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Full text of "Interstate migration. Hearings before the Select Committee to Investigate the Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens, House of Representatives, Seventy-sixth Congress, third session, pursuant to H. Res. 63 and H. Res. 491, resolution to inquire into the interstate migration of destitute citizens, to study, survey and investigate the social and economic needs and the movement of indigent persons across state lines"

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Given By 











H. Res. 63 and H. Res. 491 







AUGUST 14, 15, AND 16, 1940 

Printed for the use of the Select Committee to Investigate the 
Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens 









H. Res. 63 and H. Res. 491 







AUGUST 14, 15, AND 16, 1940 

Printed for the use of the Select Committee to Investigate the 
Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens 

26(«70 WASHINGTON : 1940 


MAR 4 1941 


JOHN H. TOLAN, California, Chairman 

JOHN J. SPARKMAN, Alabama FRANK C. OSMERS, Je., New Jersey 

Dr. Robert K. Lamb, Chief Investigator 
Elmer A. ReesEj Secretary 

Richard S. Blaisdell, Editor 
Harold D. Cdllen, Associate Editor 

George Wolf, Chief Field Investigator 


Montgomery Hearings, August 14, 15, and 16, 1940 


Beecher, John, supervisor, Florida migratory labor camps, Farm Security 

Administration. Address: Bell Building, Montgomery, Ala 518 

Bitting, Clarence R., president. United States Sugar Corporation. Address: 

Clewiston, Fla 502 

Bryan, John E., State administrator, National Youth Administration. 

Address: Birmingham, Ala 65& 

Cambron, James Earl, migrant fruit and farm worker. Address: 1413 

Princeton Avenue, West End, Birmingham, Ala 673 

Campbell, Prof. T. M., field agent, United Stated Department of Agri- 
culture, Farm Extension Service, Department of Agriculture. Address: 
Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala 437 

Chapman, Dr. H. H., director, Bureau of Business Research, University 

of Alabama. Address: University, Ala 739 

Collins, Frank, migrant witness from Farm Security Administration 
migratory camp. Belle Glade, Fla., vice president of the camp council. 
Address : Chosen, Fla 497 

Davis, P. O., director, extension service, Alabama. Address: Alabama 

Polytechnic Institute, Auburn, Ala 424 

Dulaney, John A., mayorof Pahokee, Fla. Address: Pahokee, Fla 583 

Duncan, Dr. L. N., president, Alabama Polj^technic Institute, Auburn, 
Ala., representative for Hon. Frank M. Dixon, Governor of Alabama. 
Address: Auburn, Ala 399 

Dunn, Miss Loula, Commissioner of Public Welfare, State of Alabama. 

Address : Montgomery, Ala 639 

Dunn, Read, secretary-manager of Delta Council, Stoneville, Miss. 

Address: Stoneville, Miss 601 

Falk, Myron, executive secretary, Louisiana Council on Migratory Labor 
and Transients and Technical Assistant Bureau of Public Assistance 
and Child Welfare. Address: Baton Rouge, La 677 

Farmer, Timothy, Negro migrant, now chairman of camp council. Ad- 
dress: Farm Security Administration Negro migratory labor camp. 
Belle Glade, Fla ' 574 

Fluker, L. S., member, State Agricultural Adjustment Administration 

Committee for Alabama. Address: Livingston, Ala 727 

Friedberg, Samuel, college graduate, migrant. Address: 1516 Fifth 

Avenue, North, Birmingham, Ala 447 

Gelders, Joseph S., acting executive secretary. Southern Conference for 

Human Welfare. Address: Trussville, Ala 798 

Grav, Howard, president, Alabama Farm Bureau Federation. Address: 

New Market, Ala 401 

Griffin, David A., migrant, former farmer. Address: Fairoaks, Ark 778 

Hamilton, Mrs. Janie Harrell, migrant cotton mill worker. Address: 

Selma, Ala 474 

Hand, James, Jr., president of Delta Council, Stoneville, Miss. (Intro- 
ducing statement of Oscar Johnson, president of National Cotton 
Council of America.) Address: Stoneville, Miss 610 

Harris, Gerald, vice president, Alabama Farmers Union. Address: Green 

Pond, Ala 735 

Hoffsommer, Dr. Harold, professor of rural sociology, Louisiana State 

University. Address: University, La 451 

Houston, John Gurney, migrant, former sawmill worker, farmer, and farm 

laborer. Address: Route 1, Kinston, Ala 737 

Little, Reuben Walter, Intrastate migrant, former farmer. Address: 

Selma, Ala 793 



McNamara, Homer C, superintendent, Delta Experiment Station, Stone- 

ville, Miss. Address: Stoneville, Miss 615 

Mitchell, H. L., secretary. Southern Tenant Farmers Union. Address: 

Memphis, Tenn 623 

Morgan, E. S., regional director, regi n V, Farm Security Administration. 

Address: Bell Building, Montgomery, Ala 698 

Morgan, Sam, area conservationist, Soil Conservation Service. Address: 

Montgomery, Ala 731 

Norment, E. M., district manager, Tennessee State Employment Service. 

Address: Memphis, Tenn 783,789 

O'Connell, E. T., editor, Alabama News-Digest, Birmingham, Ala. Ad- 
dress: 217 Seventeenth Street, North, Birmingham, Ala 804 

Patterson, Dr. F. D., president, Tuskegee Institute. Address: Tuskegee 

Institute, Ala 634 

Pierce, Athev, migrant, Negro witness. Address: Prattville, Ala 441 

Smith, A. Frederick, chief, department of research and statistics, Florida 

Industrial Commission. Address: Tallahassee, Fla 482 

Smith, O. P., migrant, former packing house worker and salesman, now a 

client of Farm Security Administration. Address: Enterprise, Coffee 

County, Ala 693 

Snell, Ben, migrant, former cotton-mill worker. Address: 107 Kansas 

Street, Montgomery, Ala 630 

Valien, Preston, department of social sciences, Fisk University. Address: 

Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn 757 

Vance, Dr. Rupert B., professor of sociology. University of North Carolina. 

Address: Chapel Hill. N. C 406 

Weems, Dr. William H., county physician for Palm Beach County, Fla. 

Address: West Palm Beach, Fla 589 





Causes and Effects of Migration in the 

Problems of Interstate Migration 

P. 0. Davis -_ 


Harold Hoffsommer 

A. Frederick Smith 

Clarence R. Bitting 

John Beecher 

WiUiam H. Weems. M.D. 

Read Dunn, Jr 


Florida's Problems - _ - - 


Sugar-Raising in the Florida Everglades 

Interstate Migrants in the Southeast 


The Health Problem in Palm Beach County, 

Program to Relieve a Situation Created by 

Excess Farm Population. 
Statement for the Delta Council, by Howard 


Read Dunn, Jr 


Statement for the National Cotton Council 

James Hand, Jr 


of America, by Oscar Johnson. 
Trend in Labor Requirements in Delta 

Facts from the Southern Tenant Farmer 

Homer C. McNamara 

H. L. Mitchell 


The Mechanical Cotton Picker, by John 

Rust, Inventor. 
Interstate Migration as it Relates to the 

Youth of the Southeastern Region. 
Migration Essential in our Industrial and 

Agricultural System. 
Migration of the Aged 

H. L. Mitchell 


John E. Bryan 

Mvron Falk 


Myron Falk 


Work of the Farm Security Administration 

Relating to Interstate Migration. 
Flexible Farm Lease Form _ _ 

E. S. Morgan 


E. S. Morgan _ 


Reason for Migration 

Ways and Means Used by the Agricultural 
Adjustment Administration in Attacking 
the Problem of Migration, by G. T. Scott. 

Problem of Farm Migrations, by A. W. Jones. 

Soil Conservation As a Deterrent to Mi- 

L. S. Fluker . 


L. S. Fluker 


L. S. Fluker 


Sam Morgan 


gration, by 0. C. Medlock. 
Statement from the Alabama Farmers 

Gerald Harris 


Migration in Alabama As Studied by the 

University Bureau of Business Research. 

The Negro in the Migration Problem 

Survey Made by Southern Tenant Farmers 

H. H. Chapman 

Preston Valien 


David A. Griffin 



Farm Placement Work in Memphis Area 

History and Development of Labor in the 

South — the Basic Causes of Migration. 

E. M. Norment 

E. T. O'Connell 




House or Representatives, 
Select Coiumittee to Investigate the 
Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens, 

Montgomery^ Ala. 

The committee met at 10 a. m. in the courtroom of the United 
States circuit court of appeals, Federal Building, Montgomery, Ala., 
Hon. John H. Tolan (chairman) presiding. 

Prpsent: Representatives John H. Tolan (chairman), Claude V. 
Parsons. John J. Sparkman, Carl T. Curtis, and Frank C. Osmers, Jr, 

Also present : Robert K. Lamb, chief investigator ; George Wolf, 
chief field investigator; Harold D. Cullen, field investigator; Creek- 
more Fath, field investigator; and Irene Hageman, field secretary. 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 

Mr. Reporter, you will note the presence of Congi-essman Parsons, 
of Illinois ; Congressman Curtis, of Nebraska ; Congi-essman Spark- 
man, of Alabama. Congressman Osmers, the remaining member 
of the committee, stayed in Washington to attend some official 
business and he will be here later this morning or this afternoon. 


The Chairman. Dr. Duncan, will you step forward, please ? 

Dr. Duncan. Thank vou, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. I understand that you are here as a representative 
of the Governor of the State of Alabama, and it affords us great 
pleasure to hear anything that you have to say at this time. 

Dr. Duncan, ^tv. Tolan and members of the committee: First, 
we are meeting here this morning in accordance with House Reso- 
lutions G3 and 491 adopted by the Congress of the United States. 
Gov. Frank M. Dixon was to have been with you, but unfortunately 
he was called out of the State in connection with an important and 
pressing matter, and he has asked me to make this statement, which 
is also an expression of welcome, cordial welcome, on the part of 
the State of Alabama to these distinguished members and others 
who have come to consider these matters of very great miportance. 



On behalf of the Governor and the people of Alabama, I am ex- 
tending a warm, cordial welcome to these gentlemen and urging our 
people everywhere to furnish any and all information which they 
may possess, bearing upon this matter, to the members of this com- 

Under these resolutions, it is our understanding that six public 
hearings are being held at New York City, Lincoln, Nebr., Chicago, 
111., Oklahoma City, Okla., San Francisco, Calif., and Montgomery, 

Tlie purpose of these hearings is to inquire into the interstate 
migration of citizens, especially as I understand it, destitute citizens ; 
to study, survey, investigate the social and economic needs, and the 
movement of indigent persons across State lines. 

The members of the committee are the following distinguished 
Members of Congress: Hon. John H. Tolan, of California, who is 
with us as chairman ; Hon. Claude V. Parsons, of Illinois ; Hon. John 
J. Sparkman, of Alabama ; Hon. Carl T. Curtis, of Nebraska ; and 
Hon. Frank C. Osmers, Jr., of New Jersey, and Dr. Eobert K. Lamb 
as chief investigator, Mr. George Wolf is serving with the com- 
mittee as chief field investigator, and Mr. Harold D. CuUen is actively 

These gentlemen are making a broad, comprehensive study of every 
phase of this problem of migration, with a view of ascertaining the 
clear, definite, and unbiased facts. They are not seeking information 
that will be partisan or helpful to one area and harmful to another 
area. They are concerned only with the entire story and with all phases 
of this migratory movement on the part of people who are restless and 
moving from one area to another. They not only wish to know about 
the movement but also the real cause or causes back of the movement — 
why people are leaving one area and moving into another, and 
what are the reasons that cause them to want to pull up from where 
they are and go to another place, and what are the circumstances and 
conditions in the area to which they go ; all the facts relating to those 
problems, as well as the effect on the area from which they move and 
the area to which they are moving. 

When the facts are discovered, they will be properly analyzed and 
set forth in public documents for the use of our citizens for informa- 
tion, and such remedial legislation, I presume, will be enacted as the 
facts and circumstances may warrant. 

It is certainly a pleasure to be here and make this very brief and 
very general introductory statement. Experts will come before you 
from time to time during the hearing, Mr. Chainnan, who will 
present facts and circumstances surrounding the movement of these 
people, and we want you to know how genuinely, in Alabama and in 
this area, we are interested in this problem. It is a serious one and 
one of great importance to our country, and we hope that we will 
not merely gather a lot of information and have it filed away in some 
documents but that it will be followed by some remedial action. 

The Ch^virman. We are grateful to you personally, as well as to 
the Governor, for your formal presentation here, and we wish you 


to extend to the Governor our every ^ood wish, and our thanks for 
having you here as his representati^'e today to start off this hearing. 

Dr. DuxcAN. I thank you. 

(Dr. Duncan was thereupon excused.) 


The Chairman. Mr. Gray, will you step forward, please, and state 
vour name and official position for the record. 

' Mr. Gray. My name is Howard Gray. I am president of the 
Alabama Farm Bureau Federation; address, New Market, Ala. 

Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee; it is a pleasure to 
have this oppoi-tunitv of appearing before your committee as th<? 
representative of some 26,000 farm families, members of the Alabama 
Farm Bureau Federation. Our membership is scattered over the 
entire State and is composed of farm people of all income and 
social levels. On behalf of this group of farmers 1 wish to thank 
you gentlemen for coming to Alabama to talk with our southern peo- 
ple about our migratory farm labor problems. 


The Alabama Farm Bureau, as an organization and its members 
individually, are vitallv interested in the problem of migration of 
farm labor, because we realize fully that the cause of the problems of 
migration gets awfully close to the real heart of our entire farm 
problem. For a number of years our organization has devoted its 
resources to the effort to point a way to a solution of the very problem 
which you gentlemen are now studying. 

The farm people of Alabama have always prided themselves in 
taking care of their own tenants on their farms. Taking the State 
as a whole, this condition is still true. This spirit of assuming com- 
mon responsibility is largely the reason why we in the South are 
today supporting twice as many farm families as we did 75 years 
ago on an even slightly smaller acreage of arable land. Our people 
have been facing this situation with hope and courage, but for many 
of them it has meant only a bare existence. 


Undoubtedly people move because the opportunities elsewhere seem 
tu be more attractive. If we are to deal successfully with the prob- 
lem of migrating farmers, we must arrest that movement in its incep- 
tion by making the farms more attractive and by raising the standard 
of living for the farm people. There can be little stability of tenure, 
which is the opposite of migration, unless the incomes on farms are 
adequate to support the farm and its people with a standard of living 
comparable to that which could be obtained in other lines or in other 
places by these people. The problem, therefore, largely centers in 

Permit me to point out that in 1939 the average cash farm income 
from marketings of both crops and livestock was only $310. In 



addition to this, Government benefit payments amounted to, roughly, 
$100 per farm. With an average of more than five people per family, 
it is not difficult to understand why $310 from farm marketings is 
wholly inadequate to furnish a standard of living sufficient to retain 
farmers on their farms. 

Our major problem in Alabama, so far as concerns maintaining 
the farm population on the land, is caused by the low prices received 
for the products of the land. With our major crop, cotton, bringing 
only approximately 56 percent of parity, and those products which 
we must purchase bringing 123 percent of parity, you can readily see 
why wei as farm people have a most difficult problem in trying to 
secure a decent living. 

Even with the addition of benefit payments which Congress has 
most wisely made available during the past 7 years, the farmer's 
income from his cotton is only now 71 percent of parity. 

I wish to emphasize that the price per pound for cotton is not the 
most important factor, but rather that its exchange value when trans- 
lated into other commodities, which the farmer must purchase, is the 
dominant factor in determining the number of people the farm land 
in Alabama will support adequately. 

Farming offers many advantages which do not appear in income 
figures, and it is true now, just as it has been in the past, that the 
future of Americans rests in the land. Our farm people, through 
the splendid leadership of our Extension Service and land-grant col- 
leges, are producing and preserving a large portion of the food neces- 
sary for a balanced diet. You cannot starve a farmer on his land, 
but the American standard of living demands a little more than a full 
stomach. These additional things require money, and we are brought 
face to face with our income problem. 

The making available of credit will always furnish an individual 
with temporary relief. Sound credit at the lowest possible interest 
rate commensurate with the cost of money is most essential in helping 
solve our farm problem. However, the making available of mone}'^ 
through loans on an unsound basis only aggravates the problem and 
makes it even gi-eater when we finally have to face conditions as they 
actually exist. Any loan made to an individual farmer, when he 
realizes that he does not have any hope or chance of repayment, tends 
to destroy that farmer's individual responsibility, and we feel that 
the accepting of individual responsibility among our citizens is truly 
the backlog of democracy. In considering ability to make repay- 
ment, we are again brought face to face with the problem of farm 

With all these facts before our farm people as the}' get together in 
their community centers and discuss their farm problems, they have 
become convinced that one of three roads must be taken by them, 
hand in hand with their Federal Government. 


First, that we must have higher prices per unit on whatever prod- 
uct the farmers raise ; or, if we can't have that, secondly, they want 
as low piices per unit for those things which the farmer must buy,. 


because it is a matter of exchange; or the third — since there is ap- 
parently a limit to the amonnt of our agiicultural products that the 
world will take, even at our present relatively low prices, the income 
from the sale of these products will have to be divided among fewer 
people. Of course, this latter means fewer people on the farm, which, 
in turn, means more migration problems and increased relief loads. 

We are interested, and I know you are interested, in seeing a p)er- 
manent security for our farmers. The security which we are striving 
for, and which will be necessaiy if we are to solve the problem of 
migration, is economic security. I submit to you that there can be 
no security if the income of our farm families is not sufficient to pro- 
vide medical care, healthful homes, and those other things which yield 
a sense of security. It is our opinion that it has always been, and 
always will be, useless to try to force a person to stay on the farm 
wheii the income for the farm family is inadequate. 

The Alabama Farm Bureau, in its efforts to secure parity for the 
farmers, is at the same tinie trying to solve the problem of migration. 
When we have done away with the tremendous disi:)arity between 
price received and price paid it is our belief that the farmers will 
be able to improve their farms and homes, or perhaps undertake to 
purchase a farm, and in that way become more securely tied to the 

In conclusion, may I point out again that the cause for migration 
is the disadvantage to which farmers have been subjected in the 
market place. When we achieve parity and do away with most of 
this discrimination, farm life will be as attractive as any other alter- 
native, and it is my belief that migration, because of this fact, will 
be reduced to a minimum. 

Tliank you, Chairman Tolan. 

Mr. Sparkman. First, I would like to express on behalf of the 
committee our gratitude to ]\Ir. Gray for making this very fine and 
clear statement for us, and I am sure that all of the committee has 
followed it with a great deal of interest. 

I take pleasure in mentioning the fact that Mr. Gray is a con- 
stituent of mine, as he lives in my own home county, or you might 
put it that I am a constituent of his, as I am a member of the same 
organization of which he is president, as I have a farm in that 
locality, and I am always interested in those things which work for 
the well being of these people. 

The Chairman. I presume that you were particularly interested 
in it this year. 

]\Ir. Gray. I might state that the Congressman from our district 
didn't have any opposition this year. 

Mr. Sparkman. I might say that I am always interested in it. 
As I understand it, the import of your statement is — and I do want 
to compliment you on the clearness of it — that so long as our farmers 
are subject to lowered economic conditions there is bound to be a 
certain amount of farm migration. 

Mr. Gray. As long as we have any desire whatsoever in the hearts 
of our people to improve their conditions, so long as farm conditions 
do not offer them an opportunity equal with other groups, they will 
migrate to other areas and to other work. 


Mx. Sparkman. You are speakino; now only of the farm group? 

Mr. Gray. Yes, sir ; of migration from the farm. 

Mr. Sparkman. And your recommendation, I gather from your 
statement, insofar as the' farm group is concerned, is that such steps 
as may be taken should be taken to alleviate their economic condi- 
tion on the farm. 

Mr. Gray. To give economic opportunity for the farmers on the 

Mr. Sparkman. That is all that I have. Thank you very much. 

The Chairman. I think that you agree with me when I say that 
there are certain sections in the United States, particularly in the 
Dust Bowl area of the Southwest, where soil erosion and other things 
of that nature make it impossible to really farm some of that land. 

Mr. Gray. Well, that is true; yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, I might 
say that even in Alabama, in the black belt of the State of Alabama, 
N^hich comprises some 13 counties, Ave have a condition existing that 
is somewhat different from the pure matter of economics as affecting 
the other sections of the country generally, since the boll weevil came 
into this section. At one time, tliis was the outstanding cotton pro- 
ducing section of Alabama, but, with the advent of the boll weevil, 
we were compelled to change from row crops to other crops, such as 
beef cattle, and that meant that some people have been forced off 
of the farm. That is other than the general condition about which 
we have been speaking. 

Congressman Curtis has the problem in a marked degree in his 
home State of Nebraska, and on a broad scale, I would say that 
economics is the urgent problem. 

Mr. Curtis. I want to say this, Mr. Gray: Without any reserva- 
tion I think that you have presented one of the finest statements that 
the committee has had so far. 

Mr. Gray. Thank you, Congressman Curtis. 

DISCUSSION OF comparatiat: parity 

Mr. Curtis. AVe are all interested in kind and humane treatment 
to the individual who is forced to go from State to State, with none 
claiming him as its own. But beyond that, it is hoped that this com- 
mittee can bring back some light to the Congress of the United States 
on the basic causes that drive people from their homes, and if we 
can do nothing more we can show that it is a national unified prob- 
lem. I daresay that any one of those farmers in the drought areas 
and in the Dust Bowl could use, without waste, at least $500 worth 
of your cotton products — they need it — the farms up there are desti- 
tute of all of the articles made of cotton, but they are faced with the 
same things that you are talking about here. We do not know the 
answer for 9-cents-per-dozen eggs, which is about the only crop they 
have this year. And we also feel that water conservation and irriga- 
tion in that territory will mean that they will be able to buy more 
cotton from Alabama. And I feel, too, that you have your finger on 
a very important angle of this investigation. 

Mr. Parsons. I think that you have made three very significant state- 
ments. One is that even with your Government parity payments, your 


cotton crop is only 71 percent of parity as compared with yonr pur- 
chasing parity of 123 percent for the articles that the farmer must 
purchase, and so long as such a difference remains in any given terri- 
tory or State, yon are, of course, going to have people migi-ating to 
seek better opportunities elsewhere, if they have some hope of 
bettering themselves. 

Now, do you have any suggestions to make as to how we could level 
off. parity for the products that you produce with parity for the 
l)roducts which you buy ? 

Mr. Gray. Well, the first recommendation of our farm people has 
been that, since Congress has endorsed the principle of parity, saying 
that we should bring agricultural products to full parity when the 
money was provided, to insist that Congress provide, through appro- 
jDriations, the money to bring our crops to full parity. That is one way 
to do it, and the second way would be lowering the cost of the things 
that we have to buy. Of course, the latter wouldn't be very good 
political material for some of you to go back home to your constituents 
with, to say that we wanted to lower the cost of the articles that the 
farm people must buy, but somewhere in there we have got to get those 
two jfigures closer together or else we can never get prosperity, with 
the wide differential that has been mentioned. 

Mr. Parsons. Now, you have another very serious problem which is 
facing the entire country. For instance, your chief crop in the South, 
cotton, is a great export crop. 

Mr. Gray. It has been : yes, sir — that is what developed it. 

Mr. Parsons. And there has always been a foreign market for your 
cotton in addition to our domestic consumption, but a large part of 
that foreign market is broken down toda}^ and that has some effect 
upon the price of cotton, of course. 

]Mr. Gray. Yes, sir. 

Mv. Parsons. How much has mechanization on your farms in the 
South, particularly in the cotton and tobacco areas, taken the place 
of farm labor? 

Mr. Gray. In the State of Alabama particularly, very, very little. 
There is very little mechanized farming other than in Congressman 
Sparkman's district, and a few isolated sections in the State of Ala- 
bama. The topography of a lot of our land in the State of Alabama 
doesn't lend itself to mechanized farming, but in the Tennessee Valley 
area, and some other flat areas, we have had a movement to tractors 
and other modern farm equipment. Apparently, we will have to do 
more and more of that, as we will have to produce our units more 
cheaply, and as we produce more of it with machinery, it means that 
more people will be thrown out of work on the farm. 

Mr. Parsons. I saw a statement about a year ago, I believe it was, 
where a study had been made of the migration of farm labor and 
mechanization of the farms since 1929 to 1939, wherein it was stated 
that such mechanization had replaced 41 percent of the farm labor of 
the Nation. Have you studied that problem? Have you any figures 
on that matter? 

Mr. Gray. I wouldn't be prepared to make a statement as to the au- 
thenticity of those figures which you have quoted. I don't think that 


would be true in the State of Alabama. Over the Nation as a whole 
it might be so. 

Mr. Parsons. How many Farm Bureau members do you have in the 
State of Alabama ? 

Mr. Gray. As I have previously stated, we have 26.000 farm families 
members of our Bureau, and we figure it at the rate of 5 members per 
family, which would be 130,000 individuals. 

Mr. Parsons. Do most of the members own their farms ? 

Mr. Gray. Some of them own their farms and some of them do not. 
In some sections of the State a large ])ortion of our membership is 
made up of tenant farmers and in other sections they are largely 

Mr. Parsons. Tliat's all, thank you very much. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Gray. 

Mr. Gray. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

(Mr. Gray was thereupon excused.) 


The Chairman. Dr. Vance, will you please come around? Mr. 
Reporter, this is Dr. Rui)ert B. Vance, professor of sociology, Insti- 
tute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina, 
Chapel Hill, N. C. 

Dr. Vance, I want to say on behalf of the committee that we feel 
honored to have you here this morning. We have had time since 
arriving here to study your background, and we feel that you are 
ideally equipped to speak on this very im])ortant problem, and I 
wish that you would proceed to present it in any way that you see 
fit. Doctor. 

Dr. Vance. I want to discuss the probable trend of migration from 
the Southeast — that is tlie past migration and the future migration 
that we may expect. [Reading:] 

The South's contribution to future migration in this country is 
likely to be very large indeed. It is not difficult to show that the need 
is great and that the southern people are accustomed to moving in 
search of opportunity. In many respects our statistics on internal 
migration are the poorest we have, but all the figures available show 
the tendency of the southern peojDle to move. Previous migrations, 
Negro and white, the rural-urban drift, the high birth rate on southern 
farms, the southern youth who will mature into working pojjulation, 
the precarious agricultural situation in the eastern Cotton Belt and 
the southern A])palachian INIountains can all be cited in su]i])ort of this 
statement. Indeed, it may be said that the only alternative to areatly 
increased migration from the South is a more ra])id industrial develop- 
ment than is at ])resent conceivable. Even during the de])ression much 
more migration would have taken place in spite of lack of o])portunity 
had it not been retarded by comi:)aratively lower living standards and 
lower educational status of the southern conmion man. To these con- 
siderations must be added the effect of local and rural relief in keep- 
ing people located in their accustomed places. 



In order to secure some idea of probable migration trends let us look 
at the record. 


First, we shall look at population movements up to 1930. 

The people of the Southeast have taken part in 3 great migra- 
tions, 1 agricultural and 2 industrial. The first was the great 
movement to the free lands of the West— now a fit nuitter for the 
closed book of history— at least, I suppose all land capable of being 
homesteaded is taken up. The second was the great mterregional 
movement to industrial areas of the Northeast and Midwest m which 
the Negroes took part, and the third was the movement to the indus- 
trial to'wns and cities rising in the new South. We can get some idea 
of the importance of this interregional movement by using the State- 
of-birth data of the census. For 1920, "Southern Regions" ^ computed 
a net loss of 2.378,000 people by migration outside the Southeast. By 
1930 this fio-ure had grown to" 3,412,000. Of the native-born popula- 
tion of the United States in 1930, 28.700,000 were born m the South- 
east of whom 24.100,000 were born in rural districts and 4,600,000 m 
cities Since only about 17,500,000 lived in the areas of their birth 
in 1930, it is evident that over 6,(500,000 have moved elsewhere. Of 
these 3 700,000 have left the section entirely, while 2,900,000 have 
moved to southern cities. On the other hand, 400,000 came into the 
South from elsewhere, leaving a net loss to the Southeast of about 
3 400,000. These figares show how the rural South has continued its 
own growth, added to the growth of southern cities, and exported 
almost, three and a half millions to the rest of the Nation. 

Take the Negro— by 1930, 21.3 percent of the Negroes born in the 
South were livmg outside, making a net loss of over 1,840,000 popu- 
lation. ^Yhile the Negro exodus was more dramatic, it has been ex- 
ceeded in numbers bv the movements of the white population. By 
decades the net loss hy migration of whites has grown from a mere 
trickle of 21,200 in the 1870's to over a million in the 1920's. Over 6 
decades this net loss has grown from 0.4 to 7.5 percent of the 
native white population living in the Southeast at the beginning ot 
each decade. 

T\BLE 1—Net loss ly niigration of native white populatmi in the southeast by 
decades from 1870 to 1930 

[In 1,000's] 

Decennial period 

1910-20 .. 


at beginning 

of decennial 


5, 889. 9 
9, 184. 2 
10, 504. 7 
12. 528. 8 
14, 522. 3 

Actual popu- 
lation at end 
of period 

7, 601. 5 
9, 184. 2 
10, 504. 7 
12, .528. 8 
14, 522. 3 
16, 958. 3 


Number (m 

-459. 1 
-579. 8 
-800. 2 



Source: Harold L. Oeiscrt. The Balance of Interstate Migration in the Southeast Unpublished D^^^^^ 
tation, University of North Carolina, 1939, p. 125. Based on age-group data from the census '«ith special 
adjustment for tlie population under 10 years of age. 

1 Southern Resions of the United States, by Howard W. Odum, University of North 
Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N. C. (1936). 



Now let us glance at rural-urban migrations. In order to arrive at 
figures on the year-by-year migration from southern farms to cities, 
we must make use of the Department of Agriculture's annual esti- 
mates for the census South, an area that includes Texas, Oklahoma, 
and certain border States. This is a bigger area than the Southeast 
alone, because it includes Texas and Oklahoma and some of the 
border States like Maryland and Delaware that are actually not 
southern in their characteristics. 

Charts 1 and 2 — see pages 408 and 409 — contrasting the Nation and 
the South indicate the greater number of births on southern farms and 

Chart 1 


1920 1922 1924 1926 1928 1930 1932 1934 1936 1938 1940 

the great amount of urban migration necessary to hold the South's 
farm population at a stable level in a period of declining agriculture. 
From 1920 to 1939 annual births in southern farm areas have fallen 
from 500,000 to below 450,000, about a half-million decrease on thft 
southern farms. For the rest of the Nation, farm births have never 
gone above 320,000. In the farm South, deaths have not climbed over 



200 000, giving the farm population an annual natural increase that 
gradually fell from around 350,000 to 200,000. For the rest of the 
Nation, natural farm increase has fallen from over 190,000 to about 

100,000. ^ , 1 ^ , 

These figures, it seems to me, indicate the forces back ot heavy 
rural-urban migration in the South. They show what serious effects 
the reversal or stoppage of the rural-urban flow would have in an 
area where farms are already too small and too much given over to 
erosion and tenancy. These figures are not interregional, for they 

Chart 2 


1920 1922 1924 1926 1928 1930 1932 1934 1936 1938 1940 

represent migration to towns and cities within the region as well as 
outside. They are valuable in indicating how impossible it will be 
to stop the rural-urban drift in the South as long as our high birth 
rate continues. There is not sufficient demand for farm products nor 
sufficient land— good, poor, and indifferent— to provide for the farm 
surplus if migration were cut off. And certainly all our figures cast 
doubt on the ability of southern cities to absorb all the population 
increase on southern farms. 

2G0370- -40 — pt. 2 2 



Next, I would like to discuss the youth who are growing up to the 
employable ages. 

On the basis of present trends in births and deaths it can be shown 
that without migration, the farm population in the Southeast would 
o-row from 12,766.000 in 1930 to 19,960,000 by 1960, an increase of 
over 7 200.000 people. With miirration continued as m the period 
1920 to 1930 the farms of the Southeast would find their population 
declining from 12.750,000 to 11,500.000. In other words, they would 
lose alniost a million people. In order to avoid assumptions about 
wiiat will happen to the birth rate. T. J. AYoofter has calculated the 
additions that will be made to our labor force, those aged 18 to 65, 
by 1950. This potential working population 18 to 65 is now mcreas- 
ino- at the rate of over a million a year. Seven-tenths of these new 
workers come from rural families. Allowing for deaths and for 
those reaching the retirement age of 65. the United States will 
have, by 1950, 5.600,000 more urban, 7.300,000 more rural-farm, and 
4100.000 more rural nonfarm people of working age than in 1930. 

' For the Southeast, in 1930, the annual increase in the farm popu- 
lation of the productive ages was 90.662, an increase of over 3 per- 
cent, as compared to only 0.75 percent for the far West. When you 
rank the States in this respect, you find 12 of the South and 2 of the 
Great Plains have annual replacement rates in the productive ages 
of 2 67 percent or more. Three Northeastern States have rates of 
zero or below. Of the Nation's additional 7.330,000 rural farm popu- 
lations 18 to 65, it is found that over 3,200,000 will come from the 

T\BLE 2— Male replacement rates in the niral-farw popidation 18 to 6 J years 

old. United States, 1930 


South Carolina 
North Carolina 







North Dakota- 

West Virginia . 




