Black History Month

Sharecropper History

 

 

 

Written Feb. 28 11:59 pm EST

 

   This is a first hand account of a sharecropperís son (name withheld) born on a particular plantation in 1938 in the segregated state of Mississippi. Now the reason this story is being told, as some know of what truly happen in the South after the slaves were set free. Remember, many blacks in the deep south were not sharecroppers. This is for the elders who grew up in the North before Black History was taught in schools.

   As this nation reeled from the Civil War, where slavery was only one of the many issues separating the South from the North. The primary was the financial services placing a burden on the plantation owners and the cotton crop, which was king. The North was exploiting the southern farmers just as to today, through the Futures Markets which manipulates the price of grains on the Commodities Market. Lincoln proposed freedom for the slaves and the South went to war. Marginal payments from the cotton markets sold overseas and now the labor force was allowed to leave was the issue.

   Yes the nation fought to free the slaves, but all is not what it seems. The Jim Crow Laws were passed shortly after the Civil War by most members in both Houses of Congress elected in the North and South. This allowed the Southern and some Northern states to pass laws affecting descendants of African Americans bypassing Federal Law. So now the plantation owners offered former slaves sharecropper rights. To where housing was provided at a rental fee. All food was provided and bought at the boss manís store. The payout to the sharecropper families was manipulated as to paying a couple of hundred for the yearís work, then claiming a shortfall the next year where the sharecropper owes. No sharecropper was given the price of cotton sold at market level. As extra earned was sold to the boss man. Only when the sharecropper owned his own farm was the price known and they would never inform the thousands of sharecroppers on the plantation even family. This maintained the illusion of freedom, but a form of financial dependency where existence on the plantation was marginal, where you could not leave. As a plantation sharecropper you were provided protection to a certain degree from the Law and the KKK when you wandered into town against other sharecroppers, but you could not look or address a white woman. You spoke only when spoken to with your head down to a white man. It was discouraged for sharecroppers from different plantation owners from talking to each other under threat of removal.

   If a sharecropper was badly beat or worse another sharecropper, the Law would come the boss man of the accused and he would decide whether he takes care of punishment (he lives) or the Law (he dies). This was how the Law worked in the South. For the sharecropper the plantation was there as a refuse against the pitfalls of life. Few could understand why a former slaves chose to stay on the same plantation, they were free to live. The numbers were astounding out of hundreds only 1 or two families would leave the plantation from slaveryís end to the 1960s.

   The sharecropper who shared his story said when he was 13 (1951) his father decided to leave the plantation. This was after many years of preparation. He made sure his children went to school even though the boss man could negate that for a vital need to pick the cotton before the rain would come. As that would damage the crop yielding a lower price. The sharecroppers who were family looked upon educating the kids as a waste of time. The boss man provided all needs. This was still the mentality of the nineteen fifties and sixties. The other children would see them go to school and ask their parents why not me. This was shut down. When the older children were having a good old time with the boss man, he would snap his fingers and they would run to the fields, not walk.

   The sharecropper son was told to watch, as he did and told this is why you need an education, because his father wanted something to be in his head. School presented challenges, first because it was segregated, but more important when he came home and spoke proper English, his parents could not understand him. So he had to revert back to the old negro dialect. After his father bought the boss manís mules, the sharecropper said why would the boss man sell my family his mules, when they could make you more independent? I asked why? It was because the boss man transitioned to tractors and no longer needed mules. His father bought also a cow for milk, which turned into a herd of 2 dozen and chickens severing dependency on the boss manís food store. The boss man was proud of his fatherís achievements and told him, that he was welcome to move on when the father asked.

   The government at that time was selling old leased plantation federal land to black and white sharecroppers after WW2, which was started under the Roosevelt Administration. It was offered to the plantation owners and the poor others, which the poor included both races. When the sharecroppers father told all on the plantation, that he was leaving, the patriarch of the family of sharecroppers, his uncle called him a fool. How are you going to live? You will starve, as there is no life outside of the plantation. The day the sharecroppers father left in 1951, a crowd of sharecroppers gathered in front of their home, as family members were asked to help move, but none lifted a hand. He said what funny is the crowd looked up at the boss manís home then looked back at them over a period of hours. There were expecting trouble. As the previous 2 families that have left over the past decades, cowered out under the cover of darkness. In Mississippi thousands of slave families chose to stay on the plantation as sharecroppers, rather than break free and head north. On the plantation the sharecroppers were free, but in their minds many still had a slave mentality. This did not change for many stuck in the deep south, where the outside world did not exist until the mid to late nineteen sixties.

   As the sharecropper reflects back on his life he has two messages for all. First, let go of the past and hatred of the white man. This was frowned upon in the negro families on the plantation. His father would reprimand him for such thoughts, as only we can change our position in life. If you hate another for something only a few did, then you are no different than them. This is how I as sharecroppers son grew up. Not the message many are stating today for their own personal reasons.

   Second, reparations in the form of money will do little to improve the long term lives of black people. None of you have no right to claim reparations on the backs of the slaves who worked the fields picking cotton. If so, you can not afford what is owed to Native Americans. Slavery was common in the past and legal, but it was not right. The past is the past and that will never change. Money spends and the fool remains, only broke. This government needs to offer an education for all who maintain at least B- and 75% for C. All others are on your own. This is what the sharecropper said would change lives in the Black race and it is true. You can never lose an education, but you can and most certainly, many will lose their money.

 

Added Commentary:

 

The government threw away 50 billion dollars (fraud, black market sales, kickbacks to politicians, outright corruption by those who run Ukraine, over pricing by the military complex) to save Ukraine, a cause and burden that needs to be shared by all in NATO. Soldiers and money does run out, then what? There is no oversight.

   If someone out there wants to change America for the better, educate instead of dumbing down those in the inner cities as if you are doing them a favor. You do not promote failure. Education eliminates poverty without handouts. Education eliminates crime, because you have. Education eliminates some healthcare issues, as some can afford to have a proper diet and insurance for the family. Consider this long term path as a true start, because little has changed since Congress was dragged into passing the Civil Rights Act of 64Ď.

 

History brought to you, through the mind of an actual sharecropper and added insight in honor of Black History Month.

 

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