December 15, 2011
Sharecropping, whereby a non-landowner farms a piece of land for a landowner and receives a share of the harvest in return, became a major factor in Arkansas agriculture after the Civil War. The Great Depression of the 1930s saw a rapid increase in the system, reflecting a national trend. In the late 1800s, twenty-five percent of American farmers operated as tenants. By the late 1930s, forty percent farmed as tenants. Today, almost all Arkansas farmers rent some of the land they cultivate. Shown here is a typical Washington County sharecropping family in the mid-1930s.