1. Funny about that “white privilege” thing!

    1. You are so right, Laurie.

  2. My mom grew up in Alabama in this manner. Her family consisted of 8 children and they were tennant farmers without even the modern conviences of the 30’s. She was always proud of their love of family and helping their neighbors. White privilege…not hardly. BTW, my mom got her GED at age 50 after raising five children on a farm. She instilled hard work and education in us. She always insited we got a good education as that was the only thing that could not be taken away from you and if you lost everything else, you could go on and recover.

    1. She was also 50 before learning to drive and getting her license.

    2. Gail Bryson Simmons And didn’t you drive her to take her tests?

    3. Yes. And taught her to drive shortly after getting my license.

    4. Your mom was quite a lady. Inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice to see unbiased reporting! Most people lived a hard life in this era. It was reality. We are soooo soft now.

  4. This was a typical home for anyone!

  5. Yep that’s all that white privilege luxury.

  6. So where is my reperations for my parents having to live this way? Fair is fair. Pay up like you did for others!!!

  7. I was born at home in a house similar to this house only a little larger. Kerosene lamps lit the room for the doctor to deliver me. I say doctor, he was an osteopath who did midwifery on the side. Doctor Frank.

  8. I’m proud to come from a line of people like these!

  9. Thank you for sharing this picture with us on Facebook is part of our history we all should know about the things like this and keeping it safe and not trying to relay the release the history people says it’s racist and it’s not racist it’s what’s in your heart that makes things racist and makes you hate people it’s not the statues it’s not the building’s it’s the way people feels in their heart and you can never change that but by prayer thank you very much have a blessed day

  10. Very familiar since tenant farming continued here in Alabama until well into the ’60’s.

    1. I remember, as a child in the 70’s, a row of tenant houses along the road close to our house. By then, those folks were “by the hour” employees, but they were terribly poor, and the old houses still had no indoor plumbing. They each had a spigot ran to the back porch.

  11. Absolutely, these places were around every where in the 1950s. That is the kind of “White privilege” many endured. Their lives were no more privileged than Blacks of that era. The made sure their children were at least educated enough that they could find jobs and they were taught a work ethic and love of country. I really get annoyed when people say all Whites were privileged. They had hard, hash lives, and they didn’t fall into the welfare trap. Many moved to Michigan to find jobs in the auto industry.

    1. If you want to enjoy a perfect song about this era of our history, go to youtube and pull up Tony Joe white’s Willie and Laura Mae. I think you’ll love it. And by the way, way back when, our bathroom caught on fire—and almost made its way to the house.

    2. My parents grew up like this. All kids were not privileged to be able to go to school. My mom and her siblings picked cotton by hand. They farmed for others . They worked hard and that was their privilege. My dad quit school his senior year to go to the war but came back four years later and went back to that same school in Fayette Al and graduated. Then went to college an GI bill. My mom had to quit school to work her older sister had cancer then died when she was late teen early 20. What they learned was work hard take care of what you have. My mom turned 91 this week. Everyday she still tries to work at something if it is just pulling some weeds.

    3. I know there were some who were unable to go to school, but that was before my generation in the area where I lived. That entire generation before me, and the ones before them, never depended on government handouts for a living. They worked hard and taught their children a good work ethic. I don’t consider getting ahead in life, a White Privilege, and it annoys me when people use that excuse. I know people of various races that have gotten ahead in life after starting from a very poor background. Life is often what we make it.

    4. Just BEING white put one on 2nd base at least. Being black was a terrible thing in the 100 years after the war. Hell the voting rights act wasn’t passed until the 60s, the fact that they had the legal right to vote in 1870 in no way shape or form made it possible for them to do so.

      While activists were repeatedly subjected to mistreatment and violence during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the worst incident occurred on March 7, 1965. Protesters were on a peaceful march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery when officers attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips. Some were badly beaten while others ran for their lives. The incident was caught on camera and aired on television.

      In the wake of this event, then-President Lyndon Johnson called for a comprehensive voting rights legislation. The bill passed in the Senate by a 77-19 vote on May 26, 1965. After a month of debates, the voting rights bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 333-85 on July 9. Johnson signed the act into law on Aug. 6 in the presence of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders.

    5. My parents were children of the Great Depression, too. Life was hard in the 1930s, no matter what your race. But it was a lot harder if you were black. My parents weren’t denied access to school. My dad was readily accepted into the Navy in 1941 and became a pilot in WWII. And they both could vote without being asked to pay a poll tax or pass a test. It would not have been so if they were black.

