Jeannie Whayne is a University Professor of history at the University of Arkansas and a past president of the Agricultural History Society. She is the author of two books including Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South (2011), a social, economic, and environmental study of a plantation owned by a single family from 1846 to 2010 and the winner of the John G. Ragsdale Prize. She is the editor or a coauthor of nine other books, including The Ongoing Burden of Southern History: Politics and Identity in the Twenty-First-Century South (2012). Whayne has won numerous awards for her teaching and publications, including the Arkansas Historical Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently researching a book on Memphis, Tennessee, that examines the interaction between the city and its hinterlands in forging a regional cotton empire; she is also working on a National Endowment for the Humanities digitization proposal to map that connection. Her 2014 presidential address to the Agricultural History Society, "The Incidental Environmentalists: Dale Bumpers, George Templeton, and the Origins of the Rosen Alternative Pest Control Center at the University of Arkansas," examined a tradition of sustainable agriculture within the traditional agricultural bureaucracy of the late twentieth-century United States and the role of the center in promoting alternatives to agricultural chemicals. Also in 2014, she presented a paper at the World Congress on Environmental History that examined modern "portfolio plantations," or investor-owned agricultural land, placing this global development in the context of the new corporate colonialism and examining its environmental and cultural implications. She has also presented her work at the Southern Historical Association and the European Rural Studies Organization conferences.
This lecture examines one of the most infamous episodes in southern history: the lynching of Henry Lowry at Nodena Landing, Mississippi County in 1921. Announcements that the lynching would take place appeared in the Memphis newspapers and more than 600 people watched as Lowry was burned at the stake. Lowry's fate was tied to a dispute with the planter for whom he worked, a dispute that led to a fatal gun battle which left two whites dead. Lowry escaped to El Paso, Texas but was apprehended and after assurances were given to the governor of Texas by the governor of Arkansas that Lowry would be given a fair trial, he returned to Arkansas only to be lynched instead. This lecture examines the limits of planter paternalism in the context of tenant/landlord disputes.