South Dakota - 








New Mexico- _ 









2 IK' 

















New Jersey 






New York 

Rhode Island 

New Hampshire 




Replacement rate: (l) Under 1, (2) 1-1.99, (3) 2-2.99. (4) 3 and oyer , ^. , . 

NOTE.-Male replacement rate is the percentage annual increase m the male population of a given age 

^"^Source- Woofter, T. J., The Future Working Population, Rural Sociology September 1939. Woofter. 
T. LrReplacement Rates in the Productive Ages, Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, October 1937. 



Southeast unless migration draws them away to other areas or cities. 
These people, it must be realized, are already born and the only thing 
likely to keep them from maturing into productive population, w^ork- 
ing or seekino; work, is an increase in the death rate. 

In the Nation, total population 18 to 65 will grow from 73,000,000 
to almost 91.000,000. If 1930 conditions of employment should pre- 
vail, approximately only 2.9 percent of that group will be unem- 
ployed. But, if conditions in the depression as uncovered by the 
Special Unemployment Census of 1937 prevail, 12.2 percent will be 
unemployed and looking for work. 

The difference amounts to 8,500,000 more unemployed if these con- 
ditions continue. By now we know that one effect of loss of jobs is to 
force other members of the familv to look for work, thus increasing 
the unemployed. If 1930 conditions prevail in 1950, 35,600,000 of 
those 18 to 65 will not seek gainful employment. Should the condi- 
tions of 1937 prevail only 31,300,000 will be out of the labor market. 
Thus 4.300.000 more will be seeking work. That is, the loss of jobs 
adds greatly to unemployment by forcing other members of the 
family to seek work. We have figured out from the information that 
we have that the loss of 100 jobs from 1930 to 1937 meant 181 unem- 
ployed, and when we subtract the number of people growing into the 
working ages, we found that it meant 176 unemployed.^ If we can 
accept those figures it means that upon the loss of 100 jobs, 176 are 
unemployed. Of course, we receive the benefits coming the other 
Avay, because if you put that 100 back to work, of that first number, 
76 will go back to their other duties such as housewives and students 
who will go back to school, and that will relieve the unemployment 
figures to that extent. 

The bearing of these trends on future migi'ation should be evi- 
dent when we examine the reasons given for migration. Investiga- 

T\BLE 3 — Reasons for leaving settled residence given by migrants, United States, 


Domestic distress 

Personal distress 

Region of former settled 

All families 





tic and 

Not in 

United States 

4, 195 


















Middle States 




Northwest -- -- 


Far West --- 


TVoTE.— Percentages in italics are those higher for a given region than for all other regions. The Middle 
States follow very closely the United States pattern and do not rank first for any factor of emigration. 
Factor headed "Inadequate earnings" is mostly low wages, part-time work, but includes also insufficient 
relief, pressing debts, eviction from homes, etc. "Domestic and other trouble" includes divorce, family 
quarrels, dislike of community, and other personal maladjustments. The group "not in distress" did not 
suffer from any economic hardship or any pressing personal distress. 

Source: Migrant Families, Work Progress Administration, Division of Social Research, 1938. Appendix, 
table 2. 


tions show that, for all regions, unemployment is the major reason 
migrants give for leaving their homes. Interestingly enough the 
people from the Southeast ranked highest among those giving in- 
adequate income as the reason for migration. Some that had jobs 
went elsewhere because they were not making enough. The North- 
east leads in farm failure, while 24 percent of those from California 
and the far West left home only because of domestic trouble. Even 
climate, I take it, is no cure for an unhappy home. 


What influence is the economic future likely to exert on migration ? 
We know that the Southeast has two great problem areas in the old 
Cotton Belt and in its Appalachian Mountains. They are likely, as a 
result of the war, to be joined by a third problem zone — the Tobacco 
Belt. The South can grow cotton and lots of it, for a price and a 
market. This market is vanishing before our eyes and the price is 
supported only bv governmental operations. In 1988 we grew 
18,250,000 bales, s^old 5,666,666 abroad, consumed 5,750,000, and 
had a carry-over of 11,500,000 bales. In 1939 by heroic efforts we 
reduced production to 11,666,666 bales, sold only 3,333,333 abroad, 
used 6,800,000 at home and carried over 13,000,000 bales. What if 
we reduced production to the annual take of 9,000,000 bales, or. worse, 
to the domestic consumption of less than 7,000,000 bales? In 1934 we 
reduced cotton production to 9,666,666 bales for 1934-35, and in spite of 
Government checks it nearly killed the southern farmer. 

Those who would estimate the possible future migration out of 
the Cotton Belt will have to tell us what policies the Government 
can adopt toward the cotton surplus, what other paying crops the 
South can grow, what other methods of using the land we can employ 
besides cotton tenancy and sharecropping. The war and its probable 
outcome has made this question loom much larger and darker in out- 
look than the old familiar problem of recovering foreign markets. 
I, for one, feel that we are faced with the long-time problem of 
reconstructing an outmoded cotton economy. Unless we make some 
progress toward agricultural reconstruction, the pressure toward mi- 
gration will be great indeed. The Government's problem of support- 
ing the market by loans finds us with an increased carry-over of 
13,000,000 bales in 1939 as compared to only 9,666,666 bales in the 
depths of the crisis. Drastic reduction of cotton production will, no 
doubt, force new displacements of population but the Government's 
program of carrying the crop on loans can hardly be justified without 
further reduction in the size of the crop. 

Let us take the question of mechanization. Studies of changing 
techniques in agricultural production by the W. P. A. National Re- 
search Project show that the man-hours of work required per bale of 
cotton declined from 271 in 1907-11 to 218 in 1933-36. Much of this 
decline in labor required no doubt was brought about by the shift 
in production from the old belt to the newer western areas but man- 
hours per bale declined in the same period from 299 to 253 in the 
eastern belt, from 266 to 226 in the middle eastern, and from 305 to 
250 in the Delta areas. The declines in labor requirements from 1936 


to 1938 seem to have been negligible. No attempt has been made to 
apply these trends to production for the domestic market only, but 
the immense displacement that would take place is obvious. 

In view of what we know about the trends toward mechanization, 
smaller crops, etc., it is interesting to note that the figures on agri- 
cultural employment up to 1936 do not show any great displacement 
of labor. There are slight decreases in family labor and hired labor 
in the eastern Cotton Belt from an index of around 100 in 1928 to 
95 in 1936. The number employed has declined from 1,456,000 to 
1,383,000 while those in the employable ages were undergoing large 
increases. The difficulty, so far, seems to exist in the lack of expan- 
sion of economic activity to keep pace with population increase. Nor 
is it likely that these figures do full justice to the falling off in casual 
labor necessary to pick, gin, and transport the smaller crops. 

Occasional notices of a shortage of agricultural labor still come 
out of the Cotton Belt and are often seen in our newspapers here in 
the fall of the year. This is due to one of the main difficulties of 
southern agricultural labor — its extreme seasonality. The swing in 
employment from January to August in 1936 was from 1,000,000 to 
1,770,000, or an increase of 77 percent in the labor clemand at the 
peak. This condition makes for instability and low incomes. There 
has been some displacement, however. A recheck by the W. P. A. in 
1936 of identical plantations studied by T. J. Woofter in his Land- 
lord and Tenant on the Cotton Plantation in 1934 showed an increase 
in tractors from 1.8 to 2.3 per 1,000 crop acres, and a decrease in 
resident families per 1,000 crop acres of 37 to 34 in this 2-year 
period. Here an increase of 28 percent in mechanized power units 
gave a decrease of only 8 percent in families kept as tenants. These 
major changes are still to come and wait, no doubt, upon further 
readjustments in our cotton policies and programs, and upon fur- 
ther development of mechanization. 

What about the Southern Highlands ? The problem of the southern 
Appalachians results from the pressure of the Nations' fastest growing 
population upon diminishing resources of timber lands, coal mining, 
and limited farm lands. There are areas where, at present, birth and 
death rates will double their population every 30 years, without migra- 
tion. Migration is greatly needed, for there is no additional land 
supply that will not quickly erode if put to the plow. The average 
life, it is said, of one of these mountainside corn farms is likely to be 
anywhere from 3 to 6 years. Regrowing timber is a long-time job not 
likely to offer early returns for the present generation except in Gov- 
ernment employment for conservation. Only the bituminous coal 
mines of Kentucky can produce more than they are now producing. 
Here is a problem of markets which war activity, defense and heavier 
production of steel and munitions may somewhat increase. 

I may say in conclusion that what the South needs is to adjust a 
decreasing rate of population growth to an increasing utilization of its 
regional resources with a chance for migration of a portion of its grow- 
ing population. 

No area more desperately needs the products of an industrial 
civilization than the South, and hardly any population has cheaper 



products to offer in exchange than our surphis cotton and low- 
priced raw materials. Industrialization of the South will help, but it 
\\ ill take the South a lon(»;, long time to develop to the point of utilizing 
even a fraction of its potential labor supply. Accordingly, I look to 
migration as a needed safety valve for the South and I, for one, regret 
that many of its workers are not educated and trained in the industrial 
disciplines well enough to give workingmen in other areas some real 

Migration is not only a constitutional right of every American citi- 
zen ; it is an economic necessity in the American economic system. This 
country is an economic unit with a predominantly national market. 
Industries, investments, goods, and labor respond to this economic and 
legal fact by crossing State lines at will. Such movements are neces- 
sary to develop, maintain, and stabilize the national economy. The 
economic order is a continually adjusting and readjusting equilibrium 
which presupposes a flow of industries to resources, a flow of goods 
to markets, and a flow of workers to developing industries. 

The causes of migration are, therefore, so fundamental and perva- 
sive as to leave little expectation that the population may be immo- 

As new areas develop and old ones decline, workers must migrate in 
order to develop the neAv resources and to relieve the older communi- 
ties of surplus workers. Tlie "push" of stranded communities 
resulting from shifting work opportunities are accentuated by the 
pull of new developments in industry. After employment has shifted 
from one area or one type of industry to another, migration gives rise 
to fewer problems than would the continuance of stranded communities 
as the result of insufficient migration. 

Table 4. 

-Eastern cotton agricultural employment 1909-36 "^ — Annual average 
of number of persons employed on first of each month 

Total employment 

Family workers 

Hired workers 



number of 






number of 






number of 






1, 456, 000 
1, 408, 000 
1, 436, 000 
1, 405, 000 
1. 375, 000 
1, 383, 000 


1, 136, 000 
1, 100. 000 


308, 000 
287, 000 
283, 000 
275. 000 
275, 000 
291, 000 
292. 000 
















1936. ... . 


• Basic data used in the preparation of these estimates were furnished by the Bureau of Agricultural 

Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Works Progress Administration Study of Agricultural Em- 

Our population increase is slowing down, but migration retains its 
importance. Without great migratory movements we cannot equalize 
our unequal flow of population increase, redress our regional inequali- 
ties, balance the demand for labor between changing employment ca- 


pacities, nor "use our human and material resources to the best advan- 
tao-e." We must remember that by hirge migration the frontier was 
settled; by foreign immigration the American labor supply was re- 
cruited'; and it is mainly by spontaneous internal migrations that the 
future needs of population redistribution in the United States must be 

served. ^ , i t.^t 

Vagrancy laws to the contrary, the fact that a man has little or no 
money in his pocket is no valid reason for depriving him of his right 
to mi'orate across State lines. The right to move may seem a poor 
substitute for real security, but it must not be forgotten that for many 
of our citizens it has proved the road to increased well-being. 
[Reading of prepared statement ends.] 


The Chairman. Doctor, I want to say to you that I consider that a 
remarkable paper. You must have put in good hard work and study 
to produce anything like that, and speaking for myself alone, although 
I think the whole committee will agree with me, 1 feel that paper ot 
yours will rank very high when the committee's report is handed to 

Dr. Vance. You are very kind, sir. , 

The Chairman. I just want to ask you a very few questions, and 
I shall be very brief about it. I take it, in the first place, from your 
paper, that you consider the southeastern States as the country s 
greatest future migration problem? 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir; the Southeast can be classed as the seedbed 
of the country's population. In 1930 we had 93 cities of 100,000 
population, and only 12 of those were replacing themselves m the 
trend of births and deaths, but the rural Southeast is replacing itself 
by about 150 percent. 

'The Chairman. Would you say this movement is necessary to 
maintain the present numbers in certain other parts of the country 
where the population is not reproducing itself? 

Dr. Vance. It will be in the years after 1970-80. 

The Chairman. What is the estimated ratio today between urban 
and rural population in the Southeast, and how does this compare 
with other parts of the country. How do the occupations of south- 
ern urban populations differ from those of other regions? 

Dr. Vance. The Southeast has had a very large growth in its cities 
from 1920 to 1930, but actually the cities are still very much a minor- 
ity group in the Southeast, about 30 percent of the population in 
1930. The whole region is predominantly rural and has a pre- 
dominantly farm population. 

The Chairman. Do you know whether, under pressure of surplus 
population since 1930, 'the competition for places as cotton tenants 
has increased? 

Dr. Vance. Yes; I think that is true. That has been offset by the 
development of that relief which has enabled some, in the early days 
at least, to move to towns where they could get work, and thus took 
away some pressure of competition for tenants' places. 


The Chairman. What, in your estimation, are the measures best 
suited to a rehabilitation of the rural economy of the Southeast if 
the cotton economy continues to decline? Have you any parallel 
suggestions for the Appalachians? 

Dr. Vance. I would say that the greatest need of the South is also 
the greatest need of the Nation, and that is the expansion in indus- 
trial employment sufficient to satisfy the needs of our population for 
adequate shelter, clothing, and food; and that of course would in- 
crease the consumption of food products, mainly the protective foods, 
milk, lean meat, and vegetables. 

If you ask me how that is to be brought about, I would have to, 
I suppose, add one more suggestion to the various crackpot schemes 
that have been suggested. I think that we will never get reem- 
ployment until we adopt some system such as setting a quota on 
what people would buy if they were reemployed, and then ask cer- 
tain of the industries to produce those things on the assumption 
that, if they start to produce them the people would be proportion- 
ately reemployed and start to use those commodities on that basis. 
But, if the people did not buy them in those quantities, then the 
Government would take them off the hands of the industries and 
put them aside on the next year's quota or dispose of them as surplus 
commodities to the poor. That plan has been suggested in the book 
called "Jobs for All" by Dr. Mordecai Ezekiel, although it has not 
received the attention it deserves. 

The Chairman, Maybe your reference to it will give it a little 

Dr. Vance. A lot of things, however, can be said against it as 
well as for it. It is the opposite of the N. R. A. It seeks to expand 
production, rather than to maintain prices. 

The Chairman. What suggestions have you for educating and 
training the whites of the South in the industrial discipline which 
would enable them to give the workingmen in other areas some 
real competition ? 

Dr. Vance. May 1 tie that up with the war and the prices too? 

The Chairman. You may tie it to anything that you want to. 


Dr. Vance. The trouble with our rural population, the thing 
that makes them of not much use, except for staying on the moun- 
tain farm or in the tenant area, is the fact that they are trained only 
in agriculture. They are not skilled or semiskilled. If we are 
going actually to prepare to defend ourselves — I have seen some 
estimates that every pilot in the air is going to take about 12 or 15 
men on the ground to keep him and his plane going — and all of 
those people will have to be skilled in mechanical trades — tractors, 
planes, trucks, transportation. Anything that would take rural boys 
oif the farm and give them a chance to get acquainted with indus- 
trial work wall keep them from going from the farm and landing, 
we will say, in California as unskilled "Okies." This would tend 
to keep them from piling up at the bottom of the pyramid without 
a chance to get up to the relatively semiskilled positions. 


My attention was first attracted to that sort of thing when I 
ran across one of the original early C. C. C. camps where, instead 
of putting the boys to work filling up gullies and the like, they 
actually taught them to repair the trucks from all of the surround- 
ing C. C. C. camps. In that particular camp to which I refer, 
they took raw country boys off the farm and in 6 months of that 
kind of training they had made fairly skilled mechanics out of those 
farm boys and every one of them got a job in that line of work. 
There was no question of their going back to the farm and trying 
to become tenants for somebody else. 

Tlie Chairman. I have one observation that I should like to make 
and then possibly some of the other members of the committee would 
like to ask you some questions. I think in your paper the most 
powerful statement that you made, and what the country should 
realize now, is this : 

Migration is not only a constitutional right of every American citizen ; it is 
an economic necessity in the American economic system. This country is an 
economic unit with a predominantly national market. Industries, investments, 
goods, and labor re.spond to this economic and legal fact by crossing btate 
lines at will. 

That is one of my hobbies. In other words, we have 4,000,000 
migrants annually going from State to State, and after they aijive 
the*i-e they have no status of any kind or character. One-third of 
these are children; we have the health problem; the educational 
problem always enters into it. Now, in 150 years, and I think that you 
will agree with me on this, we have spent billions of dollars through 
the courts and through the Congress to protect the free flow of steel, 
iron and coal, and commodities— that is, we watch that dollar 
jealously, but in the 150 years we didn't expend a dime where humans 
enter into that commerce, and that is just what this committee is 
trying to do— to recommend something to Congress along that line. 
I want to say to you that your paper is going to give us a great 
deal of information and assistance, and I thank you personally for 

it. Doctor. 1 1 J. 

Mr. Curtis. I was interested in several things that you had to say 
in your statement. There is a. group in this country who contend 
that the reason we are slow in making our economy click is because 
we are too slow to recognize the fact that we are moving from an 
industrial age into a chemical age. Is that one of the reasons, do 

you think? , , ^ i 

Dr. Vance. You are talking, I suppose, about the farm chemurgic 
movement ; is that what you refer to ? 

Mv. CuKTis. Yes ; that is one thing 1 have m mmd. 
Dr. Vance. Yes; I think there are additional opportunities along 
that line and for some employment there, and I think that the South 
can take advantage of them. However, I don't go the whole way 
with the farm chemurgic movement — for instance, I doubt the sug- 
gestion that wood alcohol will take the place of gasoline. Of course, 
I think that for paints and varnishes that tung oils will take their 
place there. The South has taken advantage to some extent of this 
new chemical development, but I don't see it as an answer to the 



M^liole need for industrial expansion or as being able to absorb the 
whole increasing surplus of our farm population. i • ^. 

Mr Curtis It is like the scheme that you referred to as being the 
reverse of the N. R. A. In other words, you must still be able to 
face storms and droughts and rainy seasons and things like that that 
sometimes upset a good theory ; is that correct ? 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. That's all; thank you. • , i .i. wi. 

Mr Parsons. You made the statement that you wished that the 
farm iwpulation in the South had better opportunity for education, 
or rather for being more skilled in industrial arts, m order to give 
keener competition to people in other sections of the country where 
they migrated or where they might migrate. Now, ot course^ that 
mi<Tht be a good idea for the population of the Southeast, but it 
tha^t happened, wouldn't that tend to dislocate the employment situ- 
ations in the other sections of the country, and, on the whole, the 
economic problems of the Nation? Wouldn't it have somewhat that 

effect ^ 

Dr Vance It is my understanding that while we never have any 
difficultv in our P. ^V. A. operations in getting pick and shovel men, 
we nearly always find a shortage at the top; that is, m the skilled 
trades Now that is what I meant when I made that statement. We 
will find that we are short in the skilled labor at the top, I am sure. 

Mr. Parsons. Mechanization, of course, has taken the place ot many, 
many hundreds of laborers; isn't that a fact? , i . 

Dr Vance Yes, sir; which, of course, gives us, if we take advantage 
of it, more production per working person, but by throwing the 
people out of work, it gives us less purchasmg power. . 

Mr P vrsons Now, we will take an example : We had mechaniza- 
tion, particulariv beginning with the World War period, for instance, 
in the textile industry; one machine would do the work of what 10 or 
20 women used to do. As an example, now, take the Ford factory; 
they are turning out machines now with 25 to 33% percent less labor 
than they used to use. It is true that they have brought the price 
down to some extent to make possible larger purchasing throughout 
the country, but at the same time, they are using far less skilled men. 
Now, can we continue to mechanize and cheapen the units m such 
fashion that we may consume such a quantity so as to put these other 
ijeople to work? , 

Dr Vance In my opinion, there are three things that we must do 
in order to accomplish this. First, we must reduce the number ot 
unemployed to a minimum, and secondly, each person must consume 
more of the products in order to keep the industry so mechanized 
running, and thirdly, we must reduce the price of all products through 
efficiency in production; in fact, that must be developed m advance. 
Now that sounds like perpetual motion to some people, but i think 
the continuing of pump priming payments that really don t prime 
the pump and the continual piling up of relief payments that don t 
solve anything will not get us out of economic stagnation. 

Mr PERSONS If we had all the world markets for our products and 
had these products properly distributed, then we c(nild continue pro- 


duction, whether it be in industry or on the farm, for whatever the 
commodity might be and probably mamtam a steady price, .but 
world conditions are disturbed and there is seldom a o-year period 
but what those conditions are disturbed somewhere. I take it that 
you do not share the idea of crop production control and farm parity 

payments. -r i • i .1 ^ v m 

br Vance. I see its necessity, yes; but I think that we should 
have, by now, reconciled ourselves to it and begun to make a dehnite 
shift from that type of economy to the production of things that the 
people need more. Now, many of these people are undernourished 
and imderclothed, too. I doii't see any hope m continuing the 
piling up of this carry-over in the ])roduction of cotton. 1 think that 
we wTll have to reduce it drastically. 

j\Ir PxR'-oxs What specific suggestion would you make m addition 
to or in place of what we have been following for the last 10 years, 

say ? 

''live-at-home" farming needed 

Dr V\xce I would want to see the incorporation of a much more 
live-at-home type of farming for every tenant, for every plantation 
owner I would want to see a cash crop introduced, even among sub- 
sistence farmers. That is a problem in the Appalachians, and 1 
would want to see tliat continued until we had gotten the cotton pro- 
duction down to-maybe we could afford to stabilize it at around 
9 000,000 bales now. There would be no difficulty of expanding it, 
if necessary, because the South will remain geared for cotton produc- 
tion for a long time. It really hurts it to reduce the cotton produc- 
tion in the South. ,-,1^1 • ,.^^„ 

Mr. Paesons. In other words, you would reduce the crop m oidei 
to o-overn the price by the regulation of the supply ? • • .i, 

Dr Y^xCE. It seems to me that the carry-over program is m the 
position of not running fast enough— it is not even standing still, in 
fact, it is getting nowhere. 

The Chairman. It is backing up 5 

Of'cou?se!'that'is a negotiable asset in the long-time view and it 
is better than paving those people that much relief I suppose thao 
we can blame it on Fhe Supi-eme Court and say if the triple A deci^ 
sion had not been rendered, that we would have gotten control ot 
the carry-over proposition. 


Mr. Spark^ian. I was interested in your description of the South- 
east as the seedbed of the Nation. 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir. . 1 i.- ^ 

Mr Sparkman. I noticed some comments m the newspaper relative 

to enlistments in the Armv recently, and it showed the high percent- 

ao-e of enlistments in this section of the country, and the article ended 

u5 with the conclusion that the Army was going to have a decided 


trend to the southern accent, and I take it that is true of the Nation 
as a whole. 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir; that is true even up to the commanding 
officers in the service. 

Mr. Sparkman. I o;ather that your argument is this: That inevi- 
tably, they must move out of this section for the reasons you have 
stated ? 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir; I can't see how we can industrialize fast 
enough in order to take care of the increasing population. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you feel that that is necessary, first, because 
we can't take care of these people here, and, secondly, that they must 
move out of this area to make up for some of those places that are 
not reproducing themselves; is that correct? 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And since they must move to other sections of the 
country, you feel that we should be concerned with the problem of 
preparing them as well as possible so they might be able to compete 
with the people in the areas to which they migrate ? 

Dr. Vance. Yes, sir. Instead of these people migrating as un- 
skilled "Okies," as they are designated in Steinbeck's book, I feel 
that these people should migrate with some skill and training. We 
know that the graduates from our colleges who migrate to northern 
cities and northern areas go there and take their positions alongside 
of anybody else in that area. It is particularly the unskilled people 
from the farm who form the problem of the destitute migrants which 
we are considering here today. 

Mr. Sparkman. That is all. 

Mr. Vance. I have four single-page documents, one being a map 
in colors, which I would like to offer as exhibits at this time. 

The Chairman. They may be received. 

(Single-sheet graph entitled "Change in Farm Population, United 
States Without Census South, 1920-^0," was received in evidence and 
appears on p. 408.) 

(Single-sheet graph entitled "Change in Farm Population, Census 
South, 1920-40," was received in evidence and appears on p. 409.) 

(Single-sheet map in colors, entitled "Male Replacement Rates in 
the Rural Farm Population 18 to 64 Years Old, United States, 1930," 
was received in evidence and appears on the next page.) 





(SiiK^le-sheet graph entitled "Population 18 to 64 Years of Age 
by Employment Groups, United States Actual 1930 Census Data 
aiid Estimates for 1940 and 1950 Under Two Assumptions," was re- 
ceived in evidence and appears below.) 

The Chairman. We thank you very much. Dr. Vance. The com- 
mittee is greatly indebted to you. 

(Dr. Vance was thereupon excused.) , , 

The Chairman. We will take a 5-minute recess at this time. 
(Short recess.) 



The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 
I see Judge Leon McCord is here. j -, . 

Mr Sparkman. I would like to have it appear m the record that 
Judge Leon McCord of the United States Circuit C^ourt of Appeals 
is here in the hearing room and that it is through his kindness and 
o-enerosity that we have the use of this courtroom for this hearing. 
"^ Judge McC ord. We are pleased, gentlemen, to have you in our city, 
and we have turned over this courtroom to you for your use. I 
see that you have a number of notables here. I am sure that Dr. Dunn 
will look after you, your comfort, and anything that you may need 
while in our city. I can only extend to you the hospitality of the 
courtroom, and I wish to further say to make yourselves at home, as 
one judge would say to another, and enjoy with us this hot weather 
that we are having. . . 

The Chairman. We are faithfully keeping your admonition of 
no smoking in the hearing room, Judge jVIcCord. 

Judge McCord. You know that the Federal employees now are 
serving under the Hatch law, but I will add this to my statement, 
that I'have noticed from the extent of your hearings that it reminds 
me of an occasion in New Orleans where a certain man who was a 
bricklayer was informed that he had inherited $300,000. The 
minute that this bricklayer heard that it was all in the Hibernia Bank, 
he took off his robes as a bricklayer and put on other clothes, and 
went down to the Hibernia Bank and withdrew $10,000 in cash and 
immediately went to the ticket office at the railway station and 
said to the ticket agent, ''Give me a ticket." And the agent asked him 
wdiere he wanted a ticket to and he replied, "Just give me a ticket 
anywhere because I have got business everywhere." And I see that 
the business of this committee is so far-flung that you have business 
everywhere. That reminded me of that story. 

If you gentlemen please, I bid you welcome to our courtroom and 
any service that we may be able to extend you we will be glad to do 
so. You must realize that Federal employees now are under the 
Hatch Act, and their activities are limited. 

Mr. 8parkman. I am going to take this opportunity to call the 
Judge's attention to the fact that the judicial branch of the Gov- 
ernment is not subject to the provisions of the Hatch law. It is not 
often that we have an opportunity to correct a statement of one of 
our judges. It is a pleasure to have Judge McCord with us here 

(Discussion outside the record.) 

Judge McCord. We are glad to have you gentlemen in our city. 

The Chairman. Thank you. Judge McCord. 

Mr. Davis, will you come around, please, sir? 

Mr. Sparkman. If I may have a word, Mr. Cliainnan, before Mr. 
Davis takes the witness stand, I would like to call attention to the 
fact and have it noted in the record that Mr. W. G. Henderson, 
State administrator of the Works Progress Administration, is here 
today. He is going to have to leave the city right away, but I want 
him to stand and I would like to have his appearance here noted in 
the record. 


The Chairman. Thank you, sir. I now wish to call attention to 
the fact that Congressman Osmers, of New Jersey, is now sitting 
with the committee and we have a full membership here and we are 
certainly glad to have him with us at this time. 

Mr. Sparkman. There are a number of other persons here that I 
would like to show present in the record. I don't see them listed 
as witnesses. One is Dr. Loula Dunn, director of the State depart- 
ment of public w^elfare. And Dr. J. N. Baker was here — I believe 
he is gone now. Dr. Baker is our State health officer. 

A Voice. He received a call and was compelled to leave the hear- 

Mr. Sparkman. And I see Mr. Haygood Patterson, commissioner 
of agriculture of the State of Alabama, is present, as well as Mr. 
L. L. Patterson, a former Member of Congress of the State of Ala- 
bama, but now under the Hatch Act working for the Department of 
Agriculture, and there may be others that I do not see just at the 


The Chairman. Mr. P. O. Davis, director of the Agricultural Exten- 
sion Service, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, of Auburn, Ala., is the 
next witness. Will you please come around, Mr. Davis? You will 
be questioned by Mr. Curtis. 

Mr. Curtis. Your name is P. O. Davis, and you are extension direc- 
tor. Agricultural Extension Service, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, 
address Auburn, Ala., is that correct? 

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. I notice that you have prepared and have available 
copies of a statement that you wish to present, copies thereof being 
available for each member of the Committee, is that corect? 

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, if you like, you may submit that to our reporter 
and it will be incorporated in the record here, and then we may have 
some questions to direct to you. 

Mr. Davis. I would much rather do that than read it all right now, 
because it is somewhat lengthy and goes into detail. 

Mr. Curtis. The statement will be placed in the record at this point. 

Statement of P. O. Davis, Director of Agricultural Extension Service 

History reveals impressively that migration is caused by a desire of the 
migrant to find better opportunities. He may, therefore, be trying to get 
avpay from undesirable conditions, or he may be moving from conditions that 
are desirable to conditions that are more desirable. 

Farmers, for example, move from a farm of fair value to one that is better 
as they see it. In the main, however, people who have been reasonably secure 
in their income and in tlieir tenure of location have not been inclined to move. 
They have enjoyed stability. 

Good examples of the causes of migration are found in Alabama history. As 
early as 1815 there was a shifting of population from the Atlantic seaboard 


States of Virginia, Nortli Carolina, Sontli Carolina, and Georgia into what was 
then called the Southwest, inelnding what is now Alabama, Mississippi, and 
Louisiana. These early migrants were searching for better opportunities for 
producing cotton, the price of which from 1815 to 1819 varies from 25 to SO 
cents a pound. 

Since the bottom lands along streams of water and then the black lands of 
central Alabama and the red lands of the Tennessee Valley were much more 
desirable than the rolling Piedmont lands of Georgia and the Carolinas for 
producing cotton with either slave or free labor, the seaboard farmers had a 
strong desire to move into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Furthermore, 
bad management of land and erosion had already rendered almost worthless 
many thousands of acres in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Where this 
had occurred farmers were getting away from undesirable soil and seeking new 
and fertile soil. 


The invention of the cotton gin in 1790, which was the Nation's first epoch- 
making invention, had enlarged opportunities for the production of cotton, for 
which Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana possessed good land, favorable 
climate, and adequate rainfall. 

During those antebellum days there was a certain amount of intrastate mi- 
gration — from the river bottoms to the Black Belt and also to the hills. Much of 
the Alabama Black Belt was settled lietween 1S30 and 1810. By IS'SO there was 
fi substantial antebelliun exodus of planters to new lands across the Mississippi 
River. One cotton crop after another on the same land soon decreased produc- 
tion per acre wherever it was practiced and. therefore. Alabama farmers, who 
themselves had moved from the seaboard, or had come with their parents, moved 
on to Arkansas, Texas. Missouri, and a few as far away as Arizona in search 
of new lands, or for better opportunities than they had at home. 

Most of the antebellum intrastate migration from 1820 to 1860 was by small 
farmers who were either nonslave holders or owned one or two slaves. They 
moved from place to place, trying to better their conditions. In most cases 
they were forced by richer landlords from the good lands to the poor lands. 
These larger landowners were in a stronger position financially and were usually 
able to buy lands from the smaller farmers when they wanted to do so. These 
early migrants, incidentally, became the nucleus of our modern agricultural 

The Civil War was the dividing line between the first and the second period 
of Alabama migration. The repercussions of this war and the reconstruction 
that followed it are important factors in the human migration problem now 
confronting every element of society in the United States. Unfortunately, we 
are not yet able to see the end of it. 


Before the Civil War southern planters had all three of the major factors 
of agricultural production- — land, labor, and capital. After the Civil War they 
were without capital and their labor conditions were so uixset that new relati<ms 
and new procedures had to be developed. Only the land, therefore, remained 
as it was before the Civil War and its fertility had declined. Slave labor, which 
had been the property of the owners and attached to their land, was free. The 
Civil War had changed the status of this slave labor to tenants and sharecrop- 
pers, a fact not now fully appreciated. 

With the S(nith financially prostrate, southern fanners were forced to go 
elsewhere to get money to operate. It came from eastern money markets at a 
high rate of interest and with a requirement that the borrower produce a 
crop which could be converted into cash at the end of the year with which to 
pay the debt. This tied southern farmers to a cotton economy from which 
many thousands have not yet been able to free themselves. It created the 
condition in which supply merchants and other factors developed. And they, 
too, have gone down because they were a part of an unsound economic structure. 

