, historian Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II offers readers a complex portrait of rural blacks' lives in the region's broiler industry. He moves seamlessly from social histories of rural African Americans to an economic history of the industry....He skillfully pieces together an effective outline of the local industry's trajectory over six decades based on official publications, local media, and oral histories...Omo-Osagie's book makes an important contribution to an emerging scholarship on the place of rural labor in the making of the modern chicken industry.
Agricultural History

Scholars have long overlooked African American contributions to the growth of poultry agribusiness, and this neglect is especially true with regard to the Chesapeake region. . . .[This book] provides a much-needed analysis of the region's poultry trade.
Journal of Southern History

Through the use of primary and secondary sources, Dr. Omo-Osagie provides an interesting look at these companies and their evolution over time into multi-million dollar operations. What is most exciting, however, is the fact that his manuscript provides a lens through which he examines the critical role which African Americans played in the growth and success of this industry — not as owners, but as workers. This is another aspect of the role of African Americans as workers in a critical 20th century American industry which has not been explored.
Bettye J. Gardner, professor of history, Coppin State University