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Author Shines Light on Black Landowners in Autobiography

Renowned educator’s sharecropping family felt blessed to live on the land of a black landowner and entrepreneur.


Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims pays tribute to black land owners of her past.

Educator, philanthropist and boarding school owner Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims intimately shares stories of her struggles and success in her autobiography One Peanut at a Time: Autobiography: One Woman’s Trek of Trials and Triumphs (Xlibris, 2016). While the book will give readers new impetus to working toward their dreams, it will also give them insights on black plantation owners in the segregated South.  
Whitehurst-Mims’ family lived in a county where former slaves owned hundreds of acres of land and produced bountiful crops. They were fortunate enough to tend the peanut farm of a black farmer, philanthropist and businessman who treated his sharecroppers more like family than tenants. For her family, it was a blessing that they lived on land owned by a black landowner, because Negro children whose parents worked on white owners’ plantations rarely attended school. Whitehurst-Mims’ father always reminded his children of that important fact to motivate them.
The author’s family were also friends with other black plantation owners and their sharecroppers. Not only did they work together in tilling the land and reaping the harvest, but also played and attended school and church together. She also details the struggles and injustices black landowners experienced, such as land grabbing by white owners and the lack of manpower due to World War II.
The book One Peanut at a Time: Autobiography: One Woman’s Trek of Trials and Triumphs is written from the perspective and experience of a sharecropper’s daughter, Whitehurst-Mims, who became the first African-American to own and operate an international boarding school. There are not many books that cast light on black land owners of the Jim Crow era and of the Great Depression.
One Peanut at a Time: Autobiography: One Woman’s Trek of Trials and Triumphs
Written by Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims
Published by Xlibris
Published date: July 7, 2016
Paperback price: $19.99
About the Author
Dr. Cleaster Whitehurst-Mims is an educator, political activist, and philanthropist whose journey carried her from the peanut fields of Enterprise, Alabama to founder and CEO of her own private boarding school, the Cleaster Mims College Prep and International Boarding Schools, which is the first African-American-owned international boarding school for fourth through eighth grade students in Ohio, USA. As a sharecropper’s daughter, she was raised in a unique farm culture where she learned lasting lessons in family and community unity, faith, fortitude, and frugality. She spends her time developing a private archive and a family learning center in honor of her husband, the late Julius C. Mims.

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