Sharecropping: Children

Figure 1.--This photograph was taken by Walker Evans (1903-75). It shows the family of Bud Fields at home about 1935. s They were sharecroppers in Hale County, Alabama. Source: Library of Congress LC-USF342-008147-A.

Sharecropping was a family undertaking. Both the parents and the children worked on the farm. Sharecropping involved back-breaking labor and this included the children. Their work assignmentsd was affected by the age and gender of the children. The work included plowing (commonly with a mule), planting, weeding, and harvesting. Even when the children attended school, they woiuld stay home when there was work to be done, especially when it was harvest time. Share croppers did make much and thus there was little money available for the children. As they were on a farm, there was normally enough to eat. Money for clothes and other items was scarce. School portraits from the rural South during the late-19th and early 20th-century will often include cropers children. his was especially common after the southern states began passing compulsory school sattendance laws in the early 20th century. Many did not go very far in school. (The Southern states commonly had very weak compulsory school attendance laws.) The children commonly were barefoot. During the early-20th century many children in rural areas wore overalls. this was especially common with cropper children.


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Created: 7:44 AM 7/4/2009
Last updated: 7:44 AM 7/4/2009