    6. Very true we lived in my deceased grandmothers house and you stuffed paper around cracks to keep out the cold.When it was built it was called a slab house she worked as a cook in restaurant to raise 6 girls after her husband died in flu epidemic 1918 while in Spanish American War guarding Gorgus Steam Plant in Al.Small town USA offered few opportunities when I was born 1942, dad joined the navy in WW 11 and didn’t really know him till he came home 1946 and I miss that.

    7. Yes, I am a product! Went to nursing school at community college after working for a year and saving my money!( 11-7 shift, nurses aide( rode the college bus) tough years

  12. My mother’s family were tenent farmers in Fayette County, AL. They moved around according to where the work was. She claimed and attended two class reunions since she attended multiple schools. Her father also worked at a job cleaning a train engine which was used hauling the coal from the area mines. My grandmother always carried seeds from one home to the next so she would be at home with her flowers wherever they happened to reside.

  13. My grandparents were tenent farmers in Clay County, Alabama and the people in this story were rich compared to how my family lived. My grandparents couldn’t even afford flour for biscuits they had cornbread for every meal and a lot of the time it was just cornbread and milk. I never heard them talk about having more than a cow for milk and field work from daylight til dark.

  14. They “swept the yard ” to keep it tidy and free of weeds .

    1. I remember my grandmother talking about sweeping her yard. She once recounted that a day after her three year-old daughter, Doris, died from diphtheria, she went out her front door and saw the little tracks from her tricycle still in the yard. Those were difficult days for everyone.

    2. I’ve heard my mother say that many times! She and Daddy were from Cleburne County.

    3. I well remember sweeping the yards of our tenant farm house many times while growing up. Born in 1932, times were extemely hard. Work. work, work and more work just to stay alive….

  15. Linda Belew Burns, weren’t Oldham grandparents tenant farmers at one point?

    1. They didn’t, Jeff. The poor dirt farmer was a destitute as the Black family. They were all treated the same by those who had money and power. It’s not just racism that is a problem, but elitism that has been around since man could count his loot, or before, I guess.

    2. You can’t seriously tell me black people had it just as bad as white people. I get what you’re saying. Sure, the life talked about in the tenant housing doesn’t sound fun, but it sure didn’t sound like they had to worry about getting lynched just for being a white southern person. It didn’t sound like they had to deal with the unfairness of the Jim Crow laws as much as the blacks of that time did. It didn’t sound like they lived in fear of being accused of crimes they didn’t commit nearly as much as black people. No one is saying zero white people were lynched. No one is saying zero white people suffered, but on average, it wasn’t nearly as bad for white people as black people.

      Black people in the US have always had a it rough. No one is saying ALL black people have a shitty life ALL the time. No one is saying ALL white people had it easy all the time, but the average life of a black person compared to the average life of a white person is totally different.

      “White privilege” does not imply white people had it easy their entire lives. This is what people are talking about when it comes to white privilege: http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/culture/news/a35759/this-woman-broke-down-how-white-privilege-works-in-one-post/

      White privilege is the very idea that you as a white person can go out and drive comfortably and the only thing you have to worry about is not breaking the law. A black person goes out for a drive and they have worry about way more than not breaking the law.

    3. Oh come on Jeff. You haven’t any idea how difficult life can be until you have lived as long as I.

    4. Also whites were mistreated by the clan. And my mother didn’t get to vote until 1926. It isn’t all about color.

    5. I’m not saying I have an idea. That’s exactly my point. I don’t have any idea. Also, I’m not saying it is all about color. I am simply pointing out that saying things like “blacks and whites had the same privileges” isn’t actually fair.
      You also can’t say things like that because you don’t know. You’re not black. You and I will never understand what it is like living in America as a black man or woman, so we have no right to say things like “we have it just as bad as you” because we can never really know how bad they have it.

    6. Well I think that throughout the ages people have had struggles and many were enslaved and still are. To paint the South with such a broad brush. Is also unfair.not everyone mistreated Blacks. Some did, but the majority did not. I think that the constitution gives me every right to speak out against the move to further divide the nation. My own parents did try to help Blacks in their lifetime, others have reached out to them as well.

      By the was as a young woman, I was stopped by the police without
      having broke any laws. I know others who have as well. You seem to be very angry at this country, and I am sorry for that. American takes the full rap for having slaves, while there were others who were complicit in capturing and bringing them to America to be sold. Human beings are not paragons of virtue. .

