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Catfish Dream

Ed Scott's Fight for His Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta (Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture #2)

Julian Rankin


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (7/10/2018)


Catfish Dream centers around the experiences, family, and struggles of Ed Scott Jr. (born in 1922), a prolific farmer in the Mississippi Delta and the first ever nonwhite owner and operator of a catfish plant in the nation.

Both directly and indirectly, the economic and political realities of food and subsistence affect the everyday lives of Delta farmers and the people there. Ed's own father, Edward Sr., was a former sharecropper turned landowner who was one of the first black men to grow rice in the state. Ed carries this mantle forth with his soybean and rice farming and later with his catfish operation, which fed the black community both physically and symbolically. He provides an example for economic mobility and activism in a region of the country that is one of the nation's poorest and has one of the most drastic disparities in education and opportunity, a situation especially true for the Delta's vast African American population. With Catfish Dream Julian Rankin provides a fascinating portrait of a place through his intimate biography of Scott, a hero at once so typical and so exceptional in his community.

University of Georgia Press, 9780820353593, 160pp.

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

About the Author

JULIAN RANKIN was raised in Mississippi and North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rankin was the founding director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange at the Mississippi Museum of Art. He now serves as executive director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. His personal work explores identity and place in the contemporary South. He is the author of Catfish Dream: Ed Scott's Fight for his Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta published by the University of Georgia Press as part of the Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place series. He is the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance's first annual residency at Rivendell Writers Colony. For Catfish Dream, Rankin was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award, and was also recognized as the 2019 Nonfiction winner by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.