As the sharecropper system developed around cotton the poorer farmers, both 
white and colored, were engaged in a losing battle. Many owners became rent- 
200370—40 — pt. 2 S 



ers and sharecroppers. Unfavorable price conditions, high interest rates, soil 
erosion, and unbalanced farming, were all important factors in this. 

By decades we present the farm tenant score in Alabama on a total and a 
percentage basis as follows : 



Number of ten- 
ants (Alabama) 

63, 649 
76, 631 
128, 874 
158. 326 
148. 269 
166, 420 
176, 247 



During most of this time there had been, as above stated, migration from 
the cotton lands east of the Mississippi River to new lands west of this river. 
Immediately following the Civil War a good many southern planters emigrated 
to Brazil, Mesico, and Cuba to engage in cotton production with slave labor and 
to escape the rigors of reconstruction. This migration from east to west is 
revealed by the shift in cotton production from east to west as follows : 

East of Mississippi River: 66 percent in 1S90; 61 percent in 1910; 53 percent 
in 1920; and 44 percent in 193S." _^^ 

Bales east of river: 3.765.000 in ISSO; 6,538,000 in 1910; 6,045,000 in 1920; 
and 5,201,000 in 1938. 


All these movements and factors were in operation up to the World War 
of 1914-18: in fact, they are still in force. Immediately before, during, and 
after the World War and until 1929, industrial expansion and operation in 
the North and East drew heavily upon farm labor in Alabama and other South- 
ern States. Especially was this true of southern Negroes who left the farms 
for industries "up Nawth" between the '-teens" and the late twenties. This we 
define as an economic and .social movement — an opportunity for men of the 
(southern soils to find more lucrative empl(;yment and social conditions which 
to them were more attractive than what they had at home. 

Writing in the Review of Reviews for October l!t23 on the Negro exodus I 
pointed out that its main cause was economic, or '"Stated in another way, it is 
due largely to low returns for labor on southern farms and high returns for 
labor in industrial centers." 

Official statistics were cited showing that labor in the glass, steel, packing, 
and automobile indu.stries received then $4.30 to $6.50 per day a.gainst less than 
$1 per day for Negroes on southern farms. Obviously, it was not difiicult to 
understand, therefore, why 324.000 Negroes moved from farms to towns from 
l'tl6 to 1922 averaaed some 200.000 against an average of 10,000 or 12.(XX) 
annually from the close of the Civil War to 1916. It continued after 1922 but 
at a reduced rate. 


Immediately after the AVorld War when farm migration to industrial urban 
centers was running high and when national prosperity appeared to be soaring 
farmer conditions were becoming more difiicult. Powerful forces were woi-king 
against them. The American tariff structure, for example, had raised prices 
of products bought by southern farmers to much higher levels and actually 
lowered the price of cotton, the main cash crop of the South. 

The United States had changed from a debtor to a creditor Nation. No 
longer was this Nation engaged in borrowing money abroad and paying it with 
cotton and other farm products. Instead of borrowing we were lending. 

European nations that had been engaged in war were less able to buy and 


they were also producing more cotton and competitve products for their own 
needs. The use of synthetic tiber was born. It soon grew into a substantial 
volume with present prospects of continued growth. 

New lands which farmers had brought into crops during the war under the 
patriotic urge to produce feed and fiber as essentials to victory and world 
.safety for democracy were not needed after the war. All these and other 
factors In-ought the Nation to the collapse of 1929 and the years that follow. 

This great collapse, let me remind you, brought the American people face to 
face for the first time with tremendous economic distress and human misery in 
the midst of an abundance of materials which i>eople need most. As economists 
see it the Nation was suffering because it had produced too much of what 
it needed for abundant living, security, and safety. 

In this, of course, there are many factors which could be discussed but time 
does not permit. So I come back to farm migration of the present. 


Modern migrants seek to improve their position as did pioneer migrants, but 
the chances of improvement are impressively less. Their goal is not .settlement, 
but employment and wages. Their migration is a career, not a step toward 
improved settlement or from one farm to a better farm. Settlement is almost 
out of the question. The differences between settlement and wages, between 
stepping stones and career, are outstanding contrasts between the old and the 

As previously stated, the chief cause of the present-day movement is inse- 
curity or a complete lack of security, both social and economic. By social 
security I mean security of tenure : by economic security I mean sufficient 
income to feel some degree of security against hiuiger and a lack of clothing 
and shelter. Only by studying the* causes can we analyze the movements. 

Social insecurity, or insecurity of tenure, is probably the chief cause of 
movement. Poverty creates a psychological urge to move ; and insecurity 
or lack of tenure gives the excuse or reason for undertaking migration. If we 
are to reduce the number of migratory farmers or keep their number from 
increasing, their social and economic position must be improved. In this both 
the individual and society as a whole have duties and responsibilities. 

Tenure is the legal relationship of man to land. Ownership implies perma- 
nent tenure while leases — oral or written — yield possession only for a certain 
period of time. There is, however, more to tenure than legal possession. A 
tenant farmer may have legal tenure but be quite insecure. If he does not 
know whether or not he can have possession of the farm for another year or 
several years, the possibility of having to move is about as costly as the 
movement itself. There can be, to illustrate, little or no livestock, perennial 
hay or pasture building, or other improvements. Those farm enterprises 
which tie one to a farm, which require continued occupation and security of 
tenure, are conspicuously absent. Even a live-at-home program which contrib- 
uted much toward economic security is most difficult with insecure teniire. 

Length of residence, however, bears no definite relationship to security of 
tenure. A tenant may have lived on a farm for a number of years, but if 
he has not known from one year to the next whether or not he would operate 
the farm for the coming year, then his farming practices and attitudes can be 
little different from those of a 1-year tenant. 

Written leases (which only about 10 percent of Alabama tenants have) will 
go far toward bringing about a greater security. It is perhaps the first step, 
but an understanding between landlord and tenant of their mutual problems 
is necessary for security. This under.standing requires more than a division 
of crops, income, and expenses. It requires a knowledge of conservation, crop- 
ping practices, livestock management, food and feed production, etc. Each must 
understand and appreciate the other's position ; and the relations of one to the 

These tenants and croppers, who constitute 65 percent of the farmers of 
Alabama, are a potential source of migratory farmers or farm laborers. Unless 
we can tie them to their farms more securely with livestock, soil building, and 
soil-conserving crops, plus better-balanced and more profitable farming we have 
not checked the source of this migration. 



The Extension Service is trying to solve the problems of migrating farmers by 
checking migration at its sonrce. Our plan of approach is to increase the social 
and economic welfare of those who might otherwise become migrants. We 
have not been unmindful of tenure. Our approach may be less spectacular 
than a written lease, yet fundamentally the sounder approach. Before present- 
ing that ai>proach, however, let us keep in mind that the Extension Service is 
an educational agency, with no authority or funds to assist farmers financially. 

In order for a written lease to be an effective instrument of secure tenure, 
it must be preceded by an understanding ot mutual landlord-tenant problems 
as well as those peculiar to each group. This is being brought about : 

(1) Through community groups, both landlord and tenant, who come to- 
gether to study the latest methods of production and marketing ; 

(2) By method and result demonstrations where practices can be observed ; 

(3) Through livestock, tenants, landlords, and l)ankers are brought together 
in mutual interest. Livestock necessitates secure tenure if loans are sound 
and if the enterprise rests upon an efficient basis ; 

(4) Through an educational progi'am directed toward both human and soil 
conservation, both of which require security of tenure; 

(5) Through assistance by county agents and specialists in making leases, 
both written and oral, which will permit conservation in the widest sense of tba 
word, and result in a greater security of tenure. 


We, in the Extension Service, do not minimize the importance of written 
leases, rather do we operate on the theory that a lease must be preceded by 
understanding and a sound farm program if it is to operate effectively. A 
written lease merely gives rise to opportunities. Those opportunities can't be 
taken advantage of unless the information is at hand to guide its use. 

The second phase of the problem is economic security. If farmers are clothed, 
housed, and fed on a farm where there is security of tenure, they are not likely 
to become migratory workers. A farmer may be poor and yet be reasonably 
secure. Our pioneer forefathers had less money than the majority of our 
low-income farmers today. Tiieir hardships were nuich greater, yet they felt 
a keen sense of security in their freedom and upon their land. 

There is a limit to money income below which it is socially dangerous for 
farmers to live. But where a farmer produces his food and feed, and reduces 
his cash expenditures to those things which he cannot produce himself, there 
is no high degree of correlation between standard of living and money income. 
Cash income is difficult to increase. Real or nonmoney income is capable of 
considerable expansion. 

The Extension Service is striving to improve the well-being of the farm 
families not merely by increasing cash income but likewise by improving their 
real income through the live-at-home program. Briefly this program is as 
follows : 

(a) Home gardens and orchards. 

(6) Food preservation. 

{(') Feed and forage production. 

(d) Seed saving. 

This live-at-home program is part of a bigger program based upon wise use 
of all land a farmer has and efficient use of all his labor throughout the year, 
plus profitable use of money. 

At the outset I mentioned that increases in population and changes in farm 
organization released certain people from farms. The high birth rate of the 
South is well known. We have been a source of population not only for migra- 
tory farm laborers, in the West but for bu.sinessmen and industrial workers in 
the North and East. This movement, or migration because of jiopulation in-, is natural. There is little we could or should do about itu 


There have been changes in farm organization, however, which have released 
many farmers from their former holdings. Change from intensive cotton cul- 


tiire to uidie extensive types of farming, sucli as beef cattle production, has 
released many families. Mechanization of farms has required the labor of 
fewer people. In most cases these displaced tenants and croppers have been 
retained as wage laborers, but there are many instances in which they had to 
leave the farm. An Alabama farmer told me recently that he had reduced 
his labor from 30 to 10 and that these 20 migrants went to W. P. A. 

Changes in farm organization are due to the influence of economic factors 
over which we have little control. Mechanization and technological progress 
cannot be halted because they are labor saving. We must reckon with these 
f;;cts realistically. 

One of our county agents in the Black Belt stated recently : "Since dairying 
does not displace tenants from the farm as rapidly as beef-cattle production 
does, we feel that more of our people can be adequately supported with dairying 
than with beef production," While we encourage both economic and technologi- 
cal progress, we try to direct that progress to the improvement of as many 
people as possible. 

In one area of Alabama there is now a considerable push for beef cattle of 
which no sane man questions the value. But we must be intelligent enough 
to realize that beef cattle farming requires relatively little labor. If, therefore, 
the movement advances to the point of big displacement of labor many new 
migrants will be created and the towns in this area will suffer more than the 
farms because there will be fewer people around these towns. 


It is a fact that migration does not always begin at the insistence of the 
farmer. Farm women have felt the oppression and bleakness of small homes, 
lack of facilities, crowding of families into a few rooms, and poor health con- 
ditions of tenant houses. Through home-demonstration clubs many of these 
women are taught how to improve their homes, to make them more attractive, 
more comfortable, and more adequate. These women have been taught how to 
make mattresses, studio couches, extra beds, and other comforts. Through 
home-beautification programs many of the homes have been landscaped with 
native shrubs and plants. The food budget and plans for feeding the family 
an adequate and balanced diet have aided in improving family health. When 
homes are made more attractive inside and out and when adequte food is 
providued, a sense of security is instilled into the family which does not beget 

To give us a better understanding of the problem under discussion, I call 
attention to the fact that the current birth rate in cities is only 80 percent 
of enough to maintain city population. Yet our cities at the present rate of 
production and consumption are producing all the urban products that we 
need. They can produce more with only a small labor addition from the farms 
of the Nation. 

Our farm birth rate is loO percent of enough to maintain farm population. 
Here in Alabama and elsewhere in the Southeast we already have a congested 
population in relation to land and opportunities. The cropland per farm 
person in Alabama is 6 acres as compared to 23 acres in Iowa, 24.7 acres in 
Illinois, 10.5 acres in Texas, and 70.3 acres in North Dakota. 

The best information available indicates that the total cropland in the 
Southeast is about the same as it was in 1860, the year before the Civil War 
began. The number of people on this same land is approximately twice what 
it was then. 

It is obvious, therefore, that we need more opportunities for human beings 
in the rural areas of Alabama and all other Southern States. During the 
decade of the twenties when industry appeared to be thriving and agriculture 
was sinking deeper into desixmdency and distress, between three and four 
million southern farm youths moved to industrial centers, largely North and 
East. While no official figures are available for the decade of the thirties, 
all information at hand indicates that the exodus was much less because in- 
dustrial opportunities in cities were not available. This has resulted in im- 
pounding several million people on farms who would be elsewhere if business 
conditions had continued as they were in the earlv twenties. 



To throw more light upon the forces behind distressing farm migration I 
cite the following facts : 

(1) Cotton producers are now receiving about IVs percent of the national 
income, including Government payments, against 3 percent before the World 
War, 1909-14. 

(2) The ratio of prices received by farmers to prices they pay is 77. Stated 
differently, prices of agricultural products are now 95 percent of the pre-war 
level, while prices paid by farmers for commodities used in living and in fai'm- 
ing were 123 percent in June 1940, of 1909-14. 

(3) Compared with the above prices and ratios wages are more than 200 
percent of the pi'e-war level. 

It is my mature judgment that if we can correct these inequalities and lift 
agricultural income to the level of full parity, practically all of the social and 
economic problems arising from farm migration will be solved. This adjust- 
ment will be helpful to all people engaged in worthwhile occupation other than 
farming. It is, therefore, a national need for society as a whole, the same as 
it is for farmers as a group. 

Stated a little differently the best way to treat the problem of rural migration 
is to remove the causes by making it more profitable and more desirable to stay 
on farms. Long-time contracts and other facts which we have mentioned are 
desirable and we support them but we also recognize the responsibility of 
intelligent education to accompany or precede changes. 

It is obvious that when we reach the goal of economic and social security, 
Alabama will not be a source of migratory destitute farmers. 


Mr. Curtis. You may proceed to discuss your statement in any 
way you wish, Mr. Davis. 


Mr. Da-sis. My first point is to bring out the fact that people have 
moved, in the main, for two reasons; to get away from something that 
is objectionable, for example, from oppression in Europe, which was 
the reason that they came here to this country ; and the other reason 
is that they moved to better their economic and social conditions. 
Those are the two main reasons why people move. And in the state- 
ment Mhich I have submitted is the historical sketch of migration in 
the State of Alabama and over the Southeast. 

These people first came to the seaboard States, and then they moved 
across to Alabama and Mississippi, and then on further west, finding 
new land. They were moving then for two reason.s — one was to get 
away from the poor eroded soil, and the other reason was to get new 
and better land, therefore accomplishing the two main reasons for 

One other point that I would like to mention in that connection — 

It is a fact that after the Civil War, in which we had an important 
part down here, farmers and planters were in a different condition 
than they were before the war. Before the Civil War the southern 
planters had the three major factors necessary for agricultural pro- 
duction — they were land, labor, and capital. After the Civil War 
they had the land, but the labor was gone, the slave labor, of course, 


and they had no capital except what they could borrow at a high 
rate of interest, and we know the things that came of that. 

The real point that I want to bring ont, that slave labor of the 
South before the Civil War was a class that largely became tenants 
and sharecroppers after the Civil War, and that is a factor that we 
are still dealing with here. 


Another factor is the shift of cotton production that has not been 
mentioned, so far as I recall. In 1890, 66 percent of the cotton pro- 
duced in the South was produced east of the Mississippi River. In 
1938 that percentage had declined to 44 percent, which meant that 
56 percent was produced in 1938 west of the Mississippi River, 
whereas 50 years ago 66 percent of the South's cotton was produced 
east of the Mississippi River. 

Now, there are some factors in here about the Negro exodus m the 
late teens and twenties. That was not a going to search for new 
land, but most of them were going into the industries of the North, 
and where they found social conditions were better for them. That 
was one of the biggest migration periods affecting the South. From 
1916 up to 1925, we will say, it averaged about 200,000 persons per 
year, Negroes leaving the Southern farms for the industrial areas 
against s?me ten or twelve thousand a year for the period from the 
Civil War up to 1916. 

Here is one paragraph in my statement which I shall recall in ref- 
erence to modern migration : 

Modern migrants seek to improve their position as did pioneer migrants, but 
tiie chances of improvement are impressively less. Their goal is not settle- 
ments but employment and wages. Their migration is a career, not a step 
toward approved settlement or from one farm to a better farm. Settlement is 
almost out of the question. The difference between settlement and wages, 
between stepping stones and career, are outstanding contrasts between the 
old and the new. 

Here is a section of this statement that bears directly on the work 
that is being done by the Extension Service and related agencies in 
order to cure or remove the causes of migration by correcting the 
conditions on the farm and in the farm homes which cause people to 
want to move. In addition to moving away from eroded lands, and 
other objectionable features, farm women, you know, are sometimes 
the causes of migration because they want to get away from the 
poorly equipped homes on the farm and other objectionable features 
there, but we shall not go further into that at this time. 


Let me point to another fact that should be mentioned. I believe 
Dr. Vance called attention to it in another direction. Here in the 
South and the Southeast we have about as much cropland as we had 
in 1860, 70 years ago. That is according to a statement made recently 
before the Civil Liberties Committee of Congress by Secretary Wal- 
lace. At the same time we have about twice as many people on that 


land in the Southeast now as we had tlien. About the same amount 
of hind, according to the Secretary, and the best figures available, 
and approximately twice the number of people, and even now in the 
Southeast and the Nation as a whole, the birth rate is about 150 percent 
of enough to maintain the farm population. In the urban centers it 
is about 80 percent of enough, and yet those urban centers continue 
to produce about all of the products of industry that the market will 

There is another fact that we should biing out here, and that is 
that in Alabama at the present time we have about 6 acres of cropland 
per farm person. That compares with 23 acres in Iowa and 24.7 
acres in Illinois; 19.5 acres in Texas and 70.3 acres in North Dakota. 
Those are only a few of the States that I want to mention here for 
comparison or to make it more impressive that we are highly con- 
gested on the land here in the Southeast. 

]Mr. Curtis. Has there been a shift away from one type of farming 
to another here in Alabama? 

Mr. Davis. There is some shift; I might more properly say that 
it is more of a development to the other kind of farming than it is 
a shift away from a certain kind of faiming. 

Mr. Curtis. What crops do you include as row crops ? 

Mr. Davis. Row crops in Alabama, most of our row crops are corn, 
cotton, and peanuts. 

Mr. Curtis. And the shift has been away from row crops, is that 
your statement? 

Mr. Davis. There has been some slight shift, not any big amount. 
There ought to be more. 

Mr. Curtis. To what ? 

Mr. Davis. We are recommending and there is some shift toward 
small grains and some pastures, that is, crops not produced in rows 
because row crops include our cash crops, cotton being No. 1. 

Mr. Curtis. Is that generally true of the surrounding States ? 

Mr. Davis. I would assume so. It ought to be true. 

Mr. Curtis. Do your row crops require more people for their culti- 
vation and production than the others^ 

]\Ir. DA^^s. They do at certain seasons of the year. Cotton keepa 
people employed for about one-half of the year. If we shift from 
row-crop farming, cotton and corn and peanuts, then we will have 
a spread of employment to where our people will be productivel}' em- 
ployed throughout the year. Let me add this — that a shift from 
row crops — I would say that it is more of a development of the 
non-row crops that it is a shift from the row crops — but it is a 
fact that that has been true for some years, and that is based some- 
what on the limits under the triple A program. There is not so 
much a shift from the row crops as there is a development of the 
non-row crops, including livestock. 

]Mr. Curtis. What recommendations do you make or have you 
made in your paper toward stabilizing rural population? 

Mr. DA^^s. In the first place we need a sounder farming system, 
such as I have indicated already. 

Now, then, to understand the situation as I sum it up briefly — first, 
the cash crop, we will say, one for which we have an allotment tem- 


porarily — whatever the control allotment of cotton is for the 
South, the farmers of Alabama want their fair portion of it, so 
that mifjht mean 20 to 25 percent of our croplands. And then next, 
or probably first, we need a system of farmino: — and we are develop- 
ino- that system — which makes our farm ])eople more self-sustaining 
in that they produce more of what they consume, and they do a 
better job of taking care of the land and of what they produce. 
We need some livestock in the South, in addition, in order to bal- 
ance out our farming operation, in order to take better care of the 
land and use our labor more efficiently and have several incomes a 
year rather than just one cash-crop income on cotton. On top of 
it all we need better care of our trees because more than one-half 
of our land in the State of Alabama is still in trees of one kind or 
another. That gives you the production side of it. 

Mr. OsMERS. I notice some figures here that interested me a great 
deal. You cited the average number of acres of land per farm 
person in Alabama as compared with the average number of acres 
in some of the Midwestern States. 

Mr. DA\^s. Yes, sir. 


Mr. OsMERS. And the number of acres in the State of Alabama 
was much less than that for the Midwestern States that you men- 
tioned. Would you care to express your opinion on the general 
question as to whether a shift of the farm population from Alabama 
to other areas would be beneficial because of that disparity? 

IVIr. Davis. The fact is that the j^eople are congested on the lands 
in the Southeast and here in Alabama. I had a man say to me 
recently that we need.ecl to get rid of about a half million people 
from the fanns of Alabama. I am quoting another man now, whose 
name I will not use. And I said, ""Wliere will they go and what 
will they do?" Now, that is just what we are up against. 

Mr. OsMERS. And that is what this committee is interested in. 

Mr. Davis. And I said. "Where will they go?" The c{uestion is. 
If they should leave the State of Ahibama, where would they go 
and what would they do when they got there? Of course, if we 
can find better social and economic conditions for them elsewhere, 
the sensible thing for them to do is to move. 

Mr. Curtis. Would you say that the opening up of large areas 
of new farm land in the West through the use of irrigation and 
through the creation of public improvements — would you say that 
wouki offer a partial solution of the shift of that population ? 

Mr. Davis. It might help for the particular individuals so in- 
volved, but it wouldn't help the agricultural industry out as a whole 
because the output in the last few years was even greater than in 
1929, so opening new land for agricultural production, while it might 
help some individuals, at the same time would complicate the agri- 
cultural picture as a whole. 

Mr. CiT^Tis. Because it would increase crop production, is that 
your idea? 


Mr. Davis. Yes, sir. We now have a surplus of all major agri- 
cultural crops. We might think of that also. 

Mr. Curtis. Would you say that this trend that has been develop- 
ing in Alabama where there has been a shift, you might call it, from 
the row crops, or the development of the other kind of crops, that in 
time that program will be of great benefit to the fanners of Alabama ? 

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir; it will help them because it will supply a 
great deficiency in oiir production and it will help us to maintain 
our soil fertility also. We must remember that we have in the South 
a large numbei" of undernourished and underfed people. If we can 
develop this kind of agriculture that we are talking about, we can 
help them without disturbing the agricultural picture as a whole. 

Mr. Curtis. Would most of the new production in agriculture 
that you are proposing under this new program — are those products 
used right within the borders of the State of Alabama or within 
the Southeast, as a nile? 

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir; they should be, because we are a deficiency 
State in the production of many agricultural products. Also live- 
stock; not cotton, however. 

Mr. Curtis. That is all. 


Mr. Sparkman. I doubt if ymi care to discuss this thing, but some 
of the later witnesses may discuss it — but I have been particularly 
interested in and concerned with this problem that we are confronted 
with here in training young people in order to enable them to com- 
pete with those that they must come in competition with when and 
if they do migrate to other sections of the country. I know that you 
agree with me that our educational burden, in attempting to train 
them, is very heavy, very heavy proportionately. I was particularly 
interested in a statement made to us at another hearing that we have 
conducted where some gentleman — I believe he was fi-om Rhode Is- 
land — used this example : He said if you want mules — you raise them 
and send them to us and we pay 3^011 all the expenses for raising of these 
mules and sending them to us, but if you raise children and send them 
to us to compete in industry, you have prepared them and educated 
them to compete M'ith us and you stood all of the expenses in that 
instance. Now, do you care to talk on that subject? 

Mr. Davis. Well, someone indicated here something about the 
Army enlistments this morning and the number of higher officers 
who were from the South, and you will find in so many of the 
industries men who have moved from the South into those industries 
in the other parts of the country. Now, these were men that the 
South had been struggling to produce and train so far as they 
could, and it is a fact that when they get ready to produce, to enter 
some kind of industry, for the good of society or business, on their 
part, they go somewhere else. 

Now, another point, I think that the National Defense Commis- 
sion's program for the training of our youth largely in a vocational 
way should be extended to farm boys and girls and train them for 
defense purposes as well as for greater domestic service and other 


tliin<is alonjr efficient lines for jobs in which they are en^aj^ed or in 
which they will eni^ao;e after they are o-rown. 

Mr. Curtis. Instead of confinino; that to the South, isn't it gen- 
erally true that onr leaders and potential leaders come from the farm, 
to a great extent — that they must of necessity come from the soil? 

Mr? Davis. Yes, sir ; I believe that the South has had a higher 
proportion <mi account of the congestion in the farms in the South. 
As, for an illustration, we have had 32 Presidents to date, and 17 of 
them were born on the farm, more than one-half of them that have 
been in the White House up to this day. In the Southeast, in this 
great pressure area here about which we have heard so much, they 
have looked harder for these things — for example, we notice in the 
survey that the southern people are a little more keen about war than 
some other parts of the country. I talked with an Army officer who 
had just mustered into service 100 men into one company fresh from 
their homes, and he stated that 85 percent of them— this company 
came from Tennessee — he stated that 85 percent of that 100 came 
from the farms. That is an indication of the pressure situation on 
the farms in this area. 

Mr. Curtis. It is my information that certain economists contend 
that at least every second generation must be supplied from the soil, 
the leaders in our industries in the cities, to keep them going. 

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir; the birth rate is 150 percent of enough to 
maintain the farm population, while in the cities it is 80 percent. 
Now, here is a statement that I would like to add at this points — it is 
a statement showing the percentage of tenants in the several different 
countries. Some of the statistics, as you will notice, are old — for 
example, in England, in 1914, 89.9 percent of the people were tenants. 

1 call that to your attention because the relaticm of the tenants to 
the land in England is different from what it is here. It is a different 
relationship. Here is another statement that I will attach to it for 
your record. It says, "A study from the 1935 agricultural census" — 
it shows in each county in Alabama the percentage of tenants, the 
total number of tenants, and then it shows the number who on Janu- 
ary 1, 1935, were where they had been less than a year; also 1 year, 

2 years. 3 years, 4 years, and 5 years, and if I may, Mr. Sparkman, 
I will give you your own home county, Madison County ; on January 
1, 1935, there were 4,949 tenants on 'farms in Madison County, and 
1,693 of them had been where they were then less than 1 year. Only 
1,297 of them had been where they had been 5 years or more. I be- 
lieve that the committee would like to see those figures, which, as I 
have stated, came from the Federal Agricultural Census of 1935. 

Mr. Sparkman. I would like to put into the record the fact that 
Mr. Davis comes from my district. 

"Sir. Davis. And I might say that my people voted for Mr. Spark- 
man, too. 

I have a 3-page mimeograph statement here which I would like to 
offer as an exhibit. 

The Chairman. It may be received. 



(The document entitled "Important Facts on Farm Tenure" is as 

Tabulation showing percent tenancy in some of the countries of the world : 
Important facts on farm tenure 


Tuited States. 1920 38. 1 

Enghind, 1914 88. 9 

Australia. 1917 78. 9 

New Zealand. 1910 58. 5 

Belerium, 1910 54. 2 

Argentine, 1914 38. 5 

Ireland, 1916 36. 


France. 1892 36. 1 

China. 1920 28. 1 

Germany, 1907 25. 4 

Japan. 1921 28. 5 

Canada. 1921 7. 9 

Denmark, 1918 8. 

Tabulation showing percent tenants, by States : 

Southern States: Percent 

Misissippi 70 

Georgia 66 

Alabama 64 

Louisiana 64 

South Carolina 62 

Oklahoma 61 

Arkansas 60 

Texas 57 

North Carolina 47 

Tennessee 46 

Kentucky 37 

Period of time tenants Jxnl tired on far)n on vhich they were located, Jan. 1, 

193o — State of Alabama 

Other States : Percent 

Northwest : Oregon 21. 7 

New England : Vermont 10. 9 

Midwest : Iowa 50. 

Middle Atlantic : Maryland 27.3 

North : South Dakota 49. 

Western grain area : Kansas.- 44. 
Rocky Mountains : Utah 15.0 




less than 

1 year 

1 year 

2 years 

3 years 

4 years 

5 years 
and over 

Total ten- 
ants re- 

Autauga . 







































Baldwin _ 


Barbour. . 




Blount - 





Calhoun. . 


Chambers. ... 


Cherokee.-. . 


Chilton ... 


Choctaw . 




Clav .. 


Cleburne . 













Cullman . 






DeKalb... . 


Elmore. . 






Favette .-, 




Geneva . 




Hale - 








Period of time tenants had Jived on farm on which they were located, Jan. 1, 
1935 — State of Alabama — Contiuiied 




less than 

1 year 

1 year 

2 years 

3 years 

4 years 

5 years 
and over 

Total ten- 
ants re- 




Lauderdale. _ 

















Randolph. -_ 


St. Clair 




Tallapoosa. _ 





State. - 

































































1, 153 

















2, 862 
4, 396 

3, 641 

4, 949 
4, 979 

2, 696 
3, 148 
2, 861 

2, 232 

3. 719 
3, 063 



69, 351 

20, 658 

14, 640 

10, 842 

12, 738 

45, 573 

173, 802 

The Chairiman. We thank you very much, Mr. Diivis, and you may 
be excused. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 


The Chairmax. Professor Campbell is the next witness, I believe. 

Will you come forward, Professor Campbell? 

Mr. Sparkman. Will you state your name for the record? 

Professor Campbell. My name is T. M. Campbell. 

Mr. Sparkman. You are field agent of the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. Farm Extension Service, Tuskegee Institute, 
Tuskegee, xVla.; is that correct? 

Professor Campbell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Your work is primarily in Alabama, is it not, or 
do you cover a certain region? 

Professor Campbell. ]My field headquarters are in Alabama, and my 
work is the lower Southern States, beginning with Georgia, Florida, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. 



Mr. Sparkman. And your work is generally with the rural Negro 
population in those States? 

Professor Campbell. Wholly. 

Mr. Sparkmax. Do you have a statement prepared that you would 
like to read to the committee ? 

Professor Campbell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Go on and proceed in your own way. 

Professor Campbell (reading). About the only reason I can give 
for being asked to appear on this occasion is that I was born on a 
rented farm. I am the son of tenant parents, and perhaps at this time 
would be classified as an ex-migrant, because I left the farm in 
Georgia at an early age and came to Alabama after hearing of Booker 
T. Washington's famous xA.tlanta speech, and I came to Alabama seek- 
ing an education. 


I am sure that this committee of the honorable House of Repre- 
sentatives has at its disposal or in its possession all of the statistical 
information pertaining to the Negro migrant necessary; hence, I 
take it that they are desirous of getting more first-hand information 
on the rural "movable" po])ulation of the South. While the Negro 
may not travel as far as the white dweller when he does move, I 
firmly believe that he changes his place of abode more often than 
does the white man. This might lead one to inquire. "Why does 
the Negro farmer move?'"' To this question I would answer: "First, 
the lack of profitable employment" — I mean by this that the average 
tenant or small independent Negro farmer is not ]>rovided with suffi- 
cient gainful occupation in the course of 12 months to provide the bar- 
est subsistence for himself and family. I would list next a lack of 
opportunity to develop in his present location. Unfortunately, in too 
many instances, Negroes who, by thrift and sacrifice in their communi- 
ties, become self-supporting and quite independent only find that there 
are those in the connnunity who take undue advantage of their racial 
timidity, due to the traditi<)nal lack of legal protection. This fre- 
quently blights their hopes beyond recovery. It is very difficult to 
cope with this type of exploitation and discrimination. 

The lack of educational advantages for young Negroes in rural 
areas is often the determining factor in their decision as to whether 
they remain stationary or move out of their community, despite the 
fact that they may not see any promise of a better condition in the 
immediate future (I am sure this was true in my own case). There 
are increasing numbers of Negro farm parents who are willing 
to go without sufficient food, clothing, and even shelter to give their 
children a better educational chance than they had. 

With further reference to Negro migration, there are most always 
many attractions to other rural areas, and urban centers — some of 
these are advantageous; others are false. The element of labor specu- 
lation on the part of landlords and other employers operating rural 
industries such as large plantations, cotton gins, sawmills, and so 
forth, imposes a hardship on the rural Negro. 

There is a great need for a change in the South's one-crop economy. 
In recent years, many notable efforts have been put through various 


organizations with the object of strengthening our agriculture, but 
some of these organizations have fallen short of their purposes, because 
the Negro farmer, who composes a very large part of the total farm 
population, is left almost completely out of the picture. Ever since 
the unprecedented migration of Negroes from southern areas to the 
iNorth in 1923 and 1924, there has been a steady movement back and 
forth of this group, and this condition has also caused labor specu- 
lation, and, in cases, exploitation. 

Mr. Parsons. If I may interrupt you at this point — what were 
the reasons for, or the causes of, this large migration of the colored 
population in 1923 and 1924? 

Professor Campbell. It was my privilege to follow the migra- 
tion — that is officially — I didn't migrate — during those years, and I 
went to most of the centers where the Negroes went from the South, 
and I had a series of questions that I asked them all and many people 
said — it was said in the press in many instances that the Negroes were 
migrating North for so-called social equality, but I found that was 
not true at all — that they went North because there was a demand 
for their labor. They heard about it through labor agents who came 
to the South and then when a few got there, they wrote home to 
their relatives and pretty soon we had almost a stampede of Negroes 
going North. 