    7. I think to blame the White race.for everything is just wrong.

    8. That’s the problem. No one is blaming white people for everything wrong. People seem to constantly misunderstand what the actual point of “black lives matter” and “white privilege” actually means. People think it means “white people suck” but that’s not what it means at all.
      I don’t hate America. I am not at all pleased with the government, that’s all. However, that applies to pretty much every country I can think of. I don’t like any government (but I’m also not some anarchist either) because all I see is a bunch of old people who are looking out for their own best interests, not the best interest of the people they should be working for.

    9. Won’t argue with you abt the government. Through the ages, those in power have run roughshod over all the people under their control. But not all are old people. It is because the people in power regardless of age want to keep that power. I doubt that will ever change.

  16. Good little book, if you can find it: ‘My mama don’t want me talking about slavery.” Interviews by the FWP with actual folks who were slaves. Their answers will surprise and shock many of you as to what their thoughts were.

  17. That reminds me of my great grandparents home in Coosa,co.

  18. I’ve seen it personally. It finally came out when Johnson was President that Lady Bird Johnson owned many of these, some in Dallas County, Alabama.

  19. Yes… around Bonnertown, Tn.

  20. Yes this was my white privilege beginning.

  21. Typical in a lot of places. All over the country.

  22. They came out of this situation with a determination to do better not sit around and whine

  23. I grew up in a house like this

  24. I was born in a house similiar to this in Escambia County Alabama! My Daddy help my Granddaddy farm a two hundred acre farm. He worked from daylight to dark. No tractors, but a mule and plow! I remember in the summertime pulling the mattress on the front porch trying to sleep because it was so hot inside! A lot of people would say that was the good old days, but he would tell you the good old days is now! Nothing like a home that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer!!

  25. As a matter of fact, this house looks a lot like the one I was born and raised in. It did have two front doors and a window on three sides, the part sticking out the side was not on ours. Really not as bad as this one .

  26. For those of you talking about white privilege probably never had a relative spit on, egged, run off your land or out of town just because of the color of your skin. All of that happened to my family in Alabama. While a lot of people were poor during this time period white privilege protected some from this incredibly inhumane treatment.

  27. The “Work Projects Administration” (WPA) came to be known as “We piddle around”. My Grandmother and my parents who lived during the depression and struggled greatly as did many others thought this particular project was not worth the time to spell the initials of the program, WPA. They became the depression vegans because no one could afford meat nor the gun shells to hunt for meat to put on the table so they ate the vegetables they grew in their garden.

  28. I have many family stories about this time. But I will just tell one. My Father’s grandparents had many children–not sure how many now–but they were well off enough to own their land by inheritance. But there was no work–at least they had crops they worked very hard at and it fed the family. Then my Father’s father (my grandfather) was killed when he was only in his 30’s–leaving his wife and 4 dhildren. My Father’s grandparents did not like him for some reason–although he was a good husband and father and would often help them bring in their crops and received very little from that. When he died, my Father’s grandmother sent one plate of food to them and she gave it all to her children. Her own mother told her to send the children to an orphanage. My grandmother’s answer was: ” I never did have a child to give away.” They stayed together —living here and there–in the woods in shacks where you could see the ground through the floors ! 2 boys and 2 girls. The boys at age 8 and 10 took to the woods and hunted for meat and grandma had a small garden—that is how they survived. There was no help from her Mother and brothers. All of them went to school when they could–but never got out of gradeschool. My Father left them when he was 16, joined the Navy and fought in WW2. When he got back his brother was very sick and eventually died a very young man at age 22. . And because my Dad had seen the world and met many different people—he came back a lot stronger, helped his immediate family and didn’t take any more abuse from any one. He got his GED and improved his surroundings.

    I can only imagine how it was for black folks. But I see a similar situation here. The blacks didn’t get help from the whites even if they wanted to—everyone was very poor and had to look out for themselves. But when a family turns on the grand children to get rid of them because of their hate for the children’s father and because of their own struggle—there is no help there either.

  29. I remember a preacher telling me about being a child in the great depression and living on a tenant farm. He said that they had just moved in that morning. That evening, they started a fire in the fireplace. It was very cold outside that evening. They all woke up in the middle of the night with rattle snakes all over the floor. He said that there apparently was a den of them somewhere in the fireplace and they didn’t know it. They all managed to escape without getting bit.

  30. My parents were white sharecroppers in South Georgia in the 20-30’s.

  31. Enjoyed reading this article as I was very familiar with all the locations . My fathers’s family ( Arthur Dees ) lived in Franklin and my Dad ( Amos ) would often reminiscence about hunting on the river and meeting the riverboats at Claiborne to pickup bananas . My mother’s family ( John Morgan ) lived in Frisco City ( Pineapple Junction to some ) . Both my parents came from large families and their brothers and sisters made many contributions in both business and education in the Monroe County .

