When southern plantations were broken up after the Civil War, blacks and poor whites were controlled by landowners through sharecropping. The tenant farmer paid roughly a third of his crop to the landlord, a third for provisions, tools, and other necessities, and. he kept whatever was left. Unsuccessful efforts were made in the 1930s to organize tenant farmers by the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. More sustained attempts at farm worker organization are being made today.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor