The Lowndes Interpretive Center in White Hall, Alabama, tells the story of the struggle for voting rights and racial equality in Lowndes County. Even a century after the Civil War, conditions for African Americans remained difficult, with white landowners using violence and subterfuge to maintain control. The sharecropping system kept African American farmers in a state of economic and social oppression.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was meant to improve conditions, but bigotry and violence persisted. Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian, was shot and killed in Hayneville that same year, and white landowners retaliated against tenant farmers who registered to vote. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Lowndes County leaders set up a "Tent City" to help dispossessed families remain in the county. Despite harassment, the residents persevered, and organizers helped them find new jobs, permanent housing, and new lives.