  32. This is the way most people in Alabama lived

  33. I was born in 1932. In Alabama, my Dad made $12.00 a week when I was born. He worked on a dairy farm, they gave him milk, Mom had chickens, they raised their meat, grew the vegetables. Yeah, we were privileged alright.

  34. I grew up in a house my daddy self made for sawmill slabs. No water, only fireplace for heat, not even a window fan. We had an outhouse and hand carried water from a spring that was more than 500 yards from our house. our road was a dirt trail nearly 3 miles from the nearest paved. Mom and dad both worked, two jobs each most of the time and we kids did field labor for 3 dollars a day, less sometimes, and were glad to get that. My daddy never accepted money, but would take food for us kids when it was offered.. We all loved where and how we lived.. Guess that was the white privilege..

  35. Loved the comments; now I know that I am not the only one who DID NOT enjoy this white privilege junk.

  36. We are fortunate that there was the WPA, that pictures and oral histories were preserved for us. This doesn’t sound awful to me, I knew people who were sharecroppers and tenant farmers when I grew up in the fifties. I knew children that didn’t have lights or indoor plumbing still. My Daddy worked for the TVA, so I did grow up privileged, but was raised with that awareness. I had to pick cotton every year, along with my siblings and my mama. The money was used for school shoes and underwear, Mama sewed our clothes. Daddy thought we should understand that we all had to work for what we had. The biggest sin of all was to waste anything.

  37. You guys don’t understand what people mean by white privilege. It doesn’t have to do with how poor you are or how hard your life is. It has to do with the fact that you don’t have to worry about being persecuted just because of the color of your skin. We do enjoy that privilege, then and now, whether we have money or not. It is true that a lot of rich people look down on poor people. That is a totally different thing.

    1. A different term would be more accepted, understood. Privileged has always meant the wealthy to most.

    2. I agree. The term doesn’t really work.

  38. This is such interesting reading! I’m reminded of a story that my dad used to tell me. He and my mother were teenagers during the depression. His mother made underwear for my Dad and his five brothers from flour sacks. Now, flour sacks were typically decorated witch feminine designs for dress making. But, my Dad and his brothers had this for underwear or none. They endured harassment and laughs, especially when changing in gym classes.

  39. My mother was born in 1921. She had 7 siblings. The older ones had to quit school in the third grade to help work in the fields to pay for farm. You would have never known cause she could read write with beautiful penmanship. It her 40s and50s she did Bible studies through the mail. She was always excited when she’d get her grades back. She had always made 100%. This makes me very proud of her not only for these qualities she had she also taught us right from wrong. Work and earn what you have. My daddy was reared with six siblings I’m not sure of their bringing up. But I’ll tell you this my daddy only had one kidney, and it was full of stones. Some days he wasn’t able to do much but he did earn us a living between the hospital stays. I’ll always be appreciative to Dr Aubrey Stabler. He helped daddy to live until he was 54. I miss both mother and daddy, so if you still have your parents or parent enjoy every second with them. Our house wasn’t much but daddy and uncle Hubert built it and we grew with love and kindness for each other. Thank you my parents.

  40. Looks perfect! Argo here come. Granny and her shotgun!

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    1. Who held the power? A black landowner?

    2. the privilege part comes in when the white families were able to move up into the middle class in a generation or two. There were lots of systemic things that kept black families from doing the same.

    3. Samantha Wolfe Earnest They didn’t just “move” into the middle class. They worked very hard to get there, and so did a lot of blacks.

  47. This looks like my grandparents house O no that’s my house

  48. I remember some of those still around in the 50’s.

  49. We should do this again now.

    1. Jinny Hawkins How so? Tell more.

    2. Dale Turnbough just like they did last time. Send students. Do internships. Person to person. No social media.

  50. kinda looks like the place my mother and daddy lived,,they were sharecroppers,

    1. I think it was Dave Cooper’s attempt at political satire

    2. Lee S. Lyle As a young lad in the early 1950’s, I spent time in housing such as this with relatives in rural Alabama. We were all mostly white.

    3. Lee S. Lyle he shouldn’t attempt that again…

    4. David Revere my dad and his family did to up in Athens area. He was one of 10 brothers and sisters.

    5. Cheryl Brown Many folks living today have no idea how much progress we have made in the last 60 years as far as material possessions are concerned. My father was the first in his family to own an automobile. Sadly, during those years we have lost our “moral compass” and the “glue” that kept us together in spirit.

