Join us for a panel discussion on the forgotten history of sharecropping in Mississippi featuring Michael Coleman of the Piney Woods Country Life School and guest panelists Hilliard Lackey and Cassie Sade Turnipseed of Jackson State University. This edition of the #ManyStories series will stream live from the Museum of Mississippi History Facebook page.
Sharecropping served as a new form of re-enslavement of African Americans in Mississippi following the post-Civil War period of Reconstruction. Also known as tenant farming, the system offered wealthy planters and politicians an incentive to maintain their supply of cheap Black labor. Planters provided tenants with land and shelter in exchange for a share of the harvest crop; however, many sharecroppers lived in poverty and received low wages while planters prospered from their labor. By the early twentieth century, sharecropping became the main form of agriculture in the state.
Hilliard Lackey serves as a professor in the executive Ph.D. program and coordinator of doctoral student development at Jackson State University and is the author of The Storm Splitter, a sharecropping memoir published by Rustik Hawls. Cassie Sade Turnipseed is a history professor at Jackson State University and was named Mississippi’s Diversity Educator of the Year in 2017. Michael Coleman is a member of the National Black Farmers Association and serves as an assistant farm manager at the historic Piney Woods Country Life School in Rankin County where he facilitates farming demonstrations and assists in the operations of the school’s agriculture program.