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McNeese Presents SAGE Lecture

McNeese Presents SAGE Lecture

(September 28, 2016) Dr. Donna Barnes, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Wyoming, will give a lecture titled, “The Unredeemed: Race and the Failure of the Louisiana Populist Movement, 1881-1900,” at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in the McNeese State University SEED Center as part of the McNeese Fall 2016 SAGE series. Populist movement book cover

In her talk taken from her book, “The Louisiana Populist Movement, 1881-1900,” Barnes will talk about the Populist movement of the late 19th century that represents one of the largest third-party challenges in American history. Throughout the South, widespread drops in crop prices led to agrarian revolt, which contributed to the movement's popularity. Yet, in the largely rural state of Louisiana, despite the political group's focus on empowering distressed farmers, the Populist movement struggled to gain influence. Its ineffectuality makes an intriguing political case study of the Pelican State and Populism.

Emerging in the 1890s as the political wing of the Southern Farmers' Alliance, the Populists - or People's Party - garnered the support of millions of rural Southerners. “But the Louisiana People’s Party struggled to spread beyond a limited number of parishes in the northern and central part of the state,” Barnes stated. “The movement's relatively poor mobilization record provides an excellent opportunity to explore factors that impede social movement growth.”  This includes the role of racial division in undermining the Populist cause in Louisiana.
A native of New Orleans, Barnes received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Louisiana State University and her Master of Arts and doctorate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lectures are open to the public and cost is $59 for the series. For more information or to register, call 337-475-5616 or visit

Persons needing accommodations as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact the ADA Coordinator at 337-475-5428, voice; 337-475-5960, fax; 337-562-4227, TDD/TTY, hearing impaired; or by email at