Shot between 1939 and 1941 by the Farm Security Administration, these images show the harsh living conditions of blacks farming on rented land during World War II.

Sharecropper home in Mississippi, 1939

Sharecropper home in Mississippi, 1939

Sharecropping was initially designed to get freed former slaves working again after the Civil War. Farming was essential to the stability of the southern economy, which had been decimated by the conflict. Tenant farming was instituted, because blacks were sorely needed in the fields yet seen as incapable of full ownership and management of lands.

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