Mr. Parsons. What were the centers ? 

Professor Campbell. Beginning at Cincinnati — that was the begin- 
ning of the underground railroad. If they could get to Cincinnati, 
they felt that they could make it, and then from there to Youngstown 
and tlien to Akron and then to Gary and then to Chicago and to Detroit 
and Milwaukee. Those were the centers to which the Negroes in this 
area from Georgia back to Texas went to the North. 

Mr. Parsons. Maybe you haven't got to it in your prepared state- 
ment, but has there been a shift in that population coming back to 
the Southern States from these areas since that time — since the depres- 
sion in 1930? 

Professor Campbell. I think that I mention something with regard 
to that as I go on with my prepared statement. 
Mr. Parsons. You may proceed. 

Mr. Sparkman. This migration coincided, did it not, with the 
quickened industrial expansion up there in the North? 

Professor Campbell. Yes, sir: we understand that there was a 
demand for common laborers up there at tliat time. 

Mr. Sparkman. As we understand it, it was a recovery from the 
1920 panic, was it not? 

Professor Campbell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And during that same time, there was quite a 
heavy migration of white people from this same area going into 
the rubber-producing area around Akron, Ohio, and into the auto- 
mobile-producing area around Detroit, Mich? 

Professor Campbell. Yes. sir; that is correct. I went to Akron 
and got some figures on the number of southern Negroes that had 
come in there recently, and I found out that there were two-thirds 
moi'e of the southern white people there that had also come in. 


Mr. Sparkman. Southern white people that had come mto that 
area also? 

Professor Campbell. Yes, sir; and it was caused by the immigra- 
tion laws in force at that time which prohibited them from getting 
foreign labor, and as a result they came South to get this labor. 

Mr. Sparkman. Go on with your statement. 

Professor Campbell (resumes reading). Another factor that has 
contributed to Negro migration is improved conununication and 
transportation facilities. Under conununication I would list ''letter 
writing." The Negro is becoming more literate even in rural areas, 
and in this way is able to keep in more or less constant touch with 
his relatives in other connnunities, States, and regions. In making 
use of improved highways — the automobile — they set out to realize 
their objectives. Many times nothing is gained in the transition 
except to satisfy a burning desire to better their conditions. Travel- 
ing as I do over most of the Southern States by automobile, I am 
frequently asked by Negro people along the way: "Are times any 
better where you came from than they are here?" Of course I give 
an answer of some kind. There have been many permanent contacts 
established by Negro migrants in the North. Many of them have 
been advantageous in the matter of better wages for all types of 
labor — common, semiskilled, and skilled. 

Then, too, the matter of citi/'-enship in the North has had a tre- 
mendous influence on the southei'n Negro since the great migration 
17 or 18 years ago. He feels that he can better serve himself, his 
family, and his community when he is permitted to shoulder some of 
the civic responsibilities of his communit}". Once he experiences this 
privilege, he is reluctant to make any changes that tend to jeopardize 
this right. 

Compulsory education for all peo])le in the North — a thing too 
few rural Negroes in the South enjoy — has had a most telling effect 
in tlie Negro's decision to move. Kecentlj' the writer was attending 
a rural church, congregation of about 150, and a poll was taken as to 
just who had relatives in the North. Practically all hands went up 
(including mine). These contacts between rural Negroes and their 
relatives in the North keep a certain portion of the population on 
the move back and forth most of the time. 

It is a common thing nowadays to go into rural districts, almost 
any county where the Negro population is heavy, especially at this 
time of the year, summertime, and see cars parked out by cabins 
wdth foreign license plates on them, Illinois, New York, away out 
in the fields. They have come back to see their kin people and 
sometimes they take them back Avith them. 

In some instances it is felt that this condition has its good effects, 
because many of the Negroes who migrated to the North years ago 
have educated their children there, and noAv they are gradually filter- 
ing back into the South into the Negro colleges, high schools, and in 
many cases, rural schools. These folk represent a definite asset to 
the South, their home, and are calculated to enrich Negro com- 
munity life wherever this condition exists. 

I believe that tlie percentage of race friction between whites and 
Negroes in rural areas is higher in the fall of the year (harvest 


time) than at any other season— at least this has been my observa- 
tion over a long period of years. This condition can be definitely 
traced in many instances (which can be verified) to disagreement in 
crop settlements. Hence, the need for a better lease or contract 
system between employer and employee, binding both to their obli- 

It is not necessary at this time to call attention to the matter of 
poor housing among Negroes in the South when public consciousness 
is more or fess focused on this evil as the Report on Economic Con- 
ditions of the South to the President testifies. It is commonly con- 
ceded that the houses in which the southern rural population lives, 
especially the Negro, is one of its darkest blots. Comparable to this 
evil are poor health and the lack of recreational facilities for Negroes. 
In the State of Alabama, for example, there are no public parks to 
which Negroes are admitted without special permission. This fact 
alone is an encouragement to the mobility of the Negro. Many of 
the more fortunate Negroes in the South journey hundreds of miles 
away from their homes in order that they and their families and 
friends may enjoy a feAv weeks' outing. A similar situation exists 
in the matter of acconnnodations for Negro travelers. Along with 
poor health should be listed the lack of public hospitalization for 
Negroes in the South, and also accommodations and conveniences on 
public carriers, including railroad and bus transportation in the 
southern area (l)etter now tlian in previous years in some sections, 
but there is mucli room for improvement). 

Negroes love the South with all of its faults, but there is a grow- 
ing tendency among them to cast about for a better chance elsewhere. 
[Reading of statement ends.] 

The Chairman. Thank you very much for your fine presentation, 
Professor Campbell, and it will be very valuable for the committee 
to have it included in our report. 

(The witness was thereupon excused.) 


Tlie Chairman. Is Athey Pierce in the hearing room ? 

(Athey Pierce came forward.) 

Mr. S'pARKMAN. Your name is Athe}' Pierce? 

jMr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

My. Sparkman. Where do you live ^ 

Mr. Pierce. I live north of here on Smith's place. 

]\Ir. Sparkman. You live in INIontgomery County ? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir it is at Prattville. " 

Mr. Sparkman. It is in Autauga County? 

Mr. Pierce, Yes, sir. 

Mv. Sparkman. Are you a native of Alabama? 

Mr. Pierce. That is my home, Alabama. 

Mr. Sparkman. Where were you born ? 

Mr. Pierce. Down there in Trickham. 

Mr. Sparkman. What county is that in? 

260370—40 — pt. 


Mr. Pierce. That is in Lowndes. 
Mr. Sparkman. How old are you? 

Mr. Pierce. Forty-three, from my daddy's word, I don't know, 
but I might be okler than that, I am just guessing, going on what 
my daddy said. 

Mr. Sparkman. You are not trying to get out of the conscription 
by that, are you ? 

Mr. Pierce. I ought to be 60 to draw some pension, 
Mr. Sparkman. Have you been raised on the farm? 
Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir; I have been on the farm all my days. I have 
just been off the farm for 4 years. 

Mr. Sparkman. Your father was a farmer? 
Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. How long did you live with your father? 
Mr. Pierce. Until I got 21. 
Mr. Sparkman. WHiere did you go then? 

Mr. Pierce. I moved down on Mose Robinson's place after I 

Mr. Sparkman. You married and then you made a crop of your 
own, is that correct ? 
]Sfr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. How long did you work as a farmer then? 
Mr. Pierce. I stayed there for -i years on that place. 
Mr. Sparkman. And where did you go then ? 

Mr. Pierce. I moved with a machine agent, and worked ft)r him, 
and I stayed with him 3 years and 3 months. 
Mr. Sparkman. What were you doing? 

Mr. Pierce. I was driving him around the country selling Singer 
sewing macliines. 

Mr. Sparkman. AVas all of that in the State of Alabama ? 
ISIr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. You worked at that job a little over 3 years? 
Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 
Mr. Sparkman. What did you do then? 
Mr. Pierce. I moved to the Reeves' place, the farm. 
Mr. Sparkman. Of course, we are not familiar with these places 
that you name, but instead of naming the places that you move to, 
sav whether or not you moved to another farm or to a city ? 
]\Ir. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you started farming there? 
Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And how long did you continue to farm there? 
Mr. Pierce. I made four crops there. 
Mr. Sparkman. Then where did you go? 
Mr. Pierce. I moved onto another farm. 
]\fr. Sparkman. Why did you move that time? 
Mr. Pierce. Well, the man wouldn't have the house fixed up that 
I was living in and every time it rained everything in the house would 
get wet. 

Mr. Sparkman. You moved that time in order to better your con- 
ditions; is that correct? 


Mr. Pierce, Yes, sir ; to better my condition. 

Mr. Sparkman. How long did you live on this farm that you 
moved to at that time? 

Mr. Pierce. I made six crops there. 

Mr. Sparkman. Then did you move to another farm? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Why did you move that time? 

Mr. Pierce. "Well, I made four crops when I made six crops 
there — 3'ou see, I was staying there for 4 years, and the same man that 
I had been driving there for, you see, he was a Mason, and he came 
in and joined the Masonic lodge, and he died and he didn't will all 
that he had, something came up like that, and so he came back and, 
as I said, he was a Mason, and they wanted me to see after him before 
lie died, and I seed after him until he ceased away. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you became his caretaker; is that what you 
mean ? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir: and I made two crops there after I stayed 
there for 4 years, and that made the six crops, and another landlord 
owned this place after this man had died — he told me that I need not 
move and told me that I could stay there, and I stayed there and I 
made the other two crops there with him. 

Mr. Sparkman. And did you move after that? 

Mr. Pierce. When I left there I went to Cleveland, Ohio. 

Mr. Sparkman. What did you do in Cleveland, Ohio? 

Mr. Pierce. I worked at the scrap yard on the truck. 

Mr. Sparkman. What other work did you do in Cleveland? First, 
what year did you go to Cleveland? 

Mr. Pierce. I went there in December 1936. 

Mr. Sparkman. 1936? 

Mr. Pierce. I went there in December 1936. 

Mr. Sparkman. You were living on the farm after these farm ben- 
efits started coming in, weren't you? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir; I was living on the farm then, and I was 
living at the place where I had a crop for 8 years, and I plowed up 
cotton the second year that I was there. 

Mr. Sparkman. The second year that you were there was when we 
had to plow up some cotton? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Was the cotton acreage reduced from that time on? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Did that have anything to do with your moving off 
the farm? 

Mr. Pierce. Well, it just plowed up my best cotton and ruined it. 

Mr. Sparkman. Now, Pierce, you see most of us are Democrats 
here, and don't you say too much about that. Did you get paid for 
it, for the cotton that you plowed up ? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. I said. Did you get paid for it? 

Mv. Pierce. No, sir ; I ain't got nothing for it yet ; I didn't get noth- 
ino; for it. 


Mr. SrARKMAN. Didn't you ever get any crop benefits paid to you? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir. 

Mr. Spakkman. None of the years that you stayed there? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Were you a cash tenant or were you a sharecropper 
or were you a farm laborer? 

jNIr. Pierce. I was renting the hind and paying $100 rent. 

Mr. Sparkman. You were paying money rent? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Then weren't you entitled to the crop benefits? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir; I was entitled to it, but I did not get it. 

Mr. Sparkman. Did you ever try to get it — did you ever talk to 
your county agent about that matter ? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; I never did have any talk with the county 
agent at all. 

Mr. Sparkman. Did you ever discuss it with your landlord about 
your being entitled to any benefit payment? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir. I mentioned sometimes that I thought that 
I should get something; some of the others were getting something 
in different places, but I didn't get nothing. 

Mr. Sparkman. Did that have anything to do with your going to 
Cleveland, or what made you go to Cleveland, Ohio? 

Mr. Pierce. Well, I was renting cotton land and I was working 
cornland on the shares and when they gathered the corn. I didn't 
get none of it, and I didn't have nothing to live on and no feed for 
my mules and nothing for my mules at all. so I put the mules in 
the pasture and I went on up to Cleveland, Ohio. 

Mr. Sparkman. Did you have any people in Cleveland ? 

Mr. Pierce. My wife had a brother up there and he had already 
sent her the money to go there, and so 1 didn't have nothing to do 
but to hustle up my fare and go on up there, and she had the children 
up there with her, so I went to Cleveland. 

Mr. Sparkman. You turned the mules in the pasture and you went 
on to Cleveland? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes. I got a job there in Cleveland after about 3 
weeks, and after I got the job there I worked for about 8 months 
and then they commenced laying me off for 2 to 3 days a week, that 
would be all I would work, and I couldn't live on that and so my 
wife, she had done come to Dayton, Ohio, to see my oldest children, 
two of them w^as over there, she was over there on a visit, and I 
was working 1 straight week while she was over there on the visit 
and then the next 2 weeks I was only working 2 or 3 days in the 
week, so I just wrote to her and told her not to write to me any more, 
because the next time I would be the letter, I went to Dayton, Ohio, 

Mr. Sparkman. How long did you stay in Dayton ? 

Mr. Pierce. I stayed there until 1938. I came back here on Decem- 
ber 20, 1938. 

Mr. Sparkman. Where was your wife? 

Mr. Pierce. She and I came back down here together. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you have been here ever since? 


Mr. Pierce. Yes. sir; I went to Dallas County and I stayed there 
a couple of days and I came here and I have been here ever since. 

Mr. Sparkman. And you have been farminji: since then? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir ; 1 work on the farm by the day. 

Mr. Sparkman. You are a day laborer now? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Is your work steady? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; I haven't worked none now in over 2 weeks. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you work as you can find it ? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; it is a big farm out there and when after 
you get the crops hiid by, he ain't got nothing for all of them to do, 
and it ain't going to be nothing for a lot of us to do until the cotton 
opens and then we will work, and after we get the crop gathered, 
there ain't nothing much going on again. 

]Nfr. Sparkman. What did you do last winter? 

]\Ir. Pierce. Last winter, 1 worked some in the vegetable garden 
over there; that is all the work that you can do over there. Some 
days the ground would be frozen up biit if you wanted to make some- 
thing at all you have to work. Some of the fellows get down with 

Mr. Sparkman. Have you been on relief? 

]\Ir. Pierce. No, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Have you ever tried to get on relief ? 

Mr. Pierce. No. sir; there wasn't no use to me trying in Ohio 
because you have to be there in one place for 2 years in order to 
get it. 

Mr. Sparkman. You have managed to keep yourself and your 
family going without getting on relief, is that correct? 

yiv. Pierce. Yes. sir; but I wish I could have gotten on it, I 
would have been right there now if I could, yes sir; I would have 
been there right now if I could have gotten on it. 

Mr. Sparkman. Don't you feel just a little better though at being 
able to make a living down here in some way and not having to go on 
relief ? 

Mr. Pierce. If I had been on relief I would have had a better 
time than I am seeing right now. I would have had something to 
eat if I wasn't working because they will sure give you something to 

Mr. Sparkman. Have vou had a hard time getting something to 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; I ain't having such a hard time, but it has 
to be paid for and when you ain"t making enough money to pay for it, 
it gets pretty tight sometimes, when you ain't making more than 7 
cents an hour, you can't pay up for the back time when you are not 
working, especially when you are just drawing it every night, you see. 

]Mr. Sparkman. Do you get paid by the hour when you are working? 

]Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. You don't get paid by the hour when you are 
picking cotton, do you? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; they pay for picking cotton by the hundred. 


Mr. Sparkman. Wluit scale did they pay you for picking cotton? 

Mr. Pierce. Last year they paid us 40 cents a hundred and on 
Saturday for picking they paid us 50 cents a hundred. 

Mr. Sparkjman. Did you say tliat they paid you 50 cents a hundred 
on Saturday for picking cotton? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir; and they would have a lot more hands on 
Saturday because you could make more picking cotton on Saturday 
at 50 cents a hundred. 

Mr. Sparkman. What v.ork do you do in order to get 7 cents an 

Mr. Pierce. I plow and hoe. 

Mr. SpARKiNtAN. That is in the planting and the cultivation of 
the crop, isn't it? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

IVIr. Sparkman. What other members of your family work, if any ? 

Mr. Pierce. I have got two more workers in my family, and one 
of them gets the same an hour that I do and the other one gets 6 
cents an hour when he works. 

Mr. Sparkman. They are boys, are they? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. How old are they? 

Mr. Pierce. One is 16 and the other is 17. 

Mr. Sparkman. And that makes a total of 20 cents an hour that 
the three of you make when you are working? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you live on the place? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. You don't pay any rent, do you? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir; I don't pay no rent. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you have a garden? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir ; they give you a garden spot. 

]Mr. Sparkman. Do you raise any hogs for yourself? 

Mr. Pierce. Well, they don't hardly allow you to raise no hogs 
there. I have got hogs all right enough, I have got one : I ain't 
hardly allowed to have but one. You see, he can't run out and if you 
can't feed him, you can't do nuich with him and one is about all that 
I can keep up and feed. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you have a cow? 

Mr. Pierce. No, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman, Do you have any chickens? 

Mr. Pierce. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. I believe that is all, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. I thank you very much. You are excused. 

(Thereupon, Athev Pierce was excused.) 

The Chairman. The committee will stand adjourned until 2 o'clock. 

(Whereupon, at 12: 30 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m.) 

afternoon session AUGUST 14, 194 

(The committee reconvened at 2 p. m.) 

The Chairman. The committee will please come to order. 


James Earl Cambron is the next witness. Is he here? 

(No response.) ^^ ^ • i i q 

The Chairman. What about Dr. Hoffsommer— is he here ^ 

(No response.) 

(Discussion had off the record.) 


The Chairman. Is Samuel Friedberg present? 
(Mr. Friedberg came forward.) 
The Chairman. Give your name to the reporter. 
Mr Friedberg. :My name is Samuel Friedberg. 
The Chairman. Where do you live, Mr. Friedberg \ 
Mr. Friedberg. I live in Birmingham, Ala., 1516 Fifth Avenue 
North, Birmingham, Ala. . 

The Chairman. Congressman Osmers will examine you, Mr. 


]\Ir. Friedberg. All right. 

Mr. Osmers. Where were you born ? 

Mr. Friedberg. New York City. 

Mr. Osmers. AVhen? 

Mr. Friedberg. 1910. 

Mr. Osmers. Where did you receive your education ? 

IVIr. Friedberg. In New York City, at the College of the City of 
New York. 

]\Ir. Osmers. Did you graduate? 

]Mr. Friedberg. I did. 

Mr. Osmers. What, if anything, did you specialize in? 

]\Ir. Friedberg. I took history. 

Mr. Osmers. When did you leave college? 

Mr. Friedberg. I left college in the fall of 1932. 

Mr. Osmers. Will you tell the committee what you have been doing 
since that time? 

:Mr. Friedberg. I worked in New York City for a year and a half. 

]\Ir. Osmers. Doing what kind of work ? 

Mr. Friedberg. I obtained a position in a laundry, one of the larger 
laundries in New York City. 

]Mr. Os:mers. AVere you doing manual labor ? 

Mr. Friedberg. No ; as office manager. 

Mr. Osmers. I see. 

Mr. Friedbfjjg. AVlien that job gave out I obtained a job in West 
Virginia and I worked in West Virginia for GVo months. When this 
place closed down 

Mr. Osmers. What line of business was that ? 

]\Ir. Friedberg. That was in the clothing business. 

Mr. Osmers. Was it in a factory or in a retail establishment? 

Mr. Friedberg. It was in a retail clothing store. And when this 
Avork gave out, I went to another State and I tried to find employment 
there and I succeeded, and I stayed in that line of work for 8 or 9 


Mr. OsMERS. Where? 

Mr. Friedbekg. Illinois. 

Mr. OsMERS. And what kind of work were you dointj there? 

Mr. Friedberg. The same kind of work. I stayed in Illinois for 
8 or 9 months, and I lost that job also and finally my money ^ave out 
and I went over to Indiana, to Indianapolis — I believe it was the 
Indianapolis Unemployment Committee — and I enrolled there. I was 
given a blank, and I filled it out, and I Avas told to stay there and that 
they would subsequently find me a job. 

I explained to them that it would be rather hard for me to remain 
in the city as I didn't have too much money. Thereupon, they said, 
''There is nothing we can do about it." Finally, I was' forced to go 
on what they call the '"bum." I went from one State to another in 
search of employment, one city to another. If I did find employment 
in one city, the job would be of short duration. 

Mr. OsMERS. What was the nature of the various jobs that you 
had when you were on the road or on the ''bum," as you ])ut it? 

Mr. Friedberg. They were odd jobs of all types, all descriptions, all 
kinds of jobs that a fellow could take to keep him going and to keep 
him alive. 

]\Ir. Os^iERS. What are you doing now ? 

Mr. Friedberg. I am with the Salvation Army in Birmingham, 
Ala. I have been there for only a short time. 

Mr. Osmers. What is the nature of your job there? 

]\Ir. Friedberg. I am employed in the salesroom, I suppose you 
would call it, as foreman. 

Mr. OsMERS. Is that a regular job? 

Mr. Friedberg. Yes, sir; that is a regular job, they have from 25 
to 30 men who are regularly employed there. 

Mr. Osmers. How did you happen to end up in Montgomery? 

jVIr. Friedberg. You mean in Birmingham, don't you? 

Mr. Osmers. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. Friedberg. I was working for the Salvation Army in New 
Orleans and when the adjutant in charge of the social service branch 
there was transferred to Birmingham he asked me to accompany him 
to Birmingham. And that was about 8 weeks ago that I went to Bir- 
mingham, and I am down here today. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you have other men working under you? 

Mr. Friedberg. I have eight men immediately under me. These 
men are employed in various capacities. They have the job of baling, 
handling, and disposing of and selling the materials that come in to 
the Salvation Army there, such as waste paper, rags, furniture, and 
any other commodities. 

Mr. Osmers. In your travels around the country, have you met a 
great many others in substantially the same position that you were 

Mr, Friedberg. Well, any person traveling around, traveling on 
the road, is bound to come in contact with hundreds and hundreds of 
these men. Primarily, they are all in the same circumstances, 

Mr. Osmers. Would you tell us what you found as the major factor 
that contributed to these men taking to the road — traveling from 
place to place? 


Mr. Friedberg. Well, I believe I can best explain that by saying 
that most of the men on the road today are men who received a 
haphazard sort of trade training — yon might classify them as semi- 
skilled men. They did have a job, and when that job gave ont, they 
fonnd it impossible to find employment in that line; they were lost. 

]Mr. OsMERw. When they were on the road, were they looking for 
work in their own line, or were they looking for work in any line 
at all? 

Mr. Friedbekg. In the main, they did try to get work in their own 
line becanse it was the work that they knew best, and they did have 
the best chance of getting a job if one arose, but on the road, these 
men must take what is offered to them and where it is offered to them. 

]Mr. Osmers. Now, presuming that a man is in Montgomery this 
afternoon, what would persuade him to go from here to New Orleans, 
for example — if he were unemployed, I mean i 

Mr. Friedberg. Let us suppose that this man is entirely destitute, 
he has no funds — he probably doesn't have even the dollar that is 
refi[uired in some States to enable a man to stay in that State and 
still not be arrested. If he is entirely destitute, he must leave. He 
faces being arrested and being given an indeterminate sentence 
on a charge of "vagrancy," ranging from 8 to 30 days depending upon 
the discretion of the court. 

Mr. OsMERs. That is just a partial answer to what I had in mind. 
The reason that I mentioned the two specific places that I did was 
that I wanted to get your opinion as to why would a man leave here 
and imagine that there would be employment available for him in 
New Orleans, for example ? How would he hear about it ? 

Mr. Friedberg. He would either hear about it by word of mouth 
or else by just a hunch, a hope that when he got to New Orleans there 
would be a job there for him. 

Mr. Osmers. Would you say that the great majority of those men 
that you met on the road were honestly seeking work or trying to 
find employment or would you say that they were permanent floaters ? 

Mr. Friedberg. I would say that at least 55 or 60 percent of them 
are men who are honestly trying to find work, and that the remain- 
ing percentage are just floaters. 

^Ir. OsMERS. Why is it that they don't locate permanently some 
place and take up a regular job and stay with it? 

Mr. Friedberg. That would, of course, entail the necessity of hav- 
ing a regular job, and then they have no security of jobs. They don't 
know that they will be able to keep a job. They have no resources 
in case that job played out. They have no classification. They 
must drift because they can't stay in one place if they are without 

Mr. OsMERS. Would you say that it was the scarcity of jobs that 
explains their continual traveling? 

Mr. Friedberg. The scarcity of jobs is the main reason. 

Mr. OsMi RS. In the course of your own travels, have you met a 
great many men who were regular migrants, and I use that term to 
mean those who migrated with the seasons and with the crops. 


Mr. Friedberg. Yes, sir; I found quite a few men who traveled 
from one place to another, from one part of the country to another, 
following their trade or their line of work. Some of these men — 
well, you have your agricultural workers and they would travel, let 
us say, from the Southeastern part of the country over to the Mid- 
west in pursuance of their trade. 

Mr. OsMERS. You mean following the crops? 

Mr. Friedberg. Yes, sir; I mean following the crops as they come 
up. And then you have your mine workers who travel from the mine 
fields in West Virginia and come down South in the hope of finding 
work down here, and then you have your hotel and restaurant 
workers who travel from up North down South — they stay there in 
the summertime, in the North, and then they come down South in 
the wintertime. 

Mr. OsMER's. Now, this group of people who travel with the crops 
or who travel with the resort season, do they have or do they claim 
a residence in any one particular place? 

Mr. Friedberg. No; they don't. 

Mr. OsMERs. The committee has spent quite a little time on that 
subject. Have you had any experience at all with either the city, 
State, or Unitecl States employment offices? 

Mr. Friedberg. In my own experience, I have been to a few of 
them. In each instance, I have registered with the local office and 
hoped thereby to get a job. But, in the main, it didn't work out for 
one very good reason — you couldn't stay in a city long enough. I 
have found this, if there is any cliance of a job, they do give a bit 
of preference to these men who are in need, if you will explain to 
them about the circumstances. 

Mr. Osmers. You think that they are generally of help or assist- 

Mr. Friedberg. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. But not generally as good to the man that travels as 
to the man that is located in one place. 

Mr. Friedberg. I think that is right. 

Mr. Osmers. Can the relief agencies help with these migrant 
workers ? 

Mr. Friedberg. They can help a great deal, but it would come 
down to this — that they would, in some manner, have to maintain a 
place or an institution of some sort where they could keep these men 
off the road as much as possible. The inclination of a man to travel 
is due to his inability to find employment — for the most part, anyway. 
If they could keep him in one place until he could rehabilitate him- 
self, until he could find a job, then they would be doing a great 

Mr. Osmers. What are your annual earnings now? 

Mr. Friedberg. ]\Iy annual earnings now, taking into account room 
and board and wage comes to about $250 a year. 

Mr. Osmers. About $250 a year? 

Mr. Friedburg. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. What would you say your average annual earnings 
were when you were on the road moving from place to place and 
getting temporary employment? 


Mr. Friedberg. It might vary anywhere from $100 a year to $150 
per year depending upon your hick. 

Mr. OsMERS. Are you married or single ? 

Mr. Friedberg. I am single. ,, r^i • t ^ 

INIr OsMERs. That's all the questions I have, Mr. Chairman. Just 
a minute. Did you have any difficulty crossing any of the btate 

Mr Friedberg. No, sir ; you don't have difficulty in crossing State 
lines." As a matter of fact, the police are ahvays glad to have you 
leave one State to go to the other. 

Mr. OsMERS. How about the police of the State that you are going 
into ? Are they just as glad to have you come in ? 

Mr. Friedberg. As a rule, they don't see you when you come m. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do vou have a legal residence in any State ? 

Mr. Friedberg. Well, I suppose right now I wouldn't, because I 
have come from the State of Louisiana, and I had been there for 2 
years or a little longer, but I have only been in Alabama for 8 weeks 
now. That wouldn't give me a legal residence. 

Mr. OsMERS. And Louisiana wouldn't again receive you as one ot 
her own citizens? 

ISlr. Friedberg. I don't know just how long it is that you are al- 
lowed to stay away, but I know that it is a certain period of time. 

Mr. OsMERS. That's all that I have with this witness. 

The Chairman. You are excused. 
(Thereupon, Mr. Friedberg was excused.) 


The Chairman. Let the record show that Dr. Harold Hoffsommer, 
professor of sociology, Louisiana State University, will make a state- 
ment for the record at this time. We are glad to have you come here 
today. Doctor. Congressman Parsons will interrogate you. You 
have a copy of your statement already written out, I believe. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir; I have a copy of it right here. 

The Chairman. Just proceed the way that you want to. Would 
you want to summarize what you have in your statement? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I had perhaps better do that as it is a rather 
lengthy paper and it goes into some detail and covers several different 

The Chairman. We are familiar with the paper that you are sub- 
mitting and suppose you summarize it and we will check back on 
certain points and ask you some questions relative to certain features 
of your statement. 

(The statement referred to, parts of which were read into the 
record later by Dr. Hoffsommer, is as follows :) 


Statement by Dr. Harold Hofb'sommek. 

The information which I have that might be properly applied to the problems 
of interstate migration of destitute citizens falls under several broad headings: 

A. Changing agricultural conditions which tend to cause mobility of agri- 
cultural workers. 

1. Increasing population. 

2. Crop reduction. 

3. Mechanization. 

4. Specific crop conditions which demand a heavy labor supply during the 
harvest season. 

All of these items result in mobility of population. Since the range of modern 
transportation is consideralily extended by good roads and modern means of 
conveyance an increasing amomit of this mobility results in crossing State 
lines. "^ Obviously not all of these migrants are destitute citizens. On the other 
hand, economic poverty is well known to be a primary cause of much rural 
mobility. Once on the road available i-esources may soon be depleted and reli- 
ance on relief the only alternative. Greater ease in qualifying for relief in the 
home locality has sometimes acted as a deterrent to distant migrations although 
this is probably partially offset by rumors of jol>s or higher relief rates else- 

In dealing with migration it is necessary to keep in mind two general types 
of migrants, the confii'med migratory-casual laborer and the depression migrant. 
Depression migrants are more numerous in the South and also probably provide 
relatively greater relief problems. 

Basically, migration represents population movement in response to real or 
imagined differences in opportunity. In periods of prosperity this fact is never 
questioned. Migration in good times is obviously the response to a greater 
opportunity in some community other than the one of residence. In periods of 
depression, however, the opportunities of prosperous times, and particularly 
the economic opijortunities. approach the vanishing point in all communities. 
Nevertheless, relative opportunity remains the motive force back of depression 
migration, even though the response on the part of the migrant was largely the 
result of comparing the fact of no opportunity in the place of residence with 
the hope of some opportunity in another community.^ 

The following discussion illustrates how increased population, acreage reduc- 
tion and mechanization influence the movement of rural population. 


Birtli rates in the rural South are well known to he among the highest in 
the country ; and as pointed out by the National Resources Committee, the 
Southeast is a principal area of population replacement for the rest of the 
country. Prior to 1030, migration drained off most of the Increase in southern 
population, but these people are now confronted with unemployment in the 
cities and the absence of an agricultural frontier. Even if normal migration 
were resumed, the National Resources Committee computes that the resulting 
adjustment would still leave a hypothetical 4 or 5 million surplus population 
in tlie Southern States.' 

The relation of this population pressure situation to migration may possibly 
best be illustrated by the actual case of a Mississippi family. 

Mr. M, now past 65, emigi-ated from Nebraska to Covington County, Missis- 
sippi, as a young man of 20. Shortly after marriage, his wife, who was the 
daughter of a pioneer settler in the area, inherited 47 acres of land. On this 
they built a home and reared a family of .5 boys and 4 girls. The eldest child 
is now 40 and the youngest 16. Of the 47 acres in their farm, 30 are now 
in cultivation. 

^ John N. Webb and Malcolm Brown. Migrant Families, Research Monograph XVIII. 
Works Progress Administration, Washington, D. C 

- For further discussion along tliis line, see Harold Hoffsommer, Human Relations in 
the Changing Conditions of Southern Agriculture, a paper presented before the Southern 
Agricultural Workers, February 1040. Birmingham. Ala. In process of publication at 
Louisiana State University Experiment Station, University, La. 


Mr. M came to this section with a }?ood knowledge of farming, and although 
industrious he has had some difficulty in m.iking a living, ohviously parthiily 
because of his large family. At the present time he has a mortgage of $SUO on 
his farm, which will hardly he paid off during his lifetime. He and his wife, 
however, are getting along rather well, hut it is their five grown sons who create 
the problem. The father is getting old and needs help of one of these sons on 
the farm, but the other four are either largely out of work or dependent upon 
casual employment and relief. The farm income is insufficient to support them, 
and yet there seems to be no other definite occupation for which they are fitted 
or regular jobs available. So far as the local farming situation is concerned, 
the county agent reports that there are already a third too many farmers in the 

John, the eldest boy, worked on the farm as an unpaid family worker until 
James, the next eldest, was large enough to work. John then secured a job as 
clerk in the large sawmill nearby and remained there until 1930, when the mill 
'•cut oufi — to use a local expression — and liis jo'o ended. He has been largely 
unemployed since, with only occasional employment on the Works Progress 

James, the next son, married young and continued to farm and rear a family 
of his own, which necessitated George, next in line, to move out earlier. George 
managed to enroll in the C. ('. ('. and remained there until his age made him 
ineligible. He was stationed in California, and after a brief stay at home iu 
an effort to become readjusted after his discharge, hitchhiked hack to California 
and is among those unemployed there at present. His father has just received 
a letter that he will he back soon and requests that he help him find something 
to do. 

