Thursday, March 25, 2010

Missouri Sharecropper

Today's picture was taken in 1939 in New Madrid county, Missouri. It shows a sharecropper which has just been evicted from his land. I number of sharecroppers had been evicted, and they set up a tent city by the side of the road.

7 comments:

  1. Man, you have to feel sorry for that old guy. He must not have had the best life to start with, and then get evicted. What does a person do in their old age when you didn't have much to start with and then lose it all.
    How long can you live in a tent city at that age?
    R

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  2. These pictures have been very interesting. I read "A Painted House" by John Grisham a few years ago. It's a story about farming in the Deep South instead of his usual fare of legal drama. He did a pretty good job at it too. If I recall correctly he talked about the class of folks in the region and how the sharecroppers were below the homesteaders. They would arrive at the beginnings of the seasonal harvest and camp out on the farmer's land. Many of them would begin their work in the south and moved north as their livelihoods were pretty much dictated by when the crops ripened.

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  3. My grand father took his family out on the road to pick cotton and such, back in the 20's and 30's. They worked mostly in Texas. After the crops were harvested, they returned home. They owned their own home and land, but only grew fruit and vegetables for their own use.As a result my father only had a 4th grade education.

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  4. A minor point: a sharecropper, by definition, can't be evicted from his own land. A sharecropper farms the land of another on the basis of an mutually agreed sharing of the proceeds.

    It was a really exploitative arrangement by most accounts.

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  5. I dont think "his" implies ownership . . . people say, "I got evicted from my apartment", or "I got evicted from my rent house". Same with getting evicted from my land.

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  6. People that travel around the country following the crops are called migrant workers.
    R

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  7. From Answers.com
    By the time of the Great Depression the sharecropping system was beginning to break down. The Agricultural Adjustment Act under the New Deal encouraged planters to reduce their acreage production in exchange for government payments. Landlords rarely shared these payments with their sharecroppers. Instead, many share-croppers were evicted from the land and migrated to urban areas. end of quote

    So now we know why this poor fellow was evicted. So the landowner could collect a government payment for letting the land lie fallow. Gee sometimes not much has changed in 70 years!

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