In Lowndes County, a century after the Civil War, racial and economic disparities persisted. African Americans faced poverty and disenfranchisement, with no voting rights. The end of slavery gave rise to sharecropping, a system that kept African Americans in a state of dependency. Despite federal laws and the Freedmen's Bureau, white landowners used violence and manipulation to maintain control. Sharecroppers worked the land for a share of the crops, but had no say in decision-making. By the 1930s, over half of cotton farms in the South were operated by tenants. The mechanization of agriculture and African American migrations post-World War II led to changes, but oppressive caste systems persisted. The pursuit of freedom and the desire for representation led African Americans to fight for voting rights. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 brought some changes, but bigotry and retaliation persisted.
Dispossessed tenant farmers in Lowndes County found temporary refuge in a "Tent City" and eventually rebuilt their lives with the help of organizers.
(Lowndes Interpretive Center)
7002 US Highway 80 West
Hayneville, AL 36040