Wailter, nexr in line, after finishing high school, went to Hattiesburg, Miss., 
and lived with a sister who had married a mechanic in an auto-repair shop. 
He has never married and does odd jobs, painting, carpentering, etc., and 
manages to get along. 

Clyde stayed on the farm his required time and just this past year entered the 
C. C." C leaving the old gentleman with the youngest boy, who is now 16 and who 
will in all probability help his father through his last days. 

The three girls. INIyrtle, Kate, and Grace, all married well and live in Hatties- 
burg, a neighboring city. None of them married farmers. 

Mr. i\I has always taken an active part in the local church and school, and his 
family is regarded and respected as being one of the fine families of the com- 
munity. All of the children attended high school. 

This situation, on the level of individual family experience, illustrates the 
impact of an increasing population on the means of living in an area of limited 
agricultural, industrial, or other employment resources. 


No figures are available showing the total effect of the acreage reduction o)i 
mol)ility. There is considerable evidence, however, that a large number of 
cropper and tenant families have l)een affected. Some of these have moved to 
distant points outside of their former States of residence. Others have moved 
to nearby villages and now obtain their livelihood from relief and seasonal labor- 
The following case illustrates the situation of a Louisiana cotton farm. 

This farm has 115 acres of cropland and supported seven colored tenant 
families up until the ])eriod of cotton acreage control. The farm is now farmed 
by four tenant families. The circumstances under whicli each of the tenants 
moved off was explained in detail to me by the landlord. All of the families 
had lived on the farm for a number of years and the landlord knew intimately 
the characteristics and working abilities of each. Naturally some of these 
families were more suitable for the job than others. Thus when acreage was 
reduced and it l)ecame desirable to have fewer families on the farm the land- 
lord made it easy for the less effi'/ient tenants to' leave. These tenants were not 
evicted, and under other circumstances their leaving would fit perfectly into the 
pattern of mobility as found generally among these people. 

Of the three families who discontinued their former status with tlieir land- 
lord, one was that of an old Negro, too old to work satisfactorily. He is now 
pennitted to live, rent free, in the same cabin that he has occupied for a 



luiinber of years and receives old-age assistance from tlie parish welfare agency. 
This old man owes the landlord approximately $300 on back credit and furnish, 
but since he now has no way of earning money the landlord has little exijectancy 
of collecting the debt. It is quite agreeable to the landlord for this man and 
his aging wife to occupy the house since there is no other use for it. 

The case of the second tenant who discontinued his relation to the landlord 
is of a different nature. This man had certain family troubles and in the end 
separated from his wife. During the process, however, the family was broken 
up to such an extent that it did not constitute a suitable labor unit to do the 
work necessary to maintain the farm. As a result the family moved off. Since 
leaving the farm this man has made a suitable marital adjustment and is 
getting along satisfactorily on a neighboring farm. 

The third tenant who has discontinued his relation to this farm simply came 
to the conclusion that he could make more and would rather work for the 
W. P. A. than remain on the farm. He is now taking his chances on supporting 
himself and family from relief employment. 

Obviously the above account does not furnish all of the details that one might 
wish to know regarding the attitudes of landlord and tenants in the separations 
of these families from the land. But several points are fairly clear. The land- 
lord was convinced that the amount of cotton acreage which would have been 
available to each of his seven tenants after the introduction of the control 
program was not sufficient to support them. They would have averaged 6 acres 
of cotton per family, which he m;iintained was not enough to support a family. 
Consequently he looked for some way to relieve the situation. This was accom- 
plished as explained above. 

The pertinent facts are that 10 years ago there were 7 tenant families gaining 
a living off of these acres — now there are 4. It is inaccurate to say that these 
families have been displaced since one of them has retired and another is on 
a neighboring farm. The significant thing is that they are not being replaced. 
If such were the case there might conceivably be room for some of the sons 
mentioned in the previous illustration. But this landlord and thousands more 
like him are not making replacements. 


The relation of farm mechanization to labor displacement has been widely 
discussed. In a study now being carried on at the Louisiana Agricultural Ex- 
periment Station, 120 landlords from all parts of the State commented on the 
question : What effect will the iise of tractors and other labor-saving machinery 
have on leasing arrangements? The replies were clas.sified as follows: 


No effect 

No effect if handled ripht 

Result in more tenants 

Result in I'^'S' tenants 

Help the owners only 

Help the tenants only 

Help both owner and tenant 

No effect on small farms but would displace tenants on largo farms 
Other remarks, not classified J 






















It should be noted that the question does not specifically inquire into the 
matter of tenant disjjlacement. Nevertheless nearly 40 percent of those replying 
volunteered the information that increasing mechanization would decrease the 
number of tenants. 

Typical comments of landlords were as follows : 

(1) Bossier Parish: "If I did not have my Negroes on place that has been 
with me for a number of years I would prefer to work the place by tractor 
and hire the labor as I need it but I will keep my Negroes as long as they wish, 
to remain on place." 


(2) West Carroll Parish: "Mechanized farming will tend to displace tenants 
and cause landowners to use day laborers." 

(3) Caddo Parish: "I was fortunate in my decision to change from share- 
cropper to dav-labor basis in r.>33. Since that time I have greatly improved 

satisfied if he receives cash every Saturday." 

"Any business (including farming) must take advantage of anything that 
tends to lower the cost of production if they expect to operate at a profit. My 
experience with tractors has been very satisfactory and I believe that tractors 
will soon replace mules on the larger plantations; 1 tractor and driver will 
replace about 10 mules and 5 men." 

A certain amount of insight into the detail of just who these people are who 
have recently become separated from their usual relation to the land may be 
gotten from a study, now in process of publication, of 500 of these families now 
living in northeast Louisiana.^ 

The 500 families interviewed probably represent a fair cross section of those 
families who became separated from plantation activity during the period 1930- 
38 The purpose of the study was to find out who these people were and how 
they are now making a livelihood. In actually carrying out the study, how- 
ever, it was found practically impossible to sample in relative numbers the 
famiiies who were unemployed, working on W. P. A., those wlio had gotten in- 
dustrial or other tvpes of jobs, and those who had gone to other sections of the 
county in search o'f work. On the other hand, the greatest single congregation 
of these families was found to be on the edges of the upper iMississippi Delta 
where settlement had taken place on cut-over timberland in tracts averaging 
around 40 acres each. After considerable investigation it would appear that 
these families are representative in the main of all those families who became 
separated from Louisiana and Mississippi cotton farms during the period 

Certain pertinent facts stand out with respect to these families who have 
become separated from their usual relation to the land. In the first place 
although the bulk of these families had last lived within and immediately sur- 
rounding the area in which settlement took place, 62 of them came from 
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. Of those from Louisiana more than three- 
fourths caine from the Mississippi Delta and an additional number (20) from 
the Red River Valley. Less than one-fourth came from the hill section of the 

All interesting situation is observed in studying the location of the last plan- 
tation of the families migrating from Mississippi. In the light of the fact 
that the Mississippi River presents a tangible barrier to the migration of these 
people, it can be seen that the counties from which the families migrated 
group themselves somewhat about a point of entrance into Louisiana. The 
main gateways are the ferry just below Greenville in Washington County, the 
bridge at Vicksburg in Warren County, and the ferry at Natchez in Adams 

Somewhat similar to the above situation, the counties in Arkansas from 
which migrants came are located adjacent or near to the Louisiana parishes of 

The period of residence on the last farm of residence indicates something 
further of the general pattern of mobility among these families. The average 
period of residence was 3.6 years ; 3.5 years for the whites and 4.1 for colored. 
Although of the total group more than three-fourths had remained on the last 
farm of residence 4 years or less, it is significant that 5 percent of these 
families had been on these farms 9 or more years. In the case of the 
Negroes this percentage advanced to 12. Former croppers stayed on the pre- 
vious plantation for relatively shorter periods than the higher tenure groups. 
The data aLso indicate that these croppers had usually moved, during their 

'■ Harold Iloffsommer. New Ground Farmer.s in the Mississippi River Delta. A Social Study 
of .500 Former Cotton Tenants and Croppers. In process of publication by the Division 
of Farm Population and Rural Welfare, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 


farm experience, more often Ihan those of higher tenure status and that the 
whiter in all tenure classes had moved more frequently than the Negroes. 

Of equal importance with horizontal or spatial mobility of the settler is ver- 
tical mobilitv the movement of individuals from one position to another in 
social and/or economic status. One indication of vertical mobility is change 

"^of^the fiCM) settlers interviewed, two-thirds were formerly croppers (65.2 
percent) the remainder share and cash tenants, the latter comprising 6 per- 
cent. Negroes had been croppers to an even greater percent (73), and had 
been cash renters to a substantially less degree (3). o- ^ n 

The large bulk of the heads of the 500 families are in the age group 3o to 54 
These make up neaiiv 25 percent of the male population which is m excess of 
the male population of these age groups in the Delta parishes as a whole. 

Taking the whole group together one of its most striking features is its 
vouth The age groups under 20, both male and female, make up a dispropor- 
tionate part of the population pyramid. This group contains 53 percent of the 
male and 49 percent of the females. Similar age groups in the D?lta parishes 
as a whole contain 41 percent and 42 percent respectively of the population. 

' Rou°hly four out of five of these families are white. This shows a di.spro- 
portionate' number of whites as compared with the region. It could not be 
maintained that this represents an absolutely correct ratio of white and 
colored among these families but it is rather definite evidence that the whites 
are preponderant. Generally speaking, the average cotton farmer prefers 
colored to white croppers and tenants, which might, in some measure, account 
for this situation. ,, 4. . -.^ 

Of the 500 families studied only 22 were broken families, that is, either 
husband or wife absent. The fertility ratios for this group and for the Delta 
parishes as a whole show little difference. There are, however, significant 
racial differences. The fertility ratio for the white families of the cut-over 
area is higher than that for the white faiuilies of the Delta, while the fertility 
ratio of the Negro families is lower than that of the Negro families of the Delta 
parishes as a whole. The white fertility ratio for the Delta parishes is 717.8 
as compared with 446.0 for the Negroes. 

In general these families are slightly smaller than for the area in general. 
This might be expected, however, from their lower fertility ratio and the rela- 
tively young age grouping. Sixteen percent of the households are composed of 
but "two nrembers, with a relative preponderance in this group among the 
Negroes. Thirty-five percent of the families have three or fewer members. 
Large families are rare, only 5 percent have 8 or more members. These large 
families are relatively more frequent among the whites than among the Negroes. 
The educational status of these families leaves much to be desired although 
it would appear that they compare rather favorably with the corresponding 
population in the area. As compared with the laborers, croppers, and tenants 
in the sugar area of Louisiana, these families appear to have had somewhat 
better onportunitieS). Of the male heads of laborers, croppers and tenant 
families hi the sugar area, iiearlv one-half had received no formal education as 
compared with only 16 percent for the family heads in the group here under 

The disparity between the white and Negro heads is fairly wide, only b per- 
cent of the whites never having attended school as compared with 57 percent 
of the Negroes: 43.7 percent of all the settlers, men and women, have either 
never attended school or have not passed beyond the third grade. This group 
includes nearly a third of the whites and almost all of the Negroes. 

New ground farming in the Mississippi River delta represents one of several 
means bv which families who have been unsuccessful as tenants or croppers 
on other" farms are attempting to make a new adjustment. Most of these people 
are relatively young, have had no experience other than farming and have mi- 
grated only a short distance. The bulk of them are white and there are exceed- 
ingly few "broken homes. They have come to the new ground farms from larger 
farms on which they were for" the most part sharecroppers. A number of them 
had been laborers at a previous period in their careers but none reported the 
status of laborer immediately prior to settling on the new ground. The pre- 
sumption here is that agricultural wage laborers, either part or full time, 
would hardly attempt such a difficult task as clearing and breaking new ground 


so long as some support was available from their old jobs. The new ground 
settlers have made a clean break with their previous agricultural connection. 
For most of them there was no alternative. They knew of nowhere else to 
turn. Few had any managerial experience; few had cash for a down payment 
on the land, not to mention the means for living. With mounting interest and 
the general uncertainties of their agricultural situation their task is indeed 
difficult. They are, however, a relatively young group and probably of more 
than average initiative, else they would hardly try such a hard task. In view 
of their attempt to help themselves, as contrasted with such a large proportion 
of the disadvantaged who rely on others, it would seem that every aid and 
encouragement which may be extended to them would be well placed. 

So far the discussion has dealt with the general changes in agricultural con- 
ditions which give rise to migration. It remains to show the relation of migra- 
tion to specific crop needs. The volume and distance of migration of harvest 
labor is contingent not only upon the specific labor needs of a given crop or 
locality but also on the availability of a labor supply in that locality. 

It has already been stated that the South is faced with a problem of excess 
population. Many agricultural workers, unable to maintain their conventional 
relation to the laud because of acreage reduction or mechanized farming have 
moved to nearby villages where they constitute an available labor supply for 
harvest season labor for the surrounding area. It would seem therefore that 
increasing mechanization need not result in any great increase in migratory 
casual workers but might be expected to result in more short range commuting 
from villages to surrounding farming areas during the rush seasons. Although 
quantitative data are unavailable, recent visits to the Mississippi delta incline 
the writer to the belief that cotton growers are increasingly depending for their 
pickers on the laborers residing in nearby villages. Most of these laborers are 
Negroes and Negroes for the most part have not entered the streams of migra- 
tory-casual laborers in the South. Cane growers in the Louisiana sugar bowl 
have long since depended on a fairly local labor supply for the cane-cutting 


The work on a sugarcane plantation may be roughly divided into four 
seasons:* (1) The planting season which is centered about the period from 
the middle of September to the middle of October: (2) the cultivating season 
which extends from February to about July 1; (3) the general farm work 
season after the crop has been "laid by" extending from July 1 to early 
October. This period is largely taken up with general work about the farm, 
ditching, and draining, gathering corn, cutting hay, hauling in wood and the 
preparation of the land for fall planting; (4) the grinding or cutting season, 
sometimes referred to as the "rush" season, extends roughly from the mid- 
dle of October to the first of the year. During this period it is necessary for 
the farm operator to bring in a considerable amount of outside help for the 
purpose of harvesting his crop. The time for harvesting the crop is limited by 
the general nature of the seasons but the normal harvesting period is often 
interrupted by untimely frosts and rains. 

The sugarcane farm is conducted largely on a laborer basis, that is to say, 
laborers residing in "quarters" on the farm. These are referred to as resident 
laborers. Many of the farms have tenants and share croppers, but the pre- 
vailing method of conducting the plantation is on the labor basis. Of a total 
of 1,086 families (exclusive of owners and special workers) living on 100 farms 
farms studied, 83 percent were resident laborers, 3 percent sharecroppers, and 
14 percent tenants. 

Some of the chief reasons given by planters for preferring the resident laborer 
type of farm organization were that resident laborers are better workers, more 
dependable, and that they are more accessible for work when needed than other 
types of laborers and tenants. 

*The following: statement on the general orsanization of the sugarcane farm is adapted 
from the author's bulletin. The Sus?ar Cane Farm, A Social Study of Labor and Tenancy, 
Louisiana Bulletin No. .S20. Other phases of the sub.ieet will be dealt with in forthcoming 
bulletins now in preparation entitled, "The Resident Laborer on the Sugar Cane Farm and 
Seasonal Sugar Cane Laborers." 

260370—40 — pt. 2 5 


A major consideration, therefore, on the sugar plantation is the resident 
laborer, whose position is somewhat analogous to that of the sharecropper 
on the cotton plantation. In contrast to the sharecropper, however, the resident 
laborer is paid wages rather than a share of the crop and works on the sugar 
plantation at large rather than on an acreage assigned particularly to him. He 
normally receives certain perquisites from his lantUord such as house, garden 
space, wood, and use of team for plowing his garden and hauling wood much 
the same as the cotton sharecropper. In distinction to the dispersed dwellings 
of the cotton croppers, however, the resident laborers' dwellings typically form 
a group of houses at some convenient location on the plantation, usually near 
the sugar mill if the plantation has such. 

In addition to resident laborers, the plantation operator must also utilize non- 
resident or independent laborers during the cutting season. These he pro- 
cures from rather close around, but in some instances it is necessary on the 
larger plantations to import laborers by truck from neighboring parishes or 
even from a neighboring State. The nonresident laborers may be classed in two 
groups: Those who own their homes and those who do not. Roughly, two- 
thirds own their own homes and commonly have a small garden plot in connec- 
tion. It is this group which forms the mainstay and most constant supply of 
seasonal labor for the farms, reporting back as they do to the same farms year 
after year to work during the harvest season. In some instances, the farm 
owner takes a certain amount of responsibility for these laborers during the 
off-seasons but this practice is not typical. The relative stability of this source 
of seasonal labor is indicated by the average length of residence in their present 
houses, which for the home owners was 16 years and for the nonowners, 5 years. 
Roughly, only 3 percent of the 303 laborers in the present sample had ever had 
a farming tenure status other than that of laborer. 

In general, the labor demand is heaviest in the last 3 months of the year 
which constitutes the harvest season. It is lightest in the summer months of 
July, August, and September just preceding the harvest season. This slack 
season is the period after which the cane has been laid by. 

Roughly speaking, the demand is three times greater in December, the busiest 
month, than in July and August, the slackest months. 

As a general thing, the farmers who gi'ow sugarcane almost exclusively and 
have very little need for labor during certain seasons make a special effort 
during these slack seasons to give their resident laborers at least a day or two 
of work each week even though some of this work may not be particularly 
necessary at the time. For this reason it is probable that the variations in 
demand for labor in sugarcane, so far as the actual needs of the crop are con- 
cerned, have even a greater fluctuation than these data would seem to indicate. 
For the most part, resident laborers on a sugar farm work only on that par- 
ticular farm. Only 7 out of the 7.j owners reporting stated that any of their 
resident laborers worked elsewhere during any part of the year. Since the 
slack season occurs at the same time for all farms, naturally it would be diffi- 
cult for field laborers to secure work elsewhere during this period. 

Roughly one-half of the total days of labor were concentrated in the three 
harvest months of October, November, and December. 

It has already been pointed out that a part of the labor used in the produc- 
tion of sugarcane resided oft" the farm. These ncniresident laborers contributed 
roughly one-third of the total days of labor during the year. Their greatest 
contribution was during the harvest season. During the months of October, 
November, and December more than one-half of the days of labor were con- 
tributed by nonresident laborers. 

This dropped to less than 10 percent for the months of January and February, 
with July and August showing 11 and 13 percent, respectively. 

The above figures include members of both races, females and children. Of 
the total number of days worked, 82 percent were contributed by men, 15 per- 
cent by women, and 3 percent by children. 

Obviously the demand for resident labor is much steadier than that for non- 
resident. As has been already pointed out, nonresident laborers are brought in 
largely for work during the grinding season. Resident laborers, on the farm 
the year around, put in more days during this season, but their labor is distrib- 
uted more evenly over the entire year. It should be understood that in the case 


of the resident laborers the operator maintains the same number throughout the 
year but that during the shielv season the employment given them is at mini- 
mum, and since they are paid by the day their earnings fluctuate accordingly. 
August is the lightest mouth and December the heaviest, the former affording 
6 6 percent of the resident days for the year and the latter 11.7 percent. 

Roughly three-fourths of all nonresident labor employed is employed during 
the months of October, November, and December with employment reaching its 
peak in November. More than 25 percent of the total days of nonresident labor 
is emploved during that month as contrasted with less than 2 percent in each 
of the niouths of July and August. Other than the grinding season the great- 
est demand for nonresident laborers comes during the cultivating season in the 
months of IMarch, April, and -May, but this demand is relatively light. 

One-half of the nonresident laborers came from a distance of 5 or less miles. 
Larger growers tended to get relatively more laborers from distances over 10 
miles. Only 3 out of S9 growers stated that they went outside of the State to 
get anv of their nonresident laborers. 

A study of more than 300 of these independent laborers living in and close 
around the Sugar Bowl area show that they do a variety of jobs during the 
interim between cane-cutting seasons. On the other hand it would appear that 
they made considerably more at cane cutting than at any of the other jobs. 
They reported living an average distance of only a mile and a half from the 
cane fields where they worked and reported no jobs more than 3 miles from- 
home. Practically all of them were Negroes. Other day-wage jobs reported by 
these laborers were, in the order of their frequency : hoeing and plowing cane, 
cane-factorv work, hauling cane, direct and work relief, harvesting corn, cutting, 
rice, ditching, picking moss, cutting hay, clearing land, various jobs in town, 
derrick work, picking cotton, digging potatoes, grassing rice, making railroad 
ties, cleaning yards, railroad work, construction work, sawmill work, and hoeing 
cotton. More" than three-fourths of the planters obtained their harvest-season 
laborers through personal search. 

One of the most persistent problems in the Sugar Bowl is that of providing 
sufficient year-round employment to support the labor population in the area. 


Strawberry production is highly seasonal and demands a disproportionate 
labor supply" during the picking season. In the Hammond, La., area this season 
lasts for about 6 weeks during the months of March to May. There are roughly 
3,500 strawberry farms in the area with a total estimated labor demand of 
17,000 pickers during the harvest season. Probably 7,000 of these pickers are 
supplied by the operator's family, the remaining 10,000 being hired from the 
outside. These figures must be interpreted as tentative since the seasons vary 
greatly from year to year and also since accurate data on the total labor de- 
mand are unavailable. Estimating from a sample study during the harvest 
season of 1939 it would appear that during a normally good strawberry season, 
from 1,500 to 2,500 laborers are imported into this area from outside the State 
for harvesting the crop. Of these roughly one-half come from across the line in 
nearby Mississippi. 

During the 1939 picking season, 52 growers in the Hammond area were 
interviewed with respect to their labor supply. These 52 producers hired a 
total of 301 workers some hiring as high as 20 laborers at one time. Of the total 
304 workers, 48 or 16 percent came from States other than Louisiana. Twenty 
percent resided locally in the county in which they were working and the 
remaining 65 percent came from adjoining counties in Louisiana. The em- 
ployers of 37 of these laborers reporting on the method by which they had 
made contact with the laborers stated that three-fourths of them had been 
contacted bv personal search of the employer and the remaining one-fourth had 
applied at "the farm for work. In most instances where the growers sought 
out their laborers personally the laborers came from the adjoining State of 

More detailed information as to the identity of these laborers was secured 
through interviews with 87 of the out-of-State laborers themselves. Roughly, 
one-half of these, 39, gave Mississippi as their permanent residence. Residents 


from other States in the order of their numbers were Alabama and Arkansas 
with 8 each, Missouri, Texas, Kentucliy, Tennessee, California, Georgia, North 
Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin, 
One had no permanent address. 

The color of the out of State laborers was roughly equally divided, 40 of the 
87 being Negro. More than 9 out of 10 of the Negro workers, however, come 
from the neighboring State of Mississippi and do not in this sense qualify 
as migrants. Of the 47 out-of-State white laborers, only 2 came from Missis- 
sippi, the remainder coming from more distant States. The long-distance 
migrants therefore are composed almost entirely of white people. 

Three out of four of these migrants had no families with them. Of those 
who had families along all but one reported that one or more members other 
than the head worked for wages. For those families with other than the head 
working, the average additional workers was two, with five additional workers 
the largest number reported. Roughly, one-half of the heads with families 
reported nonworkers in these families but, as indicated above, these families 
also included additional workers save in one case. 

Less than 1 out of 15 of the migrants reported dependents at home. It is 
fairly obvious therefore that these workers are a relatively foot-loose group, 
Where there were families there was nearly without exception more than 1 

The total number of States in which these laborers had worked from .January 
1938 to March 1939, the time of the interview, varied from two to five. One 
out of three stated that they followed the same route of work each year. 
This suggests that the patterns of migration of this group are not very definitely 
set. Many of them are young people without a previous occupational history 
and appear to be traveling about to see the country as much as anything else. 

Most of them expect to settle down in the future. Several stated that they 
purposely did not follow the same route each year because they wished to 
see more of the country. However, some of the older workers appear to be real 
migrant laborers, following the crops and sticking to the same route year after 
year several reporting that they had been doing this for as much as 10 years. 

The occupational background of these people is extremely varied. Many of 
them have had a great variety of jobs and it is difficult to classify them m 
any one occupation. It would appear, however, that roughly 4 out of 10 
have definitely followed agricultural occupations most of their lives. Three 
reported that they had been owners, 2 tenants, 10 croppers, and 20 farm labor- 
ers In the case* of the croppers a part of them were cropping that year and 
only working away from their crop during the off season. On the other hand, 
some of these agricultural workers seem to have been displaced from their 
regular agricultural connection through mechanization and several reported 
restricted cotton acreage as the cause of their displacement. 

The occupational background of the other than agriculturalists varies very 
greatlv The following are illustrations : Bell hop, machinist, cowboy, railway 
laborer truck driver, ship carpenter, tailor, longshoreman, sawmill laborer, 
teacher, industrial worker, carpenter's helper, textile worker, steel worker, and 

fisherman. , , -,. ■, j_ ^ ^ 

Of the total group of workers 1 out of 7 stated that they did not expect to 
settle down anywhere permanently. Many of them seem to be pessimistic as 
to their possibilities and therefore have adopted a fatalistic attitude. They live 
from day to day, realizing that their condition is unsatisfactory but feeling 
helpless "to improve it ; 1 out of 12 of these workers had a relief history. 


The data herewith presented were gathered largely in Concordia Parish, La. 
The labor conditions in this parish are assumed to be typical of those for the 
delta .section along the Mississippi River in the States of Louisiana, Missis- 
sippi, and Arkansas. A total of 27 plantation operators and 254 of their 
farm laborers were personally interviewed during the month of September 
1937 Of the 254 farm-labor schedules secured, 244 were Negro. 

The large cotton plantations continue today in the same areas of Concordia 
Parish that had large slave holdings and large cotton plantations in 1860. The 
Negro slaves who formerly worked most of the plantation land have been re- 
placed by the Negro and white wage hands and tenant farmers. 


More than 90 percent of the farm laborers were born either in Louisiana 
or across the line in Mississippi. Fewer were 65 years of age or over than 
in the total Negro population of the parish or the Negro population of the 
State and more of the laborers were from 20 to 34 years than in these other 

Slightly over half of the Negro farm laborers had dependents, the average 
number for the whole group being 1.2. Of those who had dependents the 
average number was twice as large, or 2.4. The separated families had the 
largest number of dependents while the widowed and single groups had the 
smallest. Using the number of dependents as a rough index to the size of 
family, it appears that Negro farm laborers have neither large families nor a 
disproportionately high fertility. More than one-half of the Negro children 
between tlie ages of 10 and 14 were working, although the average contribu- 
tion to the households for all dependents was less than $20. One-fifth of the 
children between 5 and 9 years of age were working. 

The Negro farm-laborer family derives its total income from several sources. 
In 33 percent of the cases other members of the household contx'ibuted to the 
total income, 40 percent received a part of their income from sharecropping, 
29 percent received a part from nonagricultural labor, and 12 percent a part 
from direct and work relief. The total average cash income for Negro males 
from all sources and including the earnings of dependents was $178. One-half 
of them made $150 or less, a third from $150 to $200, and the remainder 
(15 percent) upward of $250. The laborers in the higher total income brackets 
receive a greater percentage of their income from nonagricultural sources than 
those earning the lower incomes. In general, it appears that a minimum only 
is made from agricultural labor. Additional income must come from elsewhere. 
The larger portion of the laborers had an income of less than $150 from agri- 
culture. The laborers who had been on either direct or work relief during 
the past year received twice as much of their total income from relief as from 
agricultural employment. Of the total reporting, 72 percent received per- 
quisites of one kind or another. 

The majority of the Negro laborers obtained their jobs by personal search. 
None reported using an employment agency. The majority of operators also 
reported obtaining their laborers by personal search or by sending an em- 
ployee to recruit them. The time and the expense lost by both laborers and 
oiierators would be appreciably reduced were there a coordination of place- 
ment facilities in this area. 

The amount of labor employed on the cotton plantations fluctuates markedly 
from season to season. During the slackest months the number of laborers 
employed averaged 6 per plantation while during the busiest months it rose to 
40. Because of cotton picking, the month of September offers nearly 7 times as 
much employment to hired laborers as the other months. The crop season 
offers about one-fourth as much employment as the harvest season. 

The cotton plantations offer approximately 26 weeks of employment during 
the crop and harvest season. The average length of harvest employment was 
10 weeks, and crop season employment 16 weeks. The Negro farm laliorers 
had held on the average of two wage-paid jobs during the preceding year. 


Covington County is located in the south central section of Mississippi and 
is representative in general of the cut-over area of the State. 

E. R. Seminary, R. F. D., 26 years old, his wife, 17 years, and a baby, 8 
months, lived in a house rent free. He walks 2 miles morning and evening and 
draws $15 per month as wage hand. He furnishes his own living. 

J. S.. single, 22 years of age, works for D. C. as wage hand and draws $10 
per month. He is furnished a bed and meals. 

O. H.. single and 17 years of age, works for H. G. as wage hand and draws 
$8 per month. He is furnished bed and meals. 

J. G., 30 years of age, single, works for W. M. and receives $10 per month 
and board. He lives with a brother who furnishes him a place to stay. 


Mr. Parsons. I read Dr. Hoffsommer's statement with a great deal 
of interest and I wish to state for the record that he has covered two 


or three phases of the problem very well. Your paper, I think, is a 
splendid contribution to the committee. There may be one or two 
of the members here that have not had an opportunity to read it 
carefully, and I would like to have you summarize your statement 
for the benefit of the full committee. 

Dr. HorrsoMMER. The information which I have that might be 
properly applied to the problems of interstate migration of destitute 
citizens falls under several broad headings : 


A. Changing agricultural conditions which tend to cause mobility 
of agricultural workers. 

1. Increasing population. 

2. Crop reduction. 

3. Mechanization. 

Now, with respect to those three points, I have attempted to treat 
the matter of increasing population on the level of the individual 
family. I don't believe that I have anything to add to what Dr. 
Vance very ably gave this morning, excepting I do take a typical 
Mississippi family and show what happened to the children in that 
particular family. 

Mr. Parsons. "I think that might be of interest if you would illus- 
trate that case for us. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I have discussed that under the heading of In- 
creasing Population. 

Birth rates in the rural South are well known to be among the 
highest in the country ; and as pointed out by the National Resources 
Committee, the Southeast is a principal area of population replace- 
ment for the rest of the country. Prior to 1930 migration drained 
oif most of the increase in southern population, but these people are 
now confronted with unemployment in the cities and the absence of 
an agricultural frontier. 

Even if normal migration were resumed, the National Resources 
Committee computes that the resulting adjustment would still leave 
a hypothetical four or five million surplus population in the Southern 


The relation of this population pressure situation to migration may 
possibly best be illustrated by the actual case of a Mississippi family. 

Mr. M, now past 65, immigrated from Nebraska to Covington 
County, Miss., as a young man of 20. Shortly after marriage, his 
wife, who was the daughter of a pioneer settler in the area, inherited 
47 acres of land. On this they built a home and reared a family of 
5 boys and 4 girls. The eldest child is now 40 and the youngest 16. 
Of the 47 acres in their farm, 30 are now in cultivation. 

Mr. M came to this section with a good knowledge of farming, 
and, although industrious, he has had some difficulty in making a 
living, obviously partially because of his large family. At the pres- 
ent time he has a mortgage of $800 on his farm, which will hardly 


be paid off during his lifetime. He and his wife, however, are get- 
ting along rather well, but it is their five grown sons who create the 

The father is getting old and needs the help of one of these sons 
on the farm, but the other four are either largely out of work or 
dependent upon casual employment and relief. The farm income is 
insufficient to support them and yet there seems to be no other definite 
occupation for which they are fitted or regular jobs available. So 
far as the local farming situation is concerned, the county agent 
reports that there are already a third too many farmers in the 

John, the eldest boy, worked on the farm as an unpaid family 
worker until James, the next eldest, was large enough to work. John 
then secured a job as clerk in a large sawmill nearby and remained 
there until 1930 when the mill ''cut out'' — to use a local expression — 
and his job ended. He has been largely unemployed since with only 
occasional employment on the Works Progress Administration. 

James, the next son, married young and continued to farm and 
rear a family of his own which necessitated George, next in line, to 
move out earlier. George managed to enroll in the C. C. C. and 
remained there until his age made him ineligible. He was stationed 
in California and after a brief stay at home in an effort to become 
readjusted after his discharge, hitchhiked back to California and is 
among those unemployed there at present. His father has just re- 
ceived a letter that he will be back soon and requests that he help him 
find something to do. 

Walter, next in line, after finishing high school, went to Hatties- 
burg. Miss., and lived with a sister who had married a mechanic in 
an auto repair shop. He has never married and does odd jobs, 
painting, carpentering, etc., and manages to get along. 

Clyde stayed on the farm his required time and just this past year 
entered the C. C. C, leaving the old gentleman there with the 
youngest boy, who is now 16 and who will in all probability help, his 
father through his last days. 

