Professional and Biographical Information

Submitted by Alec F. Hickmott on Friday, 2/28/2020, at 11:46 AM


At Amherst, I teach classes in American and African American history, as well as core courses in the Black Studies curriculum. 


I am currently working on a book, entitled Black Belt Capitalism: A History of Race and Development in the Land of Shadows (under contract, Columbia University Press). This work argues that for much of the twentieth century, debates about the development of black owned land in the rural South structured African American visions of capitalist modernity and notions of freedom more generally. Spanning the New Deal, civil rights and Black Power eras and beyond, my work shows how a range of black intellectuals, grassroots activists and bureaucrats proposed a number of land-based strategies for challenging the southern economic order. Combining intellectual, policy and social movement history, Black Belt Capitalism traces efforts to theorize and build a more racially democratic infrastructure of rural development. This tradition of thought and practice was a critical, if overlooked dimension of both the black freedom struggle and African American intellectual life in the twentieth century.


  • Ph.D., University of Virginia, History (2016)
  • M.Phil., University of Sussex, History (2011)
  • M.A., University of Virginia, History (2010)
  • B.A., University of Sussex, First Class (2008)


  • "From Nashville to Port-au-Prince: Giles Hubert and the Agrarian New Deal in Post-Occupation Haiti," in Free Market Diplomacy: Capitalism and Foreign Relations in Modern America, ed. Christopher Dietrich (Forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press)

  • “Black Land, Black Capital: Rural Development in the Shadows of the Sunbelt South, 1969-1976,” The Journal of African American History 101:4 (Fall 2016), 504-534 

    • Winner, Jack Temple Kirby Prize in southern agricultural and environmental history, Southern Historical Association, 2017. 

    • Honorable Mention, Maria Stewart Prize, African American Intellectual History Society, 2018.

  • “Brothers, Come North”: The Rural South and the Political Imaginary of New Negro Radicalism, 1917-1923,” Intellectual History Review 21:4 (December, 2011), 395-412. 

    • Winner, Charles Schmitt Prize in Intellectual History, International Society for Intellectual History, 2011.