By Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
This is often the tale of the way rural black humans struggled opposed to the oppressive sharecropping procedure of the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta throughout the first half the 20 th century. the following, white planters cast a global of terror and poverty for black employees, one who resembled the awful deprivations of the African Congo below Belgium's King Leopold II. Delta planters didn't bring to an end the heads and fingers in their African American staff yet, aided by way of neighborhood legislation enforcement, they engaged in peonage, homicide, robbery, and disfranchisement. As participants and during collective fight, together with nationwide businesses just like the NAACP and native teams just like the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, black women and men fought again, hard a simply go back for his or her vegetation and laying declare to a democratic imaginative and prescient of citizenship. Their efforts have been amplified through the 2 global wars and the melancholy, which multiplied the mobility and fiscal possibilities of black humans and provoked federal involvement within the quarter. Nan Woodruff exhibits how the liberty opponents of the Sixties could draw in this half-century culture of protest, hence increasing our commonplace notions of the civil rights flow and illuminating a ignored yet good portion of the yank black adventure. (20040301)
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Additional info for American Congo: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta
Such a system allowed the company both to provide the subsistence provisions for credit, thereby ensuring they received payment at the end of the year, and to guarantee the absorption of any cash croppers may have earned, for they shopped at the company “cash” store rather than in town. 53 The unit managers were key to the success of the corporate plantations. They had the most direct contact with the labor force, supervised the daily work, and authorized croppers’ requests to purchase clothing at the commissary.
77 The Arkansas Delta became known as a place where people disappeared. When several families in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, had relatives who had left 36 36 AMERICAN CONGO the town and had not been heard from, they requested that the Justice Department investigate and find out if they had become convicts in Arkansas. 78 Some of the most well-known incidents of peonage occurred in the Mississippi Delta, where federal investigations revealed the widespread existence of coerced labor. Perhaps the most celebrated case involved the Sunnyside Plantation owned by O.
Scott had 8,000 acres of timberland, and brought into cultivation each year 600 acres, with the goal of planting crops on all of its timber land in ten years. The company milled and marketed its own timber, using the profits to pay for land reclamation. Twenty-five miles of this “alluvial domain” spanned along the banks of the Mississippi River, where drainage projects were an 24 24 AMERICAN CONGO ongoing enterprise. 41 Like the steel mills of Andrew Carnegie, the company grew, harvested, ginned, and preserved every last byproduct on the plantation, billing the compressed cotton directly to the plantation’s owners in Manchester.
American Congo: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta by Nan Elizabeth Woodruff