The three girls. Myrtle, Kate, and Grace, all married well and live 
in Hattiesburg, a neighboring city. None of them married farmers. 

Mr. M. has always taken an active part in the local church and 
school, and liis family is regarded and respected as being one of the 
fine families of the community. All of the children attended high 

This situation, on the level of individual family experience, illus- 
trates the impact of an increasing population on the means of living 
in an area of limited agricultural, industrial, or other employment 

Mr. Parsons. Is that illustrative case typical of hundreds of thou- 
sands of families in the southeastern region ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I thiuk it is typical in the sense that the children 
don't know exactlv what to do. The size of the family is not typical. 
It is an extraordinarily large family, but it is good for illustrative 
purposes. Smaller families are up against the same thing. 


Mr. Parsons. I notice one or two other typical cases of family 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Yes, sir. 


Mr. Parsons. Your statement with reference to mechanization im- 
pressed me particularly. Would you care to elaborate upon that 
question of mechanization? I understand that you are making an 
extensive study of that question and that a report will be made later 
on but I thought that j^ou might have some pertinent figures at the 
present time that you could give to the committee. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. The study, as indicated, is not completed. I would 
be glad to reiterate the figures which I have already put into the 
record for the benefit of the committee. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you expect that study to be completed and the 
report finished this fall, Doctor ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Yes, sir ; it will be finished some time in the winter. 

Mr. Parsons. Will you see to it that the committee has a copy of 
that when it is completed ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Yes, sir; I shall. 

Mr. Parsons. It will be a very fine contribution to the committee, 
I am sure. You may proceed with your discussion of mechanization. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. The relation of farm mechanization to labor dis- 
placement has been widely discussed. In a study now being carried 
on at the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, 120 landlords 
from all parts of the State commented on the question : What effect 
will the use of tractors and other labor-saving machinery have on 
leasing arrangements? The replies were classified as follows: No 
effect, 35.8 percent; no effect if handled right, 5 percent; result in 
more tenants, 5 percent ; result in less tenants, 39.2 percent. 

There are several other classifications of very small percentages 
which I will omit. 

It should be noted that the question does not specifically inquire 
into the matter of tenant displacement. Nevertheless, nearly 40 per- 
cent of those replying volunteered the information that increasing 
mechanization would decrease the number of tenants. 

Mr. Parsons. What percentage would be your guess, from your 
studies that you have made, that mechanization will displace farm 
labor ? 

Dr. HoFFsoMMER. What percentage of the total number of present 
laborers would be displaced? 

Mr. Parsons. Yes, sir. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I would not like to attempt to make a statement 
on that. I could refer to one or two studies that have been attempted 
on that subject in order to make a statement in regard thereto; one, 
a study made by Mr. Thibodeaux, of the Bureau of Agricultural Eco- 
nomics, on the mechanization in the Delta area is a very good state- 
ment on that subject. The effect of mechanization, of course, is diffi- 
cult to determine since it takes place under varying conditions and 
degrees of intensity. 


Mr. Parsons. Some statement was issued by a foundation that was 
mak ncr^a study of this problem last year that during the period 1929 
To 939^Lann labor, Manpower had been displaced to the extent of 
41 perce t by mechanization. Now, that is a very high percent- 
aie-e?en if it is half that much, even if it is only 20 or 22 percent 
it^'reseSs a very serious unemployment problem, lou would guess 
that it would be at least 20 percent, would you ^ 

I 1 HorrsoMMER. I would certainly guess it as high as that 
However, it would be a pure guess upon my observation which leads 
me to believe that it is that much. 


Mr Parsons. Doctor, you have been in the sugarcane country of 
LouSiam and I would like for you to touch upon that subject and 
d^Tscu^s^at employment problems they have in that locality and 
what pr^^lls the/have in obtaining their laborers and what are 
the health conditions existing m that area. . , 

' Dr HorrsoMMER. With your permission, I will f-;;^,; ^-^^^^^^^^ 
ground of sugar farming as I presume many of the.e people heie 
have no idea of the seasons, and so forth. 

Mr Parsons. Very well ; proceed as you see tit. 

Dr HOEESOMMER. The work on a sugarcane plantation may be 
roughly divided into four seasons: First, the planting season, which 
s centered about the period from the middle of September to the 
middle of October; second, the cultivating season, which extends 
Som February to about July 1; third, the general-farm-work season 
after the farm has been "laid by," extending from July 1 to eaily 
October This period is largely taken up with general work about 
the farm, ditching and draining gathering corn cutting hay, haulmg 
in wood, and the preparation of the land for fall plantmg Fomth, 
the orinding or cutting season, sometimes referred to as the rusli 
sea^mi extends roughly from the middle of October to the first ot 
theN^ear During this period, it is necessary for the farm operator 
to bring in a considerable amount of outside help for the purpose ot 
harvestino- his crop. The time for harvesting the crop is limited by 
the general nature of the seasons, but the normal harvesting period is 
often interrupted by untimely frosts and rains. . ,, , • 

The suo-arcane farm is conducted largely on a laborer basis, that is 
to say, laborers residing in quarters on the farm. These are referred 
to as resident laborers. Many of the farms have tenants and share- 
croppers, but the prevailing method of conducting the plantation is 
on the laborer basis. Of a total of 1,086 families (exclusive ot 
owners and special workers) living on 100 farms studied, 83 percent 
were resident laborers, 3 percent sharecroppers, and 14 percent 


The major consideration, therefore, on the sugar plantation is the 
resident laborer, whose position is somewhat analogous to that of the 
sharecropper on the cotton plantation. In contrast to the share- 
cropper, however, the resident laborer is paid wages rather than a 
share of the crop and works on the sugar plantation at large rather 


than on an acreafje assigned particnlarly to him. He normally re- 
ceives certain perquisites from his landlord, such as house, garden 
space, wood, and use of team for plowing his garden and hauling 
wood much the same as the cotton sharecropper. In distinction to 
the dispersed dwellings of the cotton croppers, however, the resident 
laborers' dwellings typically form a group of houses at some con- 
venient location on the plantation, usually near the sugar mill if the 
plantation has such. 

In addition to resident laborers, the plantation operators must also 
utilize nonresident or independent laborers during the cutting sea- 
sons. These he procures from rather close around but in some in- 
stances it is necessary on the larger plantation to import laborers by 
truck from neighboring parishes or even from a neighboring state. 
The nonresident laborers may be classed in two groups: Those who 
own their homes and those who do not. Roughly, two-thirds own 
their own homes and commonly have a small garden plot in 

Mr. Parsons. Do they own homes on nearby plantations? 

Dr. HorrsoMMER. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. That is more or less the resident labor ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. By resident labor, I mean those who are living 
on the actual plantation and who receive definite perquisites from 
the plantation operator; they work the year around and live there 
the year around. 

Mr. Parsons. They spend three-fourths of the year working in 
the sugarcane alone. 

Dr. HoFTSOMMER. All the work that they get they get from the 
sugarcane farm. 

Mr. Parsons. What is the average revenue per family of that 

Dr. HoFFSOMiMER. I have very detailed informatiori of that type 
which is published and I would refer to my publication, The Sugar- 
cane Farm, bulletin No. 320, Louisiana Experiment Station which 
shows the average income for the families that we studied. I be- 
lieve that it was somewhere around $250, but I would like to have 
that corrected by the actual figures. 

Mr. Parsons. Is the house to live in, heat or food or anything 
else furnished to the individual laborer or individual family? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. All of them have houses to live in furnished, 
and almost all of them have a little garden plot and a very high 
percentage of them receive wood and a team for doing the neces- 
sary operations in connection with their gardening and the hauling 
of the wood. 

Mr. Parsons. If that were counted in in addition to the cash that 
thev receive, the revenue would probably run up to as much as $350 
or ^400 per year, would it not ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. It is very difficult to estimate the value of those 
perquisites. In the study that we have recently completed, the 
owners' valuation of the perquisites and the people who received them 
were very greatly different, but I presume that $75 would just about 
cover the situation in that regard. 


Mr. Parsons. That is furnished by the phmtalion owner 2 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. That covers the sugar phmtations. Now, in Hawaii, 
they have big plantations that have central points where all of 
their labor lives; they may be Japanese or Chinese or they may be 
Hawaiians, or a mixture. Now, these laborere on these large plan- 
tations over there are furnished their quarters by the plantation 
owners and they are equipped with electricity. It is figured that 
their total pay wage on a 300-day year basis was about $2.40 per day, 
including what is furnished them free by the plantation owner. Of 
course, in that case, there are a few big corporations that own prac- 
tically all of the land and they take care of these croppers very 
economically for themselves, but after all, if it had to be paid for 
by the individual laborer, his house rent and otlier things that are 
furnished, it w^ould run four or five hundred dollars per year that 
the company furnishes, and I assume that you have some of those 
conditions existing in Louisiana. 


Now, you mentioned something about the handling of the Louisiana 
strawberry situation and labor and crops. Please comment on that, 
as to what problems it presents. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I may say that it is claimed, and I think that it 
is essentially correct, that about 40 percent of all the strawberries 
shipped to market come from this Hammond, La., strawberry area. 

Strawberry production is highly seasonal and demands a dispro- 
portionate labor supply during the picking season. In the Ham- 
mond area, this season lasts for about 6 weeks during the months of 
March to May. There are roughly 3,500 strawberry farms in the 
area, with a total estimated labor demand of 17,000 pickers during the 
harvest season. Probably 7,000 of these pickers are supplied by the 
operators' families, the remaining 10,000 being hired from the outside. 
These figures must be interpreted as tentative since the seasons vary 
greatly from year to year, and also since accurate data on the total 
h.bor demand are unavailable. Estimating from a sample study dur- 
ing the harvest season of 1939, it would appear that during a normally 
good strawberry season, from 1.500 to 2,500 laborers are imported into 
this area from outside the State for harvesting the crops. Of these, 
roughly one-half come from across the line in nearby Mississippi. 

During the 1939 picking season, 52 growers in the Hammond area 
were interview^ed with respect to their labor supply. These 52 pro- 
ducers hired a total of 304 workers, some hiring as high as 20 laborers 
at one time. 

Mr. Parsons. What would the pay for these laborers run during the 
strawberry picking season ? 

D)-. Hoffsommer. I think they would make — I have got detailed 
information on that, but I believe that it would run about $1.50 per 

Mr. Parsons. How long is the season ? 

Dr. Hoffsommer. For about 6 weeks. 

Mr. Parsons. Those laborers are about 40 percent in the vicinity 
and about 60 percent imported, I believe you said? 


Dr. HorrsoMMER. Yes, sir ; imported from outside ; however, as to 
those imported from the outside, I stated about one-half of those 
come from the adjacent State of Mississippi, and possibly they don't 
come as far as they would from other sections of Louisiana. 

Mr. Parsons. Are they pretty much the same people each year or 
of the same families or members of the same families or from the same 
communities that come over each year for the strawberry picking 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir; I think there is a good deal of repeti- 
tion— that is, those who come one year, come the next. That is more 
true for those from the surrounding parishes than for the migrants. 
Mr. Parsons. Both men and women are pickers; is that correct 2 
Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir. 

ISIr. Parsons. Do they present any law enforcement problem or 
health problem ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I have a statement here that I believe would be 
of interest in that connection from one of our field workers who 
made some comment on that subject. We haven't any real definite 
information. Pie says that health is not an acute problem among the 
hired farm labor according to doctors. Very little treatment is 
needed, but there are no great needs. Doctors' fees are low and the 
farmers usually bring their sick workers in to the doctor and pay 
the doctor's fee and then deduct the fee paid to the doctor from their 
wages in small amounts each week. 

Mr. Parsons. Are children used in the strawberry picking fields? 
Dr. HOFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir; to quite an extent. 

Mr. Parsons. Do they comply with the wages and hours law and 
the ages particularly with reference to the children? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I think in general they do. Tlie children of 
long-range migrant workers, in such cases where they are long, are 
more likely to be employed than the children of local parents. 

Mv. Parsons. Is any contract labor imported by contractors that 
contract to harvest the owner's crops for them at so much per crate 
and who bring in contract labor in order to do it? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. It is not done exactly that way. It is largely on 
a personal basis. I think again that the statement of the field worker 
relative to that matter is interesting. I will only quote very briefly. 
Of course, the migrant workers enter into the picture to a certain 
extent but if any strawberry farmer needs additional labor it is 
usually made by contact with certain persons living in nearby sec- 
tions with whom he has had previous contact. Briefly stated, if a 
farmer anticipates the need of some labor for strawberry picking he 
will get in touch with someone at Baton Rouge or in some other 
town whom he has Imown for several years. He gets in touch with 
this party just before berry picking time and he notifies this man 
to get a dozen or so pickers together for him and that he will come 
back and pick them up at a certain time. 

Mr. Parsons. Are those mostly colored laborers or whites ? 
Dr. HoFFSOMMER. ^Most of the nearby laborers are colored but 
the bulk 'of the long-range migrants are white. 



Mr. Parsons. The committee has a letter from the vice president 
of the American Rice Growers Organization in which he replies to 
an invitation that was extended them to appear here, and in this 
letter he said that there was no problem in the rice fields relative 
to migratory workers and said that there was no occasion for them 
to api^ear at this hearing. Do you know of any problems in the rice 
fields of Louisiana ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. We are now preparing to make a study of the 
rice labor situation, not because we believe there is any problem exist- 
ing there, but simplv to round out our knowledge of the labor situa- 
tioii in the State. So far as I know, there is not any pressing or 
immediate problem in connection with rice labor. The laborers who 
work in the rice fields also, or a great many of them, at least, work 
in the sugarcane crop and they also pick strawberries in the straw- 
berry-picking season. Those three things can be handled together 
and 'they work very well in that way. Those three crops come at 
different seasons of the year, so some laborers have an opportunity 
to be profitably employed during most of the year if they can obtain 
work in the sugarcane", the rice, and the berry business. That would 
be more true if it were not for the fact that we have more laborers 
than we need. The migration of laborers back and forth in the 
State is really not very great. Most of the seasonal sugarcane 
laborers come from nearby."^ As the rice area adjoins the sugar area, 
there is some interchange of labor, 


]Mr. Parsons. Has the mechanical cane cutter been used much yet 
on tlie sugar plantations or in the sugar fields in Louisiana? 

Dr. Hoffsommer. It seems to be in a very preliminary experi- 
mental stage. So far as I know this season it was not used to any 
considerable extent. I think it is something that is coming. The 
mechanical difficulties are fairly great in getting the thing to work 
properly in our section. 

]NIr. Parsons. How many men will one machine of that kind dis- 
place if they ever get it improved to the point to really do the work 
properly \ 

Dr. Hoffsommer I would really hesitate to say, but it would dis- 
place a great many people. The most serious aspect would be, how- 
ever, that the grinding season does represent, of course, the peak 
labor load for tlie year, and if that could be cut down, it would defi- 
nitely displace a great deal of labor that is being kept around there 
for that peak load now. 

Mr. Parsons. Do they use loading machines? 

Dr. Hoffsommer. Yes, sir; they are very commonly used now. 

Mr. Parsons. And that displaced a number of men about 8 or 10 
years ago, when they began to use them ? 

Dr. Hofsommer. Yes, sir; that is true. 

Mr. Parsons. To me, that is one of the big problems, mechaniza- 
tion. Of course, you can't halt progress. TVe have alwavs welcomed 


labor-saving machines, but there is a vast difference between labor- 
saving machines and labor-displacing machinery, and I think that 
is one of our problems at the present time. 

I will compliment you on the statement that you have prepared 
and submittecl to us, Doctor, It is a very fine statement. 


Mr. OsMERS. In looking over the entire migrant situation in Louisi- 
ana, would you say that it was a satisfactory situation or that there 
was implied in the situation there some action necessary by the Fed- 
eral Government ? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Well, with respect to the sugar laborer situation, 
I don't believe there is anything that the Federal Government could 
do immediately. That is, from the standpoint of migration. The 
peak demand for cane cutters is rather well taken care of from the 
families nearby, as I have heretofore stated. 

In the strawberry situation, the figures which are referred to here 
were taken from our survey of a year ago this picking season — it was 
a better picking season than this one — I went over there this year 
•during the picking season and found not so many long-distance mi' 
grants this year as for the year before. This study was made in 
order to find out whether there was a need for further migratory 
laborers in this locality. 

Mr. OsMERS. Would you say that the Federal restrictions on the 
production of cane sugar in Louisiana have had any effect upon the 
sugar production or sugar prosperity in that State? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. It has certainly, without doubt, had an effect 
upon the sugar prosperity in that State and it has made it more diffi- 
cult for a great many of the laborers. I don't mean to say that the 
sugar labor situation in Louisiana is all rosy, but from the standpoint 
of migration, I think the fact that a large number of these seasonal 
laborers are pretty well located there and have their little homes and 
their little garden plots is a highly interesting development. 

Mr. OsMERS. At least, it is a better situation than is found in some 
of the other States; isn't it? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ycs, sir; I think the situation is better than that 
found in the cotton parishes of Louisiana. 

Mr. OsMERS. I believe that is all. 

Mr. Curtis. I was interested in your discussion of machines dis- 
placing labor. Do you know of any studies that have been made with 
reference to the other side of the ledger showing what the balance 
is between jobs destroyed by the coming of the machine and jobs made 
by the coming of the machine? I am referring to the radio, tele- 
vision, air conditioning, filling station business and all that sort of 
thing. Have there been any studies made along that line? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I havc read at least references to such studies, 
but I wouldn't be able to give the exact names of such studies to you. 
I haven't personally been as much interested in that particular 
picture as I have been from the purely farming aspect of the thing. 
That is a rather moot point. 


Mr. CuKTis. I think from the farm standpoint there is no question 
but what it has eliminated some labor. 

Dr. HOFFSOMMER. YcS, sir. t i i • ixn 

Mr. Parsons. I want to comment on that score a little bit. When 
I was a youngster on a farm, that farm had 19 or 20 head of horses 
and mules that consumed hay and corn and oats in the wintertime 
when they weren't working as well as in the spring and the summer- 
time. Today those horses and mules are all gone and in their place a 
tractor using gasoline and oil is found. That is one of the things 
tliat makes our big surplus in wheat and oats and corn in the real 
farming belts of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and other places. In my 
part of the country, we used to send hundreds of carloads of mules 
south every year and in the spring we sent hundreds of thousands 
of tons of hay South to feed those mules. No such industry as that 
exists in my State any more, as you are not buying our mules and hay 
and corn. Mechanization has not only displaced farm labor but it has 
displaced the thing that used to consume so much of what we pro- 
duced on the farm. That is what has made our surplus. Of course, 
we can't stop progress, but I think if we had a little holiday upon 
labor being displaced by machinery that we might get a little better 
hold on things sometimes. What do you think about that? 

Dr. HorrsoMMER. I would disagree with that. I wouldn't want to 
stop the labor-saving devices or the invention of them. I think that 
it is unthinkable to think along those lines. There is no question but 
^v]\at those things create problems but it seems to me with proper 
management we should be able to turn those labor-saving inventions 
into desirable things and we should put the emphasis on that. 

Mr. OsMERS. ]My feeling in that matter is quite contrary to that of 
the member from 'Illinois. I think that we should develop it to the 
fullest extent because, in the long run, it creates more employment, 
but be that as it may, would you say in your opinion that the Federal 
Government should attempt to regulate tlie displacement that occurs 
when some revolutionary saving device, such as the cotton picker 
and cane cutter, comes along — would you say that it was the duty of 
your Federal Government to take cognizance of such progress? 

Dr. HorrsoMMER. I don't really see how the Federal Government 
can avoid taking some notice of that. In another part of my report 
here I analyzed some of the social and economic characteristics of 500 
families who have been displaced for one reason or another. This 
particular group of 500 families happened to be living on some new 
ground area, cut-over land that they have gotten from lumber 
companies and they are trying to become small-farm owners. That 
is a definite result' of displacement by crop reductions or mechani- 
zations or whatever you want to call it. Now, a great many of those 
people are not going to be able to make good on this new land, par- 
ticularly in view of the rainy season this year. So, it does seem to 
me that the Federal Government should take cognizance of their 
situation, probably. They are either direct relief clients or should 
be given aid so that they can help themselves. 

Mr. OsMERS. Would you say that the Federal Government could 
largely follow out a subsistence homestead program to settle people 



who are displaced by macliinery until such time as other opportunities 
would open up, on small subsistence farais? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I would favor such a plan as that myselt. ^ow, 
I don't want to be misunderstood there. I don't think that is the 
ideal situation. The situation is that it is either direct relief for a 
great many of those families, or such a scheme as might come out 
of your suggestion; and there seems to be no other alternative; it 
seems that the subsistence homestead proposition holds a great deal 
of hope at the present time. 

The Chairman. Just a question or two. You can readily see from 
the studies that you have made of this problem that the problem 
must be national or this committee has no jurisdiction— you under- 
stand that. Now, from what studies that you have made of it, do you 
think that it is a national problem— this migration of destitute 
migrant citizens going from State to State? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Ttliink very definitely that it is a national prob- 
lem. In the spot study data which I have presented here, excepting 
that concerning strawberry workers, I have not emphasized the 
migration aspect. But the situations described give rise to movement 
winch frequently is between States. The problems of Missouri, 
Arkansas, and Oklahoma particularly have given rise to western 
migration. We in these States over here, Mississippi, Alabama, and 
Louisiana, have very little of that westward migration. There is 
some of it, and it may increase, but there hasn't been a great deal of 
that out to California as yet. 

The Chairman. But we don't know just when migration will hit 
Louisiana or Alabama, do we? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. No, sir. 

The Chairman. We started in in the State of New York, instead of 
going to California, my State, and we discovered that they had a 
migration problem over in the State of New Jersey. We found out 
that in the State of New York they had spent something like $3,- 
000,000 in the last year for the purpose of taking care of destitute 
migrant citizens from other States. We found out that they had de- 
ported 5,000 such migrants and that the Court of Appeals of New 
York, on July 19, 1940, said that it was legal to deport an Ohio 
family. In the face of the Constitution, we are not arguing whether 
it is right or wrong. But as sure as the world, you are not only a 
citizen of the State of Louisiana, but under the Constitution you are 
a citizen of the other 47 States in our Union, are you not? For 
instance, in California in the last 8 years alone, 850,000 peo]:>le have 
gone out there destitute. Suppose that 850,000 destitute people in the 
next 5 years should come into the State of Alabama or into the 
State of Louisiana, it would certainly be the concern of the Na- 
tional Government to see that the States of Alabama and Louisiana 
didn't go broke handling that situation, wouldn't it? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. I Certainly would agree to that, so far as our 
southern problems are concerned. Practically all of them are inter- 
state. Excepting for strawberries and sugarcane which are largely 
peculiar to Louisiana, our southern crops extend across State lines. 
The Delta situation, for example, in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missis- 


sippi is pretty much the same. I don't think of it as a problem 
of a particular State, but as the problem of the region. 

The Chairman. There has been some attempt on the part of cert am 
States to set up a barrier against the free flow of goods, and it never 
o-ot anywhere, that is, for instance, coal, iron, and steel— that is pro- 
tected nicely— but there are barriers against the free flow of inter- 
state commerce of human beings-they have settlement laws running 
from 6 months up to 5 years, and I speak for myself when 1 say i 
would like to see if we could get some statute passed m order to 
protect these citizens and good people— Ave have got to realize 
that thev are just good American people, the majority of theni— to 
<Tive them some status where they could go into some other State 
Snd not be outcasts. I think that we are on the right track if we can 
get at what we are trying to do here. We haven't gotten the answer 
so far to this problem, but we are certainly very appreciative to you 
for giving us your views on it. The reason that I am making thase 
remarks to you is to tell you our objective. You caivt have 4 000,0C0 
people continuously going from State to State and after they get 
there be Stateless, and homeless, and friendless, unless you strike them 
out of the United States. They must have some status. What is 

your idea along that line? -r .i • t .i ^ -^ *- 

Dr Horr-soMMER. I agree with you on that. I think that it creates 
quite a problem in our country, regardless of what has caused it, but 
since these people are in such circumstances, and some of them have 
started out with something and lost what they had while in transit 
and on the road— it does seem to me that^ their problems could be best 
solved closer to home. Just traveling on the road will not solve their 
difficulties and it seems to me that some sort of placement service or 
some kind of an organization for the dissemination of information 
regarding job possibilities in the various parts of the country is a 
very desirable thing to have. i * i 

The Chairman. Yes, we will address ourselves to that. And we 
are advised that some employment agencies send these people across 
State lines without any job when they get there, and when they go 
across a State line, then we have jurisdiction of the matter. We have 
taken care of coal, iron, and steel in regard to these interstate matters, 
but we have not taken care of the human migration before, lou 
agree with that statement, do you not? 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. Yes, sir; I agree to that. If from my cases it 
would seem to indicate otherwise, I did not mean it that way, but it 
was simply emphasizing the loss that occurs from indiscriminate 

ti'a^'el. ^ . ^ ^- . X 

The Chairman. We have included in this record your entire state- 
ment which you have submitted to us, together with the chart that you 
want to offer as an exhibit for the record. 

Dr. HoFFSOMMER. The statement contains material which I hope will 
be valuable to the committee. 

Tlie Chairman. Is there anything else you want to say to the com- 
mittee. Dr. Hoffsommer? 

Dr. Hoffsommer. I believe that is all. 

The Chairman. If you have nothing further, you may be excused. 

(Whereupon, the wntness was excused.) 

260370—40 — pt. 2 6 



Mr, CuETis. Will you please give your full name to the reporter? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Do you mean my maiden name? 

Mr. Curtis. Both. 

Mrs. Hamilton. My name is Mrs. Janie Harrell Hamilton. 

Mr. Curtis. Where were you born? 

Mrs. Hamilton. McComb, Miss. 

Mr. Curtis. What year? 

]Mrs. Hamilton. 1891. 

Mr. Curtis. Just a word about your early training. W^hcre did 
you go to school? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, mostly it was there in McComb, Miss. 

Mr. Curtis. How long did you attend school? 

Mrs. Hamilton. About — I went to the sixth grade. 

Mr. Curtis. At what age did you start work? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, it was in my eleventh year as well as I re- 
member it. 

Mr. Curtis. It was just sometime before you were 12 years old, is 
that correct? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Where was that? 

Mrs. Hamilton. That was in McComb. 

Mr. Curtis. How long did you continue your employment at 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, I would say about tlie first — when we first 
went there, it was 1 year and then we went 7 miles south of there to 

Mr. Curtis. To Magnolia, Miss. ? 

Mrs, Hamilton. Yes, sir; and I worked 3 years there, and then 
went back to McComb. and I worked about a year or two, and then in 
1911 we moved to AYinona, Miss., my father died in 1910, and in 
1911 we moved to Winona, Miss., and we stayed there until 1913, in 

Mr. Curtis. From the time that you were 11 years old up until you 
were 21, your employment was more or less continuous, was it? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. At what age were you married ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I was married in June before I was 21 years old 
or 22 — I don't remember which it was — at any rate I was married in 
August, I married in 1913. 

Mr. Curtis. Where did you live following your marriage? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Mostly in Winona. 

Mr. Curtis. That is in what State? 

Mrs. Hamilton. That is in the State of Mississippi. 

Mr. Curtis. Following your marriage, did you continue working? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No ; I only worked about 8 months in 1924. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, this employment at these various places in 
Mississippi, what kind of employment was that? 

ISIrs. Hamilton. Spinning in a cotton mill. 

Mr. Curtis. What family do you have? 


Mrs. Hamilton. Do you mean my individual family? 

Mr. Curtis. Yes, ma'am. , 

I^Irs Hamilton. I have two children living and one dead. 

Mr Curtis. What are the ages of your living children 

Mrs. HvLiLTON. The girl is 21 this past May and the boy was 13 
this past March. 

Mr. Curtis. Where are you living now * 

Mrs. Hamilton. Selma. 

Mr. Curtis. Selma, Ala. ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. ,.,,,, ..-a^ 

Mr Curtis. How old was the child that died^ 

Mrs hSiilton. He died in March before he would have been 
24 in May. He died in 1938. 

Mr. Curtis. What of ^ 

Mrs. Hamilton. Tuberculosis. . 

^Ir. Curtis. You said that following your marriage you oni> 
worked about 8 months? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Was that cotton-mill work? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Was your husbands name Artman? 

INIrs. Hamilton. Yes. 

Mr. Curtis. Is My. Artman living ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. You are divorced ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

:Mr. Curtis. When was that ? 

I^Irs. Hamilton. We were divorced m 1933. ^ . ,i , • i 

Mr Curtis. You mean that you worked 8 months m that period 
up to'the time of your divorce; is that what you meant? 

Mrs Hamilton. Yes, sir; I only worked 8 months m that period. 

I^Ir Curtis. Did you seek emplovment following your divorce i 

Mrs HAMILTON. Well, ves— not in a cotton mill though because 
I didn't eo to a cotton-mill citv; I went to Montgomery— I went to 
Jackson,^Miss., and to Memphis, and he followed me and made some 
trouble, and I had to leave him. i • i • 

Mr. Curtis. What was Mr. Artman s job or what was his busi- 
ness? . . 

Mrs. Hamilton. He Avas a plumber and electrician. 

Mr. Curtis. When did vou leave Memphis? 

Mrs. Hamilton. In 1931. I went back to Winona, lou see my 
oldest boy— I went to his graduating exercises. He stayed with his 
grandparents until he finished school. 

Mr Curtis. And vour divorce was in 1933? 

rs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; I went to work in a cotton mill there again 
in Winona in 1931. 

Mr. Curtis. What employment have you had since 1933^ 

Mrs. Ha^iilton. Well, I 'haven't had any outside of cotton mill 

Mr. Curtis. Where was the first job that you had following 1933? 


Mrs. Hamilton. I was working in Starkville at that time when I 
got my divorce ; Starkville, Miss. 

Mr. Curtis. How long did you continue working there? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I married in June 1934 and in July I went north 
with my husband, Mr. Hamilton. 

Mr. Curtis. You married Mr. Hamilton in June of 1934; is that 
correct ? 

ISIrs. Hamilton. Yes. 

]Mr. Curtis. And you went where then? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, we went to Missouri ; we went up north. 

Mr. Curtis. He had come down from Missouri ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. Well, I don't know if it was just from 
Missouri or not. In the cotton-mill language, he is quite a rambler 
or quite a rounder, as they put it. 

Mr. Curtis. He was a cotton-mill employee, too? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No; he was a painter. 

Mr. Curtis. How long did you stay in Missouri? 

Mrs. Hamilton. We went up there in July and I came back to 
Starkville in January. 

Mr. Curtis, "^^riiat year? 

Mrs. Hamilton. 1934. 

Mr. Curtis. And you came back to Starkville when? 

Mrs. Hamilton. In January of 1935 is when I came back to Stark- 

Mr. Curtis. What State is Starkville in? 

Mrs. Hamilton. It is in Mississippi. 

Mv. Curtis. How long did you stay there? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I stayed there until March 2 and then I came over 
to Selma, Ala. 

Mr. Curtis. March 2 of 1935; is that correct? 

Mrs. Hamilton. That is correct; yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. And you are still at Selma, Ala. ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. What work have you had since you have been at Selma, 

Mrs. Hamilton. I worked in the California cotton mill in Selma 
from the time that we moved there in March until along about April 
of the next year, in 1936, and I had an accident there, and I was out 
for about 6 weeks, and when my hand got well and I went back they 
had too many spinners — and that is all that I know how to do in the 
mill was to spin, and they couldn't put me back to work, and I went 
to Uniontown, where there is also a California mill. 

Mr. Curtis. Where is Uniontown located? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, it is about 30 miles south of Selma ; I guess 
it is south, because it is down toward Mississippi; at any rate, it is 
about 30 miles from Selma. 

]Mr. Cttrtis. Did you work there? 

]\Irs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. How long? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I worked there for about 6 months, and then they 
shut the niffht shift down and laid us off — several of us who were 


working there and living in Selma ; they laid us off, and then I went 
back to^vork then in January of 1937 ; at any rate, it was right after 
Christmas, and 

Mr. Curtis. January of what? 

Mrs. Hamilton. 1937. And rny son was taken sick with TB on 
the 22d of January, and I had to quit work and go home and take 
care of him. I went back and forth at night, and the doctor wouldn't 
let me move my son from Selma for quite a long time, and the doctor 
sent him to the hospital in California finally, and he died out there 
in 1938. He left there on June 3, 1937, to go to California and my 
husband left me in June, and so I left that place then in July and 
went over to Mississippi. 

Mr. Curtis. Just a minute. Your husband left you when? 

Mrs. Hamilton. In July 1937. 

Mr. Curtis. Following the death of your son? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No; following his trip to California. My son 
didn't die until 1938. 

Mr. Curtis. He went to California to the hospital ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; and he died out there. 

Mr. Curtis. And your husband left you in July of 1937? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Has he been back ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I haven't seen him. 

Mr. Curtis. What work have you had since the death of your son ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, I left Selma in July 1937, after my boy 
went to California, and I went to Meridian, Miss., to see some of my 
people who were over there, and one sister who was there asked me 
to stay there with her for awhile and help her along with my mother. 
My daughter had married in the meantime and I left her in Selma 
and I stayed in Meridian for about 8 months and worked at night 
in the Sanders Cotton Mill there, and the night shift shut down and 
my boy died on the 6th of March and I worked 4 nights after he died. 
Then the night shift shut down and I came back here. 

