“The vast majority of black Southerners worked as tenants (renters), sharecroppers, or wage hands. Even within the same place, however, different arrangements were possible.
“As early as 1867, a North Carolina planter reported that most of his workers labored for a share of the crop, ‘but I also have about 15 good men at wages.’ On some plantations, workers insisted on working for pay; on others they insisted on shares. ‘I am no hireling, Sir,’ a North Carolina laborer responded in 1874 to the request he work for wages rather than ‘halves.’ ”
— From “Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow” by Leon F. Litwack (2010)