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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tenant Farming in the Missouri Bootheel: 1930s

Updated and reposted 7-14-16

Grandpa John and Uncle James brought their families to the Bootheel area of Southeast Missouri in the early 1930s. As tenant/sharecropper farmers they faced hard and unfair times trying to establish a foundation for rearing a family.

The depression hit most Americans in the 30s but farmers and farm workers had been facing economic depression since the 1920s and win the rest of the country was hit by the stock market crash the farmers had already been living the hard life.

Dawn to dusk farm hands were paid a measly $.75 a day for picking cotton. Tennant farmers and sharecroppers constantly faced mass evictions, company stores and landlord controlled price fixing.

Uncle Jim was a tenant farmer from 1930 to 1936 and grandpa John through most of the same decade. They both lost a son to farm accidents during that time.

On Highway 62 from Charleston to Ft. Defiance.

We have no reason to believe that either John or Jim participated in the strike of 1939, but it would have been hard to not be aware of 1,000 tenant farmers and their families lined up along Highway 61 and 62 in the Bootheel.

Jim Donie Kizzie John

Aunt Donnie, Uncle Jim, Grandma Kizzie and Grandpa John Littrell.


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