Mr. Curtis. When did you go to Texas to find work? 

]\Irs. Hamilton. I went in February 1939. 

Mr. Curtis. Did you have any success in finding a job out there 
when you went to Texas? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; I had a job out there before I went, be- 
cause it was too far for me to go out there without having one. 

Mr. Curtis. How long were you out there at that time ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I was out there about 8 months. I came back 
here on December 11. 

Mr. Curtis. Did the mill close down? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No; when I went to McKinney, Tex., I worked 
until about October 15, I imagine, and they never did tell me exactly 
why they laid me off — they said that they were satisfied with my 
work and all that and they just said that they were going to lay me 
off awhile, for me to rest up for a few weeks or a month, and I just 
imagine that the doctor had them to lay me off because I wouldn't 
lay off myself. He wanted me to stop for a few months or a few 
weeks, and I told him that I couldn't afford to, and I don't know 


that he did it, but I suppose that he just called the company up and 
asked them to lay me off for a rest-up. 

Mr. Curtis. And you came back to Selma then? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir; and I started back, and I stopped over 
in Dallas, Tex., to see an old friend of mine that I used to ^York for 
in Mississippi, and he asked me to help him out there for a few 
weeks, and I did. 

Mr. Curtis. What kind of work? 

Mrs. Hamilton. It was a cotton mill, the Texas Textile Co., it 
was the Love Field Cotton Mills. 

Mr. Curtis. And when did you arrive back in Selma? 

Mrs. Hamilton. It was on the 11th of last December. 

Mr. Curtis. Of last December? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Have you had any work since then ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I worked about 8 or 10 weeks at Uniontown 

Mr. Curtis. During what months was that ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. It was after — I imagine that it was in February 
or March, but I don't remember exactly. 

Mv. Curtis. Perhaps since April 1940, up to now, you have had no 
employment ? 

]VIrs. Hamilton. No, sir ; I have not. 

Mr. Curtis. Hoav do you support yourself at the present time ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I am on relief. 

INIr. Curtis. You are on relief? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. Curtis. Are both of your children with you ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. And their ages are 21 and 13? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Is the 13-year-old boy in school? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. How far along in school is he ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. He will be in the seventh grade this year. 

Mr. Curtis. And the 21-year-old girl is married ? 

Mrs. Hamilton, She has been married, and she is a "grass" widow 

Mr. Curtis. Her husband is not living with her ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. She was married at what age? 

Mrs. HAaiiLTON. She was married in 1937, the year that my bo}^ went 
to California. 

Mr. Curtis, She has been married for about 3 years ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir; 3 years. 

Mr. Curtis. How long did her husband live with her ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. ^Up until November, they separated, and then 
they went back together. 

Mr. Curtis. November of what year ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Of last year, and then they went back together 
on the 15th of April of this year, and he stayed with her that time 
for 2 weeks and he left her affain. 


Mr. Curtis. Where is he now ? 

Mrs. Hamiltok. He is in Sehna. 

Mr. Curtis. Does he continue to support her? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, Mrs. Hamilton, since 1933 you have sought work 
in Ahibama, Mississippi, and have been in Missouri and Texas? 

INIrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. You have made application for work at cotton mills in 
all of those places; is that correct? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir; except in Missouri, and I was up there— 
that is when I was living with my first husband that I was up there in 

Mr. Curtis. Have you registered at any employment bureaus ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. At Meridian, Miss., and Selma, Ala. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, Mrs. Hamilton, you said that you are a spinner ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Is that classified as skilled work? You see, I know 
nothing about cotton -mill work. 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; it is. 

Mr. Curtis. How long does it take to learn it ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, during the N. K. A. they claimed that they 
would give any cotton-mill worker 6 weeks to become skilled. Then, 
they had to pay them the regular wages. Up until then, they didn't 
pay them for learning — some mills would and some mills would not, 
but it really takes longer than 6 weeks to become a skilled worker. 

Mr. Curtis. For the amount of goods produced, do they use as 
many spinners now as they always have ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I don't really think so. Well, just to be plain 
about it, since the wages-and-hours law started they have stretched 
them out — that is what we call it in the cotton-mill language, we call 
it stretching them out, that is in the cotton-mill language ; that means 
that they give them more work than they can do. 

Mr. Curtis. You were born in Mississippi ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Is your father living? 

Mrs. Hamilton, No, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. How old did he live to be ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. He was 72 when he died. 

Mr. Curtis, "\\niere was he born ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, I don't know. I imagine he was born in 
Louisiana. I never heard him say, but his people on his mother's side 
live in Louisiana. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you know how many States he lived in during his 

Mrs. Hamilton. The only ones that I ever heard him mention any- 
thing about was Louisiana and Mississippi, he lived in Mississippi 
most of the time. 

Mr. Curtis. Wliat work did he do in Mississippi ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. He was a contractor and builder. 

Mr. Curtis. Your mother is still living? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No, sir ; she died in 1938. 


Mr. Curtis. At what age? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Eighty-two. 

Mr. Curtis. In what State was she born, do you know? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Mississippi. 

Mr, Curtis. And she resided there all of her life ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Par-sons. Mrs. Hamilton, you say that you have been on relief 
for how long? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, it has been just this year — I don't remember 
exactly what month it was that I went on relief. 

Mr. Parsons. You sought every way to get employment that you 
could, and you couldn't do so ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; I sought employment and couldn't get it. 

Mr. Parsons. What would you do if you didn't get relief? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Well, I have often wondered myself, this year 
even, when I signed up Avith the W. P. A. for work, I said if I didn't 
get work pretty soon before the winter set in that I didn't see how 
I could stay there and I didn't know which way to go. The only 
thing that t am skilled in is in the cotton-mill work, spinning, and 
mostly every cotton mill in the Southern States — I don't know how 
it is up in the North — but down here in the Southern States they 
will run awhile and then shut down a shift and that keeps it to where 
you can't hardly get any work. 

Mr. Curtis. For the time that you lived with Mr. Artman, you 
didn't seek work but for 8 montlis ; is that correct? 

Mrs. Hamilton. That is right. 

Mr. Curtis. He supported you most of the time, did he? 

Mrs. Hamilton. No, sir ; but his father and mother did. 

Mr. Curtis. Did Mr. Hamilton have work? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir ; he was a painter. 

Mr. Curtis. Was he employed? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir; his greatest trouble was that he was 
always going from place to place and I finally had to stop in order 
to send the boy to school. You can't run around all the time and 
send a child to school. He was quite a rounder. He was going all the 

Mr. Curtis. How many different States had he been in in the time 
that you knew him ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. During the time that I have known him, I 
wouldn't hardly know, but I do know that he has been in Tennessee, 
Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Jacksonville. Fla. — I think 
that is the only place in Florida that he went; and Mississippi and 
Louisiana and Alabama. 

Mr. Curtis. He would rather travel than secure permanent employ- 
ment in any one place, is that correct ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. He traveled most of the time. 

The Chairman. Mrs. Hamilton, the reason that you left Mississippi 
was to get a job, is that right? 

Mrs. Hamilton. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. In trying to get a job, you went into how many 
different States? 


Mrs. Hamilton. Four different States-I believe it is 

The Chairman. Then you came back here^ 
Mrs. Hamilton. I came back here. 

The Chairman. Ahibama is one? cn-^4.^,, 

mJ^. Hamilton. And then Texas, and those were the only States 
that I was seeking work in the cotton mill. 
The Chairman. Did you go to Calilornia i 

Tll-CH^^r.^: The S^Bon as I say, .as that you .ere trying to 
find a position so you could eat and live ? 

Mrs Hamilton. That is correct. , . . -^ i t 

The Chairman. The American people wont ]ust sit down and 
starve, but they will move ? 

Mrs. Hamilton. I think so. • x ^i c^ +^o 9 

The Chau^man. And you did get a ]ob by going to other States? 
Mrs. Hamilton. Sometimes I did and sometimes not. I couldnt 
have started over to Texas until I was sure of a ]ob; it ^^s too tai 
I had friends who I could write to, and when I came to Alabama 
in 1935, I had a brother in Selma, and the biggest reason that I came 
over right at that time was that my sister was wanting to go to work 
in tlie mill, and he said that she was in the weaving department and 
he said if she could persuade me to come over there with hei- that she 
could get a job working in the mill if they had spinners in the family 
who were wi)rking in the mill, and that is the reason that I came over 
to Alabama them ^^ ^^^^ ^^^.^^^^ ^^^^^ .^ ^^^^^^^ ^^ ^ ^^^^^ . ^^^ 

the United States to have every State in the Union say to Alabama 
and say to any other State, "Don't send anybody from our State 
unless thev haVe got money. If they haven t got money, they cant 
come," and to clamp down on them so if you haven t got any money 
you couldn't go to some otlier State like Oklahoma Jsebraska, Ar- 
kansas, or some other State like tliat? Do you think that it would 
be a good thing for one State to say to the other that you are sup- 
posed to just sit down and starve, that you couldn't come into their 
State unless you had monev-do you think that would be a very good 
thing for one State to say to another State ot our Union Or would 
you rather have it so that if you had a couple of dollars m your 
pocket ^hat you could go to another State if you thought tliat you 
would have a better chance of securing work— or do you think that 
youshould just sit down and stai-ve? n • ^ eU 

Mrs. Hamilton. Oh, no; I don't think that you should just sit 
down and starve. I had rather starve moving around looking tor 
some work and trving to get a job. If I did that, I would have the 
satisfaction of knbwing I was trying to get a ]ob anyway. 

The Chairman. Very well. That's all. Thank you. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 

Before we hear the next witness, I believe that we will take a 5- 
minute recess. 

(Whereupon, a short recess was taken.) 

The Chairm \n. The committee will come to order. 



The Chairman. Our next witness will be A. Frederick Smith, 
chief, Department of Research and Statistics, Florida Industrial 
Commission, Tallahassee, Fla. Will you please step forward, Mr. 
Smith. Mr. Osmers will examine you. 

Mr. Osmers. Mr. Smith, we are very happy to have you here as a 
representative of the Florida State government, and I know that pos- 
sibly for some of the same reasons that California has, you have a 
rather serious problem confrontino; you there, too, with your very 
desirable climate. Will you just please go on and give us a brief 
outline of what you have to say ? 

Mr. Smith. All right, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. I understand that you have filed a statement with 
the committee fully covering your testimony? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; that is correct. 

Mr. Osmers. And that you will now outline the migratory -labor 
situation for us. 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Your statement will be incorporated in the record. 

[The statement mentioned appears below.] 

Statement of A. Fkederick Smith. Florida Industrial Commission, 
Taixahassee, Fla. 

Migration in the State of Florida is of considerable concern to those who are 
acquainted with this problem. Migration is an increasing problem and undoubt- 
edly will in a few years be of major concern to the State and the Southeastern 
States. Migration brings a problem of which most people are unaware. 

It is virtually impossible to segregate migrants, as a total, Into such economic 
classes as indigents or destitute persons, unless individual cases are studied. 
At any time a migrant may be indigent or destitute, but upon receiving work 
may become self-supporting for an indefinite period of time and then may again 
become destitute. Many migrants are destitute at all times if the owning of 
any wealth determines destitution. Others are always on the verge of destitu- 
tion. In the following discussion migrants are considered as that part of the 
population who for one reason or another become temporarily or permanently 
detached from their former homes and come to Florida to seek work. This 
discussion is not concerned with the drifter, floater, or tramp who is not inter- 
ested in working. 

migratory groups 

There are two primary migratory groups in the State of Florida each year. 
One group is composed of migratory agricultural laborers while the second 
group is composed of service, clerical, and common-labor workers. 

Vacationists make up a group who come to the State each winter, but in the 
main this group is composed of people who are not looking for work. There is, 
however, an overlapping between the group of vacationists and group two, the 
service, clerical, and common labor group. Many individuals who come to the 
resort areas in Florida during the winter do so for two reasons, to take a vaca- 
tion but at the same time to secure enough work if possible to aid in supporting 
themselves during their vacation period. Many in this group work in retail 
stores, restaurants, and hotels or any other work which may be available. In 
group two are also the service and white-collar workers who are engaged in 
service work almost the entire year, but who follow the seasons in the various 
resorts throughout the country. These workers usually travel several hundreds 
or thousands of miles during the course of the year to secure work in these 
resorts, with the jobs usually lasting for several months at a time. 


Group one, migratory agrici;ltiiral labor, is an even more complex situation 
and involves not only an intra- but an inter-state migration. It is uncloubtedly 
true that this group suffers more unemployment during the year, suffers fi-om 
worse health and sanitary conditions, and is possibly preyed upon by other 
persons more than is the group of service and white-collar workers. The pri- 
mary discussion, then, will be about this group. 


The contiguous States of Alabama and Georgia are the origin of most of 
the migrants in this State. Other migrants come from the States of Mississippi, 
Louisiana, North and South Carolina, and as far west as California. This la 
particularly true of the migratory agricultural workers. Many of these workers 
follow agricultural crops continuously but many are tenants or sharecroppers 
who come to Florida during the winter when they have nothing to do at their 
homes and can earn extra money in this State. Some do not know where their 
homes are located and as a matter of fact, they have had no legal residence for 

™ Case-histories in some private welfare offices show that many of the migrants 
have traveled in so manv different States for so many years that they have no 
idea where their home actually is. Some case histories show that these mi- 
grants have been on the road for as long as 17 to 20 years, and in the mean- 
while have married and now have children traveling with them. It is not 
unusual for a migrant to have from 4 to 7 children and hundreds or the mi- 
grants apparently travel almost from one end of the Nation to the other m a 
year taking their families with them. 

The service and clerical workers to a considerable degree come from New 
York Pennsylvania, other Eastern States, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Cali- 
fornia. There are also more Florida residents involved in this migratory group 
than in the agricultural group. 


The primary routes of travel followed by migratory workers are three main 
highways up "and down and across the State. The most important route fol- 
lows the east coast of Florida down U. S. Highway No. 1. This highway 
is the primary route into the State from the eastern United States, going 
through the east coast resort centers. Connecting to this highway are roads 
leading ino some of the principal areas where winter vegetable crops are 
produced. Virtually all types of migratory travel can be seen on this high- 
^..iy_lutehhikers, old cars, trailers, and truck loads of workers. These migrants 
are those who are principally engaged in resort work and in vegetable pro- 

^The'second most important route is U. S. Highway No. 90 from Pensacola to 
Jacksonville, along the northern edge of the State. Feeding into this highway 
are roads from Georgia and Alabama, which migrants from these two States, 
as well as from the central and western United States, follow. Migrants who 
follow this highwav go down the State on U. S. Highway No. 1 on the east 
coast or U. S. and State Highway No. 19 at Tallahassee. 

U S and State Highwav No. 19 follows the western coast of the State with 
roads leading into the citrus area, with some migrants following some of these 
roads across the State to the east coast. On this highway, prior to and dur- 
ing the winter season, may be seen hundreds of trailers, trucks, and hitchhikers. 
Many trailer camps are located along this highway as well as in areas in the 
central part of the State near sections where work may be obtained. 

Another route which is followed by numerous migrants is U. S. Highway No. 
41 which goes thrcmgh Lake City. Fla., and through the central part of the State. 

At the end of the season or when the harvesting of an agricultural crop is 
completed, these migrants closely follow the same routes when they leave the 
State Service and clerical workers leave the State a short time after the season 
is completed and go to the areas outside the State where they will secure further 
work, aiigratorv agricultural workers follow the succession of crops out of the 
State, working several different places before leaving the State. Most of these 
workers specialize in certain crops and thereby do not follow completely the 
routes of travel as heretofore set forth. 

Potato workers harvest the potato crop in Dade County between the period 
of December 20 and May 30, move into Palm Beach County during this same 



period and on up the State to St. Johns Comity. Some of these workers go 
into Putnam and Alachua Counties. These workers then leave the State and go 
up the eastern seaboard into North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, 
and some to Long Island and IMaine. At the end of the season in the Eastern 
States, these workers gradually sift back down the eastern seaboard into Dade 
County to again work and start their trek northward. 

There are two primary routes for migratory workers who are engaged in 
agricultural work. One route follows the eastern coast of Florida and the 
eastern seaboard of the United States with the migratory workers branching off 
into the States through which the route goes. The counties with gi-eatest con- 
centration of migratory workers on the eastern coast are Dade, Broward, Palm 
Beach, St. Johns, Putnam, and Alachua. The other route follows the western 
coast of Florida and goes into Georgia, Alabama, ^Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, 
and to California. The greatest concentration of migratory workers in this 
instance is in Polk, Manatee, and Hillsborough Counties. The strawberry pick- 
ers have a shorter route in the State working in Hardee, Polk, and Hillsborough 
Counties then going to Bradford County. From this point the strawberry pickers 
apparently spread to some extent with some following U. S. Highway No. 90 to 
Pensacola and on into Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and the west coast with 
a few going to Washington State and British Columbia, but these again return 
by the same route to Florida although a few follow a northern route through 
the Midwestern States back to Florida. Another group of these migratory berry 
pickers go to Ohio and Michigan, particularly to the latter State, to pick berries 
and fruits. 


It is extremely difficult to attempt to make an estimate of the total number 
of migratory agricultural workers in the State of Florida during the winter and 
spring harvesting season. This is partially due to the fact that there has been 
no method established of making an actual count of the migratory laborers in 
any one locality or the State as a whole. There is a factor of the workers 
dovetailing their work so that they will be in several different areas during the 
course of a few weeks, as well as many other factors, which decreases the like- 
lihood of any figures being absolute. From the data available it would seem 
that there is an approximate minimum of 40,000 migratory agricultural laborers 
who work in harvesting the crops each winter and .spring. An estimate as to 
the m.aximum number of migratory agricultural laborers would be 60,000. 

It is extremely difficult to make an accurate estimate of the number of 
migratory service, clerical, and skilled workers because of the factors men- 
tioned before. When it is considered that around one and one-half million 
visitors vacation in the State during the winter, it is impossible for an observer 
to tell how many of these are seeking or have work. Also there is no law in the 
State which requires all employers to report the number of workers they have 
employed at any particular time. Most of these migratory w.orkers are engaged 
in hotels, restaurants, retail, and other establishments when employed. Prob- 
ably hotels provide more work for this group than any other industry in the 
State. Many of these workers are employed by the same company the year 
around in the State of Florida during the winter and in some other resort State 
during the summer. There are many other workers in this industry who have 
regular employers in Florida and regular employers in other States. However,, 
many hundreds come to Florida during the winter with the expectation of secur- 
ing a job but have extreme difficulty in securing any work at all. From all 
data that is available it would seem that the minimum number of workers in 
this migratory group would be as many as 75,000 and the maxinmm number, 

It is estimated that a maximum of 15,000 laborers are needed to harvest the 
potato and vegetable crop in the Dade County area. A conservative estimate 
would be 12,500. 

Approximately 10,000 laborers are needed to harvest the vegetable crops in 
Broward County. 

Around Lake Okeechobee, in the Belle Glade and Pahokee areas in Palm 
Beach Countv, are grown potatoes, beans, and other vegetables and the har- 
vesting requires nearly 20,000 laborers with a greater number required each 
year as acreage is expanded. Also in this same area it is understood that some 
5,000 workers come each year for the harvesting of sugarcane. 



In the Hastings potato region in St. Jolins County, some 4,000 laborers are 
required for the harvesting of potatoes. 

The Plant City area, in Hillsborough County, also requires migratory laborers 
for the picking of strawberries, with the vulvime unknown. Estimates would 
be somewhere between 500 and 1.000 workers. 

The Lawtey area in Bradford County requires between 3.50 and 7.oO workers 
for the picking and packing of strawberries. La Crosse, Santa Fe, Hague, and 
Hawthorne areas in Alachua County require from 2,000 to 2,,'50O migratory 
workers for a period of 4 or 5 weeks to supplement local labor in the harvest- 
ing of snap beans, potatoes, and other vegetables. 

Given below is a table showing approximate dates of harvesting the winter 
and spring crops. This table will give some idea of the period of time when 
the workers are required and the amount of dovetailing possible. 



Ver/etahles. — Snap beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc., January 1-June 15; Dade, 
Broward, Palm Beach, Manatee, and Hillsborough Counties (other counties 

Potatoes. — Alachua, April 20-May 15; Dade and Palm Beach, December 20- 
May 1 ; Escambia, IMay 10-June 15 ; St. Johns, March 20-May 10. 

Strawberries. — Hillsborough, Bradford, and Hardee Counties, December 1- 
May 15. 

There is considerable number of migratory workers employed in citrus pick- 
ing and in packing and canning plants. Estimates of the total are difficult to 
secure the citrus industry as a whole is spread over several counties. 
Some 5 years ago most of these plants were staffed almost entirely by migra- 
tory workers but the citrus industry has attempted to reduce the problems 
encountered by better production methods and a longer production period. 
Thousands of workers in this industry have settled in the citrus areas and have 
made permanent homes. There is. however, still considerable migration with 
at least 2, .500 migratory laborers being used in this industry in Polk County, 
which is now the largest citrus-producing county in the United States. There 
are probably many hundreds of others who migrate within the State for picking 
and packing work. It is known that several hundreds working in the can- 
neries migrate between Florida. North Carolina, and Michigan each year. 

Given below is a table on the estimates of the total number of migratory 
workers by county, by crop, and by acreage. It must be remembered that the 
total number for all counties would not be the total minimum or maximum num- 
ber of migratory workers. There will be a certain number of local workers, a 
certain amount of dovetailing and a variation depending on weather conditions. 

Estimated total number of migratory woi'kers by county, by crop, and by acreage 

[State of Florida 1939-40] 





Potatoes - 


22, 800 

15, 500 

51, 740 


Vegetables - _ 



Strawberries . . 


Vegetables . - . . - 

10, 000 


Potatoes - -. 


Vegetables - . - - 


Potatoes . - - 









Potatoes - 


15, 000 

Sugar— Palm Beach and Hendry Counties. 








. do 


Estimated total number: 

Minimum 40. OCO 

Maximum 60,000 



From 80 to 90 percent of the potato and vegetable migratory workers are 
colored. These colored workers usually work in the field, while the white 
workers grade and pack in the packing sheds or in the field, as the case may be. 
The strawberry workers are more equally divided between the white and the 
colored, with many children also working in the fields. In the harvesting of 
vegetables and strawberries a high percentage of the workers are women, 
almost always colored. Ages vary considerably. 

The highest percentage of service and clerical migratory workers are white 
with probably 80 to 90 percent of these migratory workers being white. The 
ages of this group probably do not vary as much as among the migratory 
agricultural laborers. The reason for this is that much of the work that this 
white-collar group does requires a certain amount of training, contact with 
the public, an agile mind and dexterity. This is required in most of the posi- 
tions in hotels, restaurants, and clerical work. The most of these workers in 
this group fall in the age classification from 20 to 30. 


Undoubtedly a considerable part of the health problem in the State of Florida 
springs from the migrants and the conditions under which they live much of 
the time. Sanitary conditions in some areas where migrants live are extremely 
bad. In many places the migrant workers must sleep in shacks, boxes, in cars, 
tents, or trailers, in trucks, on the ground or wherever it is possible to rest. 
They have no facilities for washing and no toilet facilities of any kind are 
provided in some areas. It is known that social diseases are very prevalent 
among these groups, particularly among the colored workers. The food they can 
get is much of the time very poor and does not provide balanced diets. Sanitary 
and living conditions found this spring in the Lake Okeechobee area were beyond 
description. The State health department has done much to improve these 
conditions within its legal authority and financial ability, but much is yet to be 
done. The Farm Security Administration has built several excellent camps but 
more are needed. 

Because these migrants move from State to State, the health menace is not 
only a threat to the State of Florida, but to the Nation as a whole. The migra- 
tory service and clerical workers in almost all instances live in better surround- 
ings and are subject to better health conditions. In some metropolitan areas, 
however, both colored and white workers live in crowded conditions which would 
tend to spread diseases. Local and State health authorities attempt to supply 
medical treatment for these individuals and workers serving the public must 
have health certificates. 


Most migratory agricultural laborers travel in old cars which are from 5 to 15 
years old. In many cases these old cars are of the type which use much gasoline 
and oil. Many migrants travel in their home-made trailers while others carry 
tents and bedrolls with them. There is another group who have neither cars, 
trailers, nor tents and hitchhike or ride freights. It is safe to say that there 
are hundreds of these workers that are transported by truckers who load their 
trucks as full as people as possible, including men and women and children. 
It is not unusual to see trucks so full that one group must stand while another 
lies down to rest. For what length of time these people must travel in this 
condition is not -known but depends on where they are picked up. These 
truckers are paid so much per head either by a farmer or by the individuals 
themselves to be transported to either the farm or to a certain area where these 
workers hope to secure work. In this latter case these people transported by 
trucks are always Negroes. They travel without direction or knowledge of 
what awaits them and it is not unusual to see truckloads of Negroes being 
transported to an area where the crop has been harvested while the major 
migration is headed for the area through which they pass. The migratory 
service, clerical and skilled laborers drive their own cars or trailers, which are 


of a newer model than the cars of the migratory agriculture workers or they 
travel by bus, train, or hitchhike, with hitchhiking being a prevalent means of 


The wage rates vary from area to area within the State. Piece-rates generally 
prevail in the picking and packing of all the vegetable crops. In some areas, 
however, the picking is paid by the hamper or box while the packing is paid for 
by the hour. Bean pickers are paid around 20 cents per hamper for the first 
picking and 2.5 cents for the second picking. Potatoes are harvested by two 
different methods — individual digging and picking up, which pays around 7 cents 
per field box, and on larger farms where the potatoes are dug by machinery, 
day labor which pick up are paid at around $1.50 per day. In some areas 
celery, lettuce, and tomatoes are paid for by the crate, or by the lug, but the 
rate is variable, while in other areos the picking is done by day labor. 

When there is an excessive number of workers the wage rates may be lowered 
so that the workers will have little left at the end of the season. The workers 
in the sugarcane fields are paid on a day-rate basis with the rates being set by 
the United States Department of Agriculture after hearings on the matter. 

The service and clerical workers are paid on either a daily or weekly basis 
which includes a small salary, meals, and room if working in some occupation 
in a hotel or wages and meals only if working in restaurants. However, there 
are many restaurants and hotels which pay no cash wages whatsoever in the 
majority of occupations with tlie only moneys involved being from tips given 
to workers by customers. This is particularly true with barbecue stands and 
similar roadside stands. In some places the workers even buy their positions 
because it is known tliat the customers tip liberally. 

Many complaints of nonpayment of wages and unusually long hours are 
known each year. This seems to be particularly prevalent with the service, 
clerical, and common labor in the resort areas. It may well be that these 
workers are more vociferous with their comments than are the agricultural 
laborers who may not know how to make themselves heard. But under either 
circumstance, there are no wage payment or collection laws. 


Each year with the influx of migratory workers there are more arrests for 
the various crimes than at any other time during the year. This varies in 
different sections of the State but in most instances the migrants are involved 
with either they themselves being arrested because of the crime committed or the 
"hangers-on" who prey on the migrants are arrested for crimes they have com- 
mitted. A recent survey made by the research and statistics department of the 
Florida Industrial Commission of the prisoners of the Florida State Prison 
Farm showed that 58.56 percent of these prisoners were born outside the State 
of Florida. This percentage is not too indicative of the problem, however, 
because 46.2 jjercent of the population in 1935 were born outside the State of 
Florida. The real problem occurs in the local communities and usually involves 
minor crimes. The situation in these local communities is serious enough that 
considerable comment is aroused. The cities of Miami Beach, Miami, Fort 
Lauderdale, and others request those who have no visible means of support 
to leave the city or they transport them to the county line. 


There is no State provision for aid to migrants. The only aid given to these 
individuals is that which is provided by local communities through their wel- 
fare as.sociations or similar private charities. The amount of aid available 
is very small and can only be given in administering involving emergency 
health conditiftns. In some instances a minimum amount of food is provided, 
usually one meal or some surplus commodities, and then only if the person 
faces stai-A^ation. There is probably less than one-tenth of all cases given any 
aid whatsoever. Were it not for these charities there would be no aid avail- 
able. When the crops were frozen in January of this year, thousands of 
migrants were stranded and faced virtual starvation. 



Migration is not a local situation nor a State-wide situation but is a multi- 
and inter-State problem. The various local governmental units cannot finan- 
cially bear the cost that would fall upon them to give even adequate medical 
treatment, subsistence, or other needs to the needy migrants. A system of camps 
stationary and movable is badly needed so that at least a minimum of proper 
living conditions could be provided. In some areas landowners would be only 
too willing to provide temporary space for mobile camps during the harvesting 
season. Adequate sanitary facilities should be provided and provision should 
be made for adequate medical and health facilities for these people. 

Much more needs to be known about the migratory movements throughout the 
State and the southeastern region of the United States. It is believed that 
the volume (Tf migration of farm laborers can be reduced if an interstate system 
of research and information can be established so as to increase the knowledge 
of needs and available work and so as to effect a greater dovetailing of work. 
Tlie dovetailing will, without a doubt, require interstate cooperation between 
(at least) contiguous States or between States within economic regions. 

A farm placement service should become effective in each of the several 
States. This service should be a Federal-State system such as the Federal 
system which is now operating under the Federal Security Agency. This sys- 
tem could provide information throughout the State and surrounding States 
to all employment offices so that if workers are needed a sufficient supply could 
be provided or if it appears there will be an excess, other workers can be 
warned that no work will be available. The savings such a service could 
make for the various States as well as for the individuals who waste time and 
money in uimecessary travel would be tremendous. 

A Federal-State system which would provide moneys for migrants in need 
should be established. Such a system should probably be established in the 
Federal agency administering the Farm Placement Service, the employment 
security program, and other programs affecting the security of individuals. In 
the States this program should be placed in the agency administering the 
employment security and other similar programs so that a greater degree of 
cooperation between employment offices and this program could be effected with 
less waste of moneys on migrants who do not need this aid. 

Methods to bring to these parts of the population the benefits of the social 
security system should be developed. Few of them are covered by any part 
of the present system. Most of the employers for whom they work are exempt 
from the provisions of the present act because of the agricultural exemptions 
and nearly all are exempt from the provisions of the State unemployment 
compensation law because of the same exemption or because they do not operate 
for a sufficient length of time during a calendar year to meet the requirements 
of a liable employer. Nearly all of these people cannot qualify under the old- 
age assistance provisions because they have not been residents of the State 
for 5 years. As a whole, few of the benefits of either Federal or State security 
laws redound to these people. 

It must, of course, be remembered that the programs to supply the needs of 
this part of the population would have to be flexible and the administering 
agency would have to be capable of quickly switching its centers of aid from 
one part of the State to another and across State lines. Methods of administra- 
tion must be develoiied that are possibly quite unlike the present methods 
because the problem is so definitely different from those which the governments 
are now seeking to ameliorate. The problem of migration is undoubtedly a 
national problend and a problem which is increasing each year. It is becoming 
apparent that such steps as these outlined above must be taken. 



Out of State regixtnttiona {Helected offlces) 
[Florida State Employment Service] 

Local office 


Fort Lauderdale - 

West Palm Beach. 



Sarasota-Bradenton . 

St. Petersburg- 


out of 



Predominating State 



New York 2,075 

New Jersey 612 

Pennsylvania 415 

Others 1,058 

New York 100 

Georgia 80 

New Jersey, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Ohio '5 

Others 45 

New York 100 

New Jersey 55 

Georgia 35 

Pennsylvania 30 

Others 130 

New York, New Jersey, 

and Pennsylvania 75 

Georgia 45 

Alabama and Tennessee 30 

Others 50 

Alabama, Georgia, and 

South Carolina 80 

Michigan, Ohio, and 

Illinois 50 

New York 25 

Others 20 

New England and East 

Central States 35 

Midwestern States 30 

Southern States 25 

Others 10 

New York, New Jersey, 

and Pennsylvania 600 

Ohio and Indiana 250 

Othei-s 350 

Predominating occupation 

age of 

Service workers, clerical 
workers, salespersons, 

Agricultural, service work- 
ers, salespersons, profes- 

Service workers adminis- 
trative, and supervisory: 
craftsmen and laborers, 
clerical and sales. 

Agricultural, salespersons, 
craftsmen, clerical. 

Agricultural, professional, 

Craftsmen, service workers, 
domestic salespersons. 

Service workers, clerical. 




MonthlV distribution of multi-State claims received by Florida from January 

1939 through June 19J,0 



February --■ 










December ■= — 


January. : 


M arch 



June --. -- 


Liable State 

Initial Continued 






6, 205 

5, 107 

88, 376 

Agent State 

Initial Continued 











2, 155 





15, 746 

16, 020 
13. 126 
10, 075 


147, 342 

260370— 40— pt. 2- 



Transfers of records hefireen employment service offices — 19S9 
[Florida Industrial Commission Research and Statistics Department] 


Arcadia-.- -- 


Daytona Beach... 
Fort Lauderdale.. 

Fort Myers 

Fort Pierce 



Key West 

Lake City 






Orlando.- --- 

Panama City 


St. Augustine 

St. Petersburg 



West Palm Beach 
Winter Haven.-. 