  51. I can remember these houses. Sometimes you see them ( abandoned) in the rural areas.

  52. Kind of looks like where I was born and lived for 12 years. Most of my friends cannot believe most people in the south lived in houses like this.

  53. My mother’s parent’s, Joe and Bammer Jones, were shareholders in Henry County, Alabama. Somewhere I have a document detailing my grandfather’s account of how much he got from the landowner, Mr. Reuben Wright.

    1. Sharecroppers not shareholders.

  54. My mother and daddy raised all us kids in small houses like this. We seemed to move every November. I used to say daddy thought of how cold the house would be that winter ,but he always kept us warm.

  55. Yes. This looks like my grandparents and great-grandparents homes.

  56. That’s why I have such a primitive collection so my kids grand and greats won’t forget where we came from or the struggles

  57. This looks just like the house my grandparents had. Part of my “ white privilege”.

  58. I remember when the house was finally vacated for what ever reason , it was used to pile picked cotton on the porch during the week to be loaded on a wagon on Friday to get a before day light start to the cotton gin in Samson. Wagons rolled by our house on Main street all night it seemed. Such happy days !

  59. That’s a mansion compared to what I lived in as a child in Oklahoma 1958.

  60. Wow us whites have been so privileged

  61. Shit, I’d still live in one of them..

  62. My parents were sharecroppers in Jackson. Co.Ala. we lived in several different small log houses. There were seven of us often in a three room house. Wuth a fire place in the front rm. In winter time our buckets of drinking water would freeze in the winter. Mama would build a fire in kitchen wood stove and thaw the water up too make coffee and cook breakfast. I still say them were the good ole days.

  63. Whether you were a tenant farmer or owner of land this is how most 19th homes looked. We’ve come a long way in a short period of time.

  64. My grandfather lived in a house like this one in Al.

  65. This doesn’t touch on reality of the hardship this family faced.

  66. My mom was a sharecropper’s daughter during the Depression. Here is what her life was like: Hauling water at age 7 to family workers in the cotton fields. Hauling 100 pound cotton sacks at age 12 down endless rows of cotton. Pricking fingers on cotton bowls until they bled, so sore you couldn’t button your dirty homemade dress made from flour sacks. One pair of shoes each year, so you went barefoot in the summer. A man’s wornout suitcoat jacket lined with newspaper as a winter coat. Biscuits and sogram syrup for dinner when the sweet potatoes and turnips ran out. Meat was rare. Chickens were only slaughtered when the preacher came to visit on Sunday, or when papa was able to catch a mess of fish down at the river. Leaving home at 15 to earn your way in the world. Getting a clerical job at a military base during the war. Passing at age 92, with a million dollars in the bank, having 3 Phds, 5 MA’s, and 6 BA degrees in your family lineage.

    1. Alex R. Moore this is actually the way it was for my Momma. You should have written that article!!!

    2. I should have said it was the same except my Momma quit school and never finished. Paper and pencils were scarce, so she couldn’t bare the embarrassment, so she just gave up. She met Daddy, they left the fields and moved so far away to Michigan to make cars. Drove home every weekend (True!!!) because Momma was so homesick. After 3 years, moved their membership to the Baptist Church from Courtland Alabama because Momma said they were only “visiting” Michigan. Lived there 33 years raising 5 kids. Moved back to the South after Daddy got his retirement from GM.
      I’m proud of my parents who took lots of chances and walked by faith to bring forth 5 kids, 9 grandkids, and 7 great grandkids ❤️

  67. Sounds idealistic compared to how my mom grew up. Her father was a sharecropper. She hauled water to the people in the fields until she able to carry a toe sack and picked cotton with the rest of the family. When not in the field she churned butter and helped to prepare the meat after her father slaughtered hogs. She hated having to make chitterlings for people. Her mom would make dresses from feed and flower sacks. Mom left the farm at 18 and never looked back.

  68. That was life at one time. I wish historians and media would quit acting like all whites were living on plantations. Most lived this way.

  69. Looks almost identical to the house I was born in. Harris county, GA.

  70. I have read a couple of the WPA articles about Alabama done back then…outstanding historical perspective!

  71. Whoa!, White privilege showing!

  72. You could say the same for many families through the south and southwest about life during that period of time.

  73. My grandparents were sharecroppers. My mother could plow a field at the age 7 or 8. They were 11 children in her litter. Lol . Had to put it like that. 9 girls and 2 boys.

  74. I was born in a slightly larger but similar house. my white privilege I guess. It was my grandfather s house. M. My white privilege.

  75. Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying this

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