Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The History of a Southern Tenant Farmers Union

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The History of a Southern Tenant Farmers Union

Article excerpt

The History of a Southern Tenant Farmers Union James D. Ross Jr. The Rise and Fall of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in Arkansas. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-62190-352-9. 166pp.

A history of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union in eastern Arkansas. It was founded during the harsh times of the Great Depression. It stands out among unions because of its biracial membership, and the socialist leanings of its leaders. It declined because of mechanization of agriculture, and changing political beliefs of its members. The author of this study, James D. Ross, proposes that the union's decline was not so simple, but rather resulted from a disharmony between the messages sent out about its goals from the leadership and the actual goals of the tenant farmers that made up the membership. The farmers "wanted their immediate needs for food and shelter met, and they wanted to own their own land and thus determine their own futures. Ross summarizes the differences as the leaders being Marxists, while the membership was primarily fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christian. James Ross is an associate professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The book provides some useful visuals, like graphs of the changing cotton price across this period. There are also some dramatic photos of rickety sharecroppers' homes that look hand-made and like they are about to fall apart. The photos of African American sharecropping families on plantations are also striking. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.