To other 









To other 

























Transfers — 19-'f0 
[Florida Industrial Commission, Research and Statistics Department] 


To other 

To other 

From otb 

er Florida 


From oth- 
er States 


Daytona Beach- -- 
Fort Lauderdale- - 

Fort Myers 

Fort Pierce 



Key West 

Lake City 







Panama City 


St. Augustine 

St. Petersburg 




West Palm Beach 
Winter Haven 



















1, 345 


[From Tallahassee Democrat, November 6, 1939] 

No Solution Has Been Found fok PROBLhiM of Transients Coming Here at 

Rate of 25 to 50 a Day 

Chief Girt Puwledge of tlie Tallahassee police department advises the house- 
wives of Tallahassee to be hesitant about feeding the increasuig number of 
winter transients who ask for food from door to door. 

"We have no provision for transients in Tallahassee, says the chief. We 
move them along as fast as we can with the warning to keep moving." 

there ABE exceptions 

It is the able-bodied young huskies for whom Chief Powledge has no patience. 
If this type of transient is encouraged, he advises, they merely pass along the 
word that at such and such a street others can get a good "hand out." 

Thei-e are exceptions, however. Unfortuuiite young boys and feeble old men 
are treated with consideration. But the typical hobo who merely wants a 
comfortable place to sleep gets very little sympathy at the Tallahassee police 

best solution 

According to Sheriff Frank Stoutamire who has held that office for 16 years 
and has considerable experience with transients : "The best solution we've ever 
had to the transient problem was to turn them away at the State line." 

Like Chief Powledge, Sheriff Stoutamire does his best to help the old and 
feeble. Several years ago he tried letting transients sleep in the halls of the 
courthouse but tliey took advantage of his leniency and began spreading into the 
upstairs courtroom, leaving it dirty and ill kept, until he had to end the practice. 


According to Miss Helen Farrow, executive secretary of the Leon County 
Welfare Association here: "I think the least said about the transients is best. 
We try to help those that are sick, women with babies who are traveling alone, 
and the elderly ones. But we have no transient relief set up in our funds. The 
Leon County welfare is operated mainly to take care of Tallahassee, not out- 

Miss Farrow explains that the situation is a most difficult one. A number of 
transients have recently faked illness to get hospitalization. Yery few people 
realize how expert some of these scheming idlers become in faking illness, 
according to Miss Farrow. They will stretch out on the highway, apparently 
in a critical condition, and yet a physician can find nothing wrong with them. 

The transient situation is a problem, to say the least. But Tallahassee house- 
wives are warned not to be too soft-hearted when transients ask for food. 

Both. Chief Powledge and Sheriff Stoutamire are of the opinion that a large 
number of them would move on with great alacrity if offered a man-size job 
in order to earn a meal or two. 

Transients are now pouring into Tallahassee at the rate of from 25 to 50 a 
day, according to Sheriff Stoutamire. 

Any attempted solution to the transient problem on the part of Tallahassee 
would not only be a waste of time but might prove decidedly unadvantageous, 
according to the authorities interviewed. 

The average able-bodied transient would probably avoid work that called for 
much effort while the feeble type of transient would be unable to expend the 
necessary energy. 

[By the Associated Press, November 14, 1939 — Florida papers] 

Winter Crop of Transients To Be I^arge — Floaters Give Police and Sheriffs 

A Collective Heudache 

A flood of transients arriving simultaneously with the advance guard of a 
promising tourist influx is giving Florida police and sheriffs :i collective head- 
ache of morning-after proportions. 



No problem are the tourists, wbo come by all manner of conveyances from 
little family sedans to private coaches and luxurious yachts. They are welcomed 
with open arms. 

A problem, but one they know well how to handle, is the floaters and petty 
criminals who come to Florida to prey on wealthy tourists, or make their way 
panhandling. These are tui-ned back and told in no uncertain terms to go, and 
keep going. 

The real difHculty comes in handling the aged, the juveniles, and many honest 
but penniless persons seeking to escape the rigors of a northern winter and to 
find a .lob in Florida, (^oping with them in a humane fashion without allowing 
the State to become a havi-ii for the indigent and further burden already over- 
loaded relief rolls and charity facilities is the unhappy dilemma of the ofttcers. 

At one time the State maintained a border guard that turned back all who 
could not show they would be able to support themselves while in the State, 
but this was abolished by Gov. Fred P. Cone as inhumane. Many contended, 
however, that while it may have been a harsh measure it was effective. 

Reports from all parts of the State tell of ever-growing numbers of trans- 
ients — more than last season. 

At Miami, which gets a large share of the transient influx, a dozen or more 
passengers are taken northward to the comity line daily on the "hobo express" 
by police. At Miami Beach at least a half dozen vagrants a day are given 
5 to 10-day jail sentences which are suspended on conditi<m that they leave the 
city. The Salvation Army gets increasing numbers of recpiests for food and 
shelter as the seasim advances. 

Some cities, including Ocala, Daytona Beach, and Tallahassee, allow them to 
sleep overnight in a cell. At Sarasota they ai'e fed, fingerprinted, and escorted 
to the city limits. Orlando allows some to spend the night in jail but most are 
taken to the edge of town. 

[From Tallahassee Democrat (editorial), December 5, 1939] 

Point of Privilege 

By John Kilgore 

Florida's biggest winter problem is the indigent transient * * * and Talla- 
hassee has no small share of it. 

It is not a solution to ignore this problem on the theory that local funds are 
for local people because — human nature being what it is — transients continue 
to solicit food, money, and gasoline. And kind-hearted citizens continue to shell 
out. No one knows when he is helping a person in actual need or contributing 
to the income of a professional dead beat. 

Someone told recently of a friend of his who was in some minor difficulty in 
a strange city and was assisted by a hobo. A few weeks later the same hobo 
appeared in his own city. Remembering and appreciating the kindness he se- 
cured a good job for the man. After 2 or 3 days the hobo quit the job and 
came to bid him farewell. "Why did you quit?" he asked, and the hobo replied, 
"Why should I work for $3 a day when I can make $6 a day panhandling?" 

Someone else told of contributing to a fimd raised in an oflice for a man, his 
wife and shoeless baby on their way "to take a job in Canada." This was in 
Jacksonville. Several dollars were contributed for baby shoes, food, and trans- 
portation to help this family on their way. A few weeks later, our informant 
was in an office in South Carolina when the same family appeared with the 
same baby — again shoeless. At this time, the same informant ran across the 
family with shoeless baby and still working their way toward Canada, but this 
time, the family was in southern Florida. That was too much. He asked, 
"How is it that you are working your way from South Carolina to Canada by 
way of southern Florida?" The father of the iierpetually shoeless babe scurried 
away without reply. 

We know these things. And yet when some one comes around with a hard 
luck story it is difficult to remain objective and hard boiled. Each particular 
transient might be cold, hungry, and forlorn and it is no easy thing to refuse 
a little comfort to any human being in real distress. 


It is true of course, that these people should not go traveling about. Relief 
and welfare activities are provided for local residents, and they are entitled to 
it where they live. When they move about they become detached and lose 
standing But that does not solve the problem. They do travel, and they do 
come for help As a result Tallahasseeans contribute individually large sums 
in monev and commodities annually to transients. In that wa.y we are by no 
means unique. Residents of every city, town, and village do likewise. Other- 
wise these people could not travel across many States, living on the country as 
thev go like a medieval army. . , ^, , ^. x, i. 

Facilities for putting such people to work might provide the solution. But 
there are manv difficulties in the way. Local residents are engaged in alniost 
every remunerative form of employment, and some would protest against untair 
competition of indigent transient competition, no matter what occupation might 

VorTTauderdale has .iust announced a ban on beggars, street singers, and 
panhandlers. That is all right, but it does not attack the basic problem at the 
source. Some way must be found to keep the tramps from Tallahassee back 
doors and the panhandlers from Tallahassee offices. 

There is a companion problem here and. no doubt, elsewhere. Tramps con- 
gregate together in certain areas near railroad tracks in -hobo jungles and in 
lumber yards, where thev are not easily detected by officers who have many 
streets to patrol. The tramps frighten servant girls on their way hoine from 
work after dark and thus place the extra burden upon many householders of 
providing safe transportation. 

Mr. OsMERS. You may proceed, Mr. Smith. 


Mr. Smith. We have two primary migrations each year, botli of 
them coming at about the same time, starting in the latter part of 
September, with the peak number of people in the State in the months 
of January and February. 

There are two groups, one migratory agricultural workers and the 
second clerical, service, and similar types of workers. 

There have been a number of estimates made by individuals cluring 
the last 2 or 8 years as to the numbers. I have been attempting to 
determine whatis the minimum and what is the maximum number of 
each of these groups. As nearly as possible I can figure the number 
of migratory agricultural workers at a minimum of 40.000 and a 
maximum of 60,000. 

The Chairman. Minimum of 40,000, did you say? 

Mr. Smith. A minimum of 40,000 and a maximum of 60,000 ; that 
is, agricultural workers. 

Mr. OsMERS. That is agricultural workers? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir ; and in the other group, the clerical and serv- 
ice workers, a minimum of 75,000 and a maximum of 100,000. 

Mr. OsMERS. Tell me w^here do most of these migrants come from 
that come into the State of Florida ? 

Mr. Smith. The migratory agricultural workers are mostly from 
Georgia and Alabama and also from North and South Carolina, but 
the two States are the principal States. 

Mr, OsMERS. Do you happen to know if the agricultural workers 
that come into Florida, whether they liave residence, in a legal sense, 
in their States of origin, Georgia, x\.labama, and Nortli and South 
Carolina ? 


Mr. Smith. So far as I have been able to determine, a considerable 
majority of them, or at least a part of them have homes in Alabama 
and Geortria, and are tenant farmers and sharecroppers and they come 
to Florida in the wintertime to ^et extra work. There are several 
other parts of this agricultural migratory group who are on the road 
constantly, and I doubt if they have any legal residence so far as any 
particular State is concerned. 

Mr. OsMERS. Insofar as these agricultural workers who come into 
Florida are concerned, do they come by themselves, and by that I 
mean do they supply their own transportation and do they seek 
employment by themselves, or do they come in groups under the tute- 
lage of someone and under contract, or under padrones? 

Mr. Smith. They come by every method of transportation, they 
come by hitch-hiking, on trains, trucks, cars, or any other way. There 
are in those groups some, we know, but it is extremely difficult to de- 
termine how many, who come down under someone's tutelage, 
Mr. OsMERs. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Smith. At any time during the winter, you can see truckloads 
of them coming down, just as many as can get into the truck. It 
is also known that groups of them travel together: for instance, in 
connection with the potato harvesters and the strawberry pickers and 
such as that, there is an individual among them that has charge of 
the group and tells them what to do. 

Mr. OsMERS. Has the government in the State of Florida at- 
tempted in any way to exert any control over the labor relations of 
these people, we might say of these migrant workers, as to the nature 
of their contracts and what they shall be paid? 

Mr. Smith. There is no State law or State regulation relative to 
that matter. 

Mr. OsMERS. Does the State government in any manner enter into 
the regulations as to the health conditions? 
]\fr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERs. Into the supervision of that? 
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERs. Or the housing conditions of these workers? 
Mr. Smith. The State department of healtli expanded a great deal 
wdth respect to that particular problem this last season, or we might 
say that it has had a great burden cast upon it. They are attempting 
to clean up the sanitary and housing conditions, particularly in cer- 
tain areas, and they are only able at the present time to step into the 
worst areas, I should say, but they have ample legislative authority 
there to proceed. The State health authorities luiA^e recently done 
a great deal of work among these migratory workers and they have 
closed up any number of places until they are cleaned up and made 

Mr. OsMERS. What are the principal crops picked by these mi- 
gratory workers? 

Mr. Smith. What are known as truck crops. 

Mr. Osmers. Staple vegetables, we might say? 

Mr. Smith. Vegetables and all crops of that nature. 


Mr. OsMERS. I understand last year quite a number of these mi- 
grants were stranded in Florida, is that correct? 
Mr. Smith. That is correct. 


Mr. OsMERS. What provision was made for them by the State of 

Mr. Smith. The State of Florida has no law or provision to aid 
them in any way. The Board of Public Welfare has no appropria- 
tion to aid them. The only aid that they can get is from private 
charities or welfare organizations. 

Mr. OsMERS. In your opinion don't you feel that the State of 
Florida has an obligation to these people because they perform a 
very needful service in the economy of the State of Florida ? 

Mr. Smith. I am inclined to think so. 

Mr. OsMERs. You see, I come from the State of New Jersey, and we 
have almost exactly the same problem that you have in Florida, we 
are at the northern end of the tube, so to speak, and they start in 
Florida in the spring of the year and go North and we have a great 
deal of that to contend with over on the seacoast of New Jersey, the 
botel workers also, like Florida. 

Mr. Smith. I think that each State has the responsibility for these 
people, but I believe it goes beyond that and I believe that the Fed- 
eral Government must also give aid either on a Federal-State basis or 
a straight grant basis or a straight State basis with the Federal 
grants. That would necessarily have to be worked out to determine 
what would be the most effective and efficient method of administer- 
ing some type of program. 

Mr. OsMERS. At the hearing in New York City, there was some 
thought given by some of the witnesses, and some of the members of 
the committee, to the advisability of registering these migrant work- 
ers so that they would have some card or identification paper with 
them which would show to the local authorities that they were not 
criminal, and that they had a residence somewhere. Do you feel that 
such an arrangement would be helpful in the State of Florida ? 

Mr. Smith. If I understand the full extent of that, possibly, yes. 
The city of Miami requires all persons who have a criminal record 
to register with the police department. 

Mr. OsMERS. That is just one city in the State? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; I should say Miami and Miami Beach. 

Mr. Osmers. That wouldn't, of course, have anything to do with 
the State problem. That might affect a few hotel workers and serv- 
ice workers and such as that. 

Mr. Smith. That does affect hotel workers. Of course, I don't 
know what the witness had in mind in mentioning such an arrange- 
ment as that, but some type of thing like that might be an aid to the 

Mr. OsMERs. I think that they had several things in mind — one of 
them was crime prevention, no doubt. The State police of the State 
of New Jersey started to fingerprint eveiy migrant worker that camel 
into the State of New Jersey and checked the files to see if there were 


any criminals among our migrant workers. We will possibly find 
some very valuable information as a result of that fingerprinting. 

If you agree that it is a public problem to assist these migrant 
workers should they become destitute as they did in Florida last sea- 
son, how would you say that aid should be distributed? What is 
your opinion on it ? How should it be handled ? 

Mr. Smith. My own opinion is that it would possibly be a 50-50 
proposition between the Federal Government and the State Govern- 

Mr. OsMERS. Federal and State? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. However, that immediately brings up the 
problem with reference to these migrants who live a portion of the 
time in the State of Georgia and in the State of Alabama, we might 
say 40-40 each, and in those instances, it would be easier financially 
on one of those States than it would be on the State of Florida where 
the individual spends 20 percent of his time. The State of Florida, 
I do not believe, could even start to give financial aid to all of these 
thousands should they become destitute. 

Mr. OsMERS. Just with reference to the State of Florida, would 
you say that such a system of assistance should be given out or ren- 
dered by a Federal or a State agency with a Federal grant-in-aid? 
In other words, where would you place the supervisory duties? 

Mr. Smith. I am very much inclined to believe that it should be 
Federal supervision and Federal grant, somewhat similar to our 
unemployment compensation grants. The Federal Government 
would maintain the supervision to see that certain standards are 
met, but a State agency interested in administei-ing relief or unem- 
ployment compensation or employment services woidd be the admin- 
istrative agency. 

Mr. OsMERs. Do you mean a Federal agency ? 

Mr. Smith. A State agency. 

Mr. OsMERs. A State agency? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. I am particularly interested in that because 
the State Employment Service of the State of Florida services 
thousands upon thousands of out-of- State registrants each winter. 
The grants at present are made on some basis of population or needs 
of the State. This is not necessarily a Florida problem. They are 
there and we attempt to take care of them the best that we can. For 
instance, if an employer requests that he be furnished a worker, 
unless he specifies that he cannot be an out -of -State registrant, we 
give hiixi the best man. 

Mr. OsMERS, Are there any other matters that you might care to 
suggest to the committee that would aid the State of Florida in coping 
with this migratory problem? 

Mr. Smith. I think that one of the major aids would be housing. 

Mr. OsMERs. Housing? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; that would be either migrant camp on a 
permanent basis or even on a mobile basis. In some areas, a mobile 
basis would serve satisfactorily. In some of these areas that I class 
as mobile areas, the migrants are only there for about 5 or 6 weeks, 
but while the migrants are in that particular area, there is a very 




r N 








, ! 



definite health problem, and possibly some crime problem, because 
from the information that I get on those matters, it shows that the 
arrests for crime in such localities always go up when these people 
come in. Many people say that it is not the migrants so much m the 
areas that I refer to, but it is those who are preying upon the migrants 
who get themselves mixed up with the law in a great many mstances. 
However, crime is usual where there are congested housmg condi- 
tions, and in some of these localities there is not only congestion 
among the migrants, but there are no housing or sanitary provisions. 

Mr. OsMERS. Will you please describe to the committee just what 
you mean bv mobile housing? 

Mr. S^riTH. There might be several types, but the type I particu- 
larly have in mind would be a wooden base, for a tent of some kind to 
be placed on, that could be moved. The tent could be taken down 
and the base moved from one place to another, as the necessity might 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you mean a regular tent base floor or section, or 
something of that nature? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir : and I am positive that in many of the locali- 
ties that the farmers or the cities themselves would be only too glad 
to provide the space for them. 

Mr. OsMERS. Those were the only questions that I have. 

The Chair^ian. Any questions? 

(No response.) 

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mv. Smith. 

Mr. Smith. I would like to attach this map to my statement. 
There is considerably more information in my exhibits. I have only 
touched on a few o'f the high points, as you suggested, in my oral 

The Chairman. Yes, sir; that may be attached as an exhibit. 
Tliank you very much, Mr. Smith. 

(Map of migratory routes in Florida, and contributory States 
(agricultural labor) was received in evidence and appears on the facing 
page. ) 



Mr. Parsons. State your name for the record. 

Mr. Collins. Frank Collins. 

Mr. Parsons. What is your address ? 

Mr. Collins, Migratory Camp, Belle Glade, Fla. 

Mr. Parsons. Where were you born and when? 

Mr. Collins. Born in North Carolina, Swain County, 1896, I 

Mr. Parsons. Were your people long residents of that section? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Where were your parents born? 

Mr. Collins. My father was born just across the State line, about 
20 miles from there, over in Tennessee, across the Tennessee line. 


Mr. Parsons. "Was your father a farmer? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Did he own his farm? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. That was in North Carolina ? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir; that was in Carolina. 

Mr. Parsons. How much land did he own? 

Mr. Collins. I think possibly 160 acres or something like that; I 
am not sure though. 

Mr. Parsons. Was it all in cultivation ? 

Mr. Collins. No, sir ; very little. 

Mr. Parsons. What were the crops that could be produced on it? 

Mr. Collins. The crops produced were corn, potatoes; he had an 
apple orchard on the place. 

Mr. Parsons. Did he have any other means of livelihood? 

Mr. Collins. He raised cattle and hogs; it was open range. 

Mr. Parsons. They had the open range to range them on? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. He didn't have to confine them to his own land? 

Mr. Collins. That is right, it was open range then. 

Mr. Parsons. When did you first leave the home town ? 

Mr. Collins. I think that it was about— I think I was about 15 
3^ears old. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you go? 

Mr. Collins. I went to Georgia. My intention was to go to 
Texas, but I didn't, I went to Georgia first. 

Mr. Parsons. How long did you remain in Georgia ? 

Mr. Collins. Some 4 or 5 years. 

Mr. Parsons. Were you married there ? 

Mr. Collins. I was. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you next settle ? 

Mr. Collins. In Texas. 

Mr. Parsons. You finally made that trip to Texas, did you ? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir ; I finally made it after I learned' the way. 

Mr. Parsons. ^Yliy did you go to Texas? 

Mr. Collins. Well, for one reason, I had always read about it 
and really wanted to go, and I had an uncle there and I thought I 
might possibly get a break with him some way or other. 

Mr. Parsons. I started out when I was 19 years old to go to New 
Mexico, but I have never gotten there yet, but I hope some day to 
make it. How long did you stay in Texas ? 

Mr. Collins. I stayed in the first place that I settled for 2 or 3 
years.^ Then I become unsettled and I stayed for 4. or 5 years at 
from just first one place to another, place to place, and then I 

Mr. Parsons. Do you mean from place to place in Texas or to other 

Mr. Collins. No; I went through New Mexico all right, and 
through Arizona and to California. 

Mr. Parsons. What years were you making these travels through 
New Mexico, Arizona, and California ? You have been to California 


]SIr. Collins. Yes, sir. I guess that must have been from 1924 
to 1928, alono; in there somewhere; I don't recall exactly. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of work were you doing then? 

Mr. Collins. Well, we were mostly picking cotton, and we picked 
some lettuce, and in California we worked some in the grapes and 
some in the lemons. 

Mr. Parsons. You were familiar with the cotton-picking business 
back in the Carolinas and Georgia and over in Texas, too, weren't 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

i\lr. Parsons. Did you ever own a farm of your own? 

]\Ir. Collins. No, sir ; I never did. 

Mr. Parsons. What happened to your father's farm — what was the 
disposition of it? 

Mr. Collins. He married again and finally it was sold; he raised 
another family and really I don't know just what happened to it. 

Mr. Parsons. Didn't you contract to buy a farm down in Georgia 
at one tmie ? 

Mr. Collins. I did. I bought a little ])lace down there, in coming 
back from out of the West, but I didn't have verv much money, and 
I paid $200 on this farm and the boll weevils got in on it; I didn't 
have the means of raising anything much but cotton. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you get the $200 to pay down;on it? 

Mr. Collins. Oh, at different places, picking cotton and one thing 
and another; no certain place where I got it. 

Mr. Parsons. About what were 3^our wages annually for picking 
cotton and in the making of the cotton crop itself — I assume that you 
worked through the entire season ? 

Mr. Collins. In picking cotton. I could make from $4 to $5 per 
da}^, that is, picking cotton. In making the cotton crops about $1.25 
per day is about all that you get. 

Mr. Parsons. You earned that much in cash and did you have 
anything much besides that? 

Mv. C'.LLiNS. No; we wouldn't have anything much Avhatever. 

ISIr. Parsons. Where did you go when you returned to the South 
from California? 

Mr. Collins. I came into Georgia. 

Mr. Parsons. Into Georgia. 

Mr. Collins. Yes. Of course. I worked back through Texas. 

Mr. Parsons. You worked back through those States to Georgia? 

Mr. Collins. Yes. sir. 

Mt. Parsons. Where did you go then from Georgia ? 

Mr. Collins. I went to Florida. 

Mr. Parsons. What did you do in Florida ? 

Mr. Collins. I worked in the vegetables through the winter season; 
that is. through the vegetable season, I workecl there, and then 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of work were you doing? 

Mr. Collins. The first 2 or 3 years I worked spreading beans on a 
grading belt after I went there, and for the last 3 years I have been 
foreman of a packing house. 


Mr. Parsoxs. Are you foreman of the ]3ackinp; house now, or were 
you the last season down there ? 

Mr. Collins. I was. 

Mr. Parsons. And you expect to return to that work for the next 
season ? 

Mr. Collins. Well, I don't know; some change is being made in 
the packing- house, but I expect to be there, maybe. 

Mr. Parsons. Where do you live now? 

Mr. Collins. I live at the migratory camp. 

Mr. Parsons. What is furnished you there — what are the living 
conditions and what are the sanitaiy conditions and so on in the 
migratory camp Avhere you live ? 

Mr. Collins. The living conditions are good; we have lights and 
water and showers and everything is fixed veiy nice. 

Mr. Parsons. Who maintains the cam]) — who keeps it un? 

Mr. Collins. I suppose that the Govermnent keeps it up, so far 
as I know. 

Mr. Parsons. Have you taken any other excursions through any 
other part of the country except tliis one to California and back? 

Mr. Collins. Up until this year. I have always had to leave 
Florida in the summer due to having no place to live in the summer 
season, and I would go to Kentucky and Michigan and up through 
Indiana coming back and working in Kentucky around Paducah 
in the strawberry section going up. and around Benton Harbor I 
would work some, and would work in the strawberries and the 
cherries going up, and I would come back through Indiana and work 
in the tomatoes, and then it would be about vegetable time in Florida, 
and between those two times maybe we would have a few weeks off. 

Mr. Parsons. Have you kept an account of your earnings during 
these years of your migrations? 

Mr. Collins. I haven't kept any exact account. 

Mr. Parsons. You haven't paid any income taxes on your earnings 
so far? 

Mr. Collins. Not yet ; no, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Could you give us an approximate figure of your 

Mr. Collins. The way that it works is this: In the fall of the year, 
they have 4 or 5 good weeks when they will earn $12 to $15 a week, 
the average worker. I mean, and then there is: genei-ally a fi-ost or a 
freeze-out up there. Even if there isn't the farmers have got to 
where they expect that and plan for it. and there is 7 or 8 weeks 
lay-off and they have only about the same amount in the spring, I 
would say 6 or 7 weeks of spring work — I wouldn't think that the 
whole thing would average over $5 or $6 a week, because there is so 
much time between the crops, you see. 

Mr. Parsons. Would you say that the work for the whole year 
would range around 24 weeks out of the 52 weeks? 

Mr. Collins. Well, yes; there ought to be that much. 

Mr. Parsons. And then what has been your average daily wages 
in these other States as you have followed the strawberry season 
through Kentucky and the cherr}' season thi'ough Wisconsin and 


Mr. Collins. Oh, I could make $3 or $4 per diiy to each person 
ill the strawberry season in Kentucky. 

Mr. Parsons. What do you get per week when j'ou are foreman 
of the bean-grading plant? 

Mr. Collins. I have been getting $90 per month, or at the rate of 
$90. I actually earned $r)60 for the period of 8 months I worked as 

Mr. Parsons. F<jr how many months out of the year? 

Mr. Collins. About 8 months. 

Mr. Parsons. So that has been very much better than your average 
weekly income for the whole year in the past ? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. Parsons. And I assume if they offer you that position again 
you will go back again this year, is that correct? 

Mr. Collins. I would not like anything better than to go back. 

Mr. Parsons. How many members are in your family? 

Mr. Collins. Five. 

^Ir. Parsons. Where are they living now, that is, your wife and 
your children? 

Mr. Collins. They are at the Belle Glade Migratory Camp. 

Mr. Parsons. Do they go back and forth with you" on these mi- 

Mr. Collins. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. How do you travel ? 

Mr. Collins. In a car. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you own your own car. your own automobile? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long have you been living at Belle Glade. Fla.? 

Mr. Collins. I have been there for 6 years, but this has been the 
first year that I have stayed there because of not having any suffi- 
cient place to live through the summer months. 

Mr. Parsons. When did you come up here ? 

Mr. Collins. Do you mean to this place ? 

Mr. Parsons. To Montgomery. 

Mr. Collins. Today. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you drive up ? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir; I came with the camp manager. 

Mr. Parsons. You have been living at this camp how- long? 

Mr. Collins. It must be about since the first of— or the middle of 
April. I guess it is. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you send your childi-en to school? 

Mr. Collins. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How do they get an education, and you traveling 
through so many States, through so many different" parts of the 

Mr. Collins. My children ? 

Mr. Parsons. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Collins. Well, we don't travel Mdiile school is going on: the 
school is in the same season of the work. 

Mr. Parsons. In your experience have you ever found it possible 
as n migiant worker to establish a permanent home — have you had 


an ambition during- all of these years that if yon could find some- 
thing of a permanent nature to settle down or has this wanderlust 
fever so gotten ahold of you that you just like to keep on traveling? 

]Mr, Collins. I have tried at various times to try to locate in some 
place, but it seems that I couldn't get located someway or other. 

Mr. Parsons, That's all, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. You are excused. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 


The Chairman. Mr. Bitting, will you please come around? Please 
state your name and position for the record. 

Mr. Bitting. My name is Clarence R. Bitting. I am appearing 
here in my capacity as president of the United States Sugar Corpo- 
ration of Clewiston, Fla. 

The Chairman. Mr. Bitting, you may proceed. 

Mr. Bitting. I have a rather lengthy statement prepared here, and 
it is getting late, and I would like to file that written statement for 
the record, and just touch on some of the high points. 

The Chairman. It will be entirely satisfactoiy if you will just 
do what you have indicated now. I have read your statement that 
you are submitting for the record and it is a very valuable contribu- 
tion to this committee, and if you will just proceed with the high 
lights and touch upon what 3-ou want to go over at the moment 
from the standpoint of our investigation, j^ou may proceed. 

Mr. Bitting. I will give this copy of my statement to the stenog- 
rapher and I hope that it may be admitted as evidence here. 

The Chairman. Yes, sir ; it is admitted as evidence here. 

Statement of Clarence R. Bitting, President, United States Sugar Corpoilvtion, 

Clewiston, Fla. 

My name is Clarence R. Bitting. I am appearing liere in my capacity as presi- 
dent of United States Sugar Corporation of Clewiston, Fla. I understand we have 
been requested to present our views on the question under consideration and to 
outline the means and methods used by us in meeting the problems involved in 
large-scale agricultural employment. Only recently a Federal official, testifying 
before Senate Civil Liberties Committee, said — "The standard of living of the 
sugarcane workers employed by the United States Sugar Corporation is higher 
than the standard of most agricultural workers in the continental area. The 
seasonal migration of cane labor to Florida does not appear to present any prob- 
lems except possibly that of controlling the supply so that the maximum amount 
of employment is available for tlie year-round workers and for those employed 
only during harvesting. On the whole, sugarcane workers in Florida constitute a 
relatively privileged class of agi'icultural workers." We have consistently made 
profits during the time when most producers of the same crop were complaining 
of their inability to make ends meet because of low market prices. 

The problems being studied by this committee are today probably more serious 
than at any time in the history of our Nation. These problems have always re- 
ceived some attention from thinking jpersons because of the American emphasis 
upon living standards and protection of the ordinary man from exploitation. In 
recent years that emphasis has been accentuated, and such accentuated emphasis 
undoubtedly is, and has been, a healthy thing for America. 


Foi" an understanding of onr accomplishments to date we believe it advisable to 
outline briefly the problems and conditions we originally faced ; the philosophy 
underlying our approach to the problem ; the means and methods used to achieve 
the results obtained ; and the presentation of existing conditions on Florida 
sugarcane plantations. Such approach will, of necessity, deal with the past and 
present aspect of the problem under consideration and must at times touch upon 
the broad general agricultural problem, with which the present problem is closely 

Before staring our problem and how we solved it, perhaps it might be well to 
touch upon tlie Itasie general problems which affect the particular problem under 
consideration at this hearing. 

If our Nation is to endure, people are entitled to, and must have, certain basic 
things. These basic things are both spiritual and material. Man lives not by 
bread alone. Every man wants the satisfaction of performing a useful and 
worth-while service in exchange for the things he needs or desires ; he also wants 
the pleasures of making a secure home and of rearing a family ; self-respect 
requires that he provide his family with all the necessities and some of the funda- 
mental comforts of life ; he needs congenial companions, an outlet for religious 
aspirations, and avail.-ihility of education and recreation ; all these things produce 
spiritual and mental satisfaction. On the material side there are also basic needs ; 
these are fundamental if we are to have a healthy, happy people; such needs in- 
clude housing that will keep out the weather, clothing that will protect his family, 
proper and adequate food to keep them healthy, sanitary and medical facilities 
to ward off disease, and facilities for religious worship, education, recreation, and 
companionship. These are all simple and basic needs ; to produce satisfactory 
living they need be neither elaborate nor expensive. 

The basic phenomena of interstate migration of destitute citizens have been 
present since colonial days. Poverty, wanderlust, love of adventure, restlessness, 
and resistance to restraint, as well as the search for the pot of gold at the end 
of the rainbow, have all combined to cause the migrations which opened the country 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Closely allied with such migrations and often a 
a part of them was the itinerant worker. The itinerant worker is probably as old 
as mankind. In colonial days we had itinerant cobblers, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, 
clockmakers, tool grinders, and others; during the Middle Ages they had the 
wandering minstrel. 

Interstate migration of our people in search of health, recreation, adventui'e, or 
the hope of improving their econcmiic condition is not something new, nor is it 
something inherently evil. Our forefathers faced hardship and suffering during 
their migrations when this continent was opened to civilization. The evils in migra- 
tions of our people in search of employment have become aggravated during the 
past decade by reason of absence of homesteading lands as well as unusual eco- 
nomic and social conditions forced upon them, but the evils, hardships, and suf- 
ferings are not generally as deplorable as the overdrawn picture used as a back- 
ground for recent inexcusable widespread retailing of dirt, smut, and depravity. 

The problems associated with migrations of a substantial portion of our people 
in .search of employment are not restricted to rural areas. In both number of 
itinerant or seasonal workers, and the seriousness of their problems, our large 
industrialized urban centers present an even greater need for solution. Insofar 
as the problem in our rural areas is concerned, it is closely bound up with the 
problems of farm income, farm indebtedness, farm tenancy, sharecroppiug, and 
kindred facets of our farm problem as a whole. No one angle of our agricultural 
problem can be solved without careful consideration of all other angles ; properly 
solved, the solution of any one angle of the problem will help to solve the other 

In a sincere effort to soften the harsh problem of the seasonal worker in both 
