Southern Tenant Farmers' Union records, 1934-1991.

Creator: Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union.
Collection number: 3472
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Abstract: The Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, organized at Poinsett County, Ark., in 1934, was especially active in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas. The Union spread into the southeastern states and to California, affiliating off and on

Image from Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, SHC #3472.
Image from Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, SHC #3472.

with larger national labor federations, and maintaining headquarters at Memphis, Tenn., or, from 1948 to 1960, at Washington, D.C. It has become successively the National Agricultural Workers Union and the Agricultural and Allied Workers Union. Correspondence files of H. L. Mitchell and others at union headquarters at Memphis, Tenn., Washington, D.C., and in Louisiana; executive committee minutes, legal papers, surveys, annual reports, special reports, membership records, applications for local charters, financial records, and contracts; data on conventions, strikes, litigation, and legislation; histories and articles; clippings; relevant mimeographed and printed matter; and miscellaneous forms, lists, and routine local organization papers. The papers concern union organizing, financing, relationships with various federal agencies, strikes, legal defense, and other activities, mainly among cotton field workers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, sugar cane workers in Louisiana, and migrant laborers in Florida and California, but also among agricultural workers in other states.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Formed to challenge many of the injustices remaining from the old plantation system, the Union papers include thousands of letters from members, including African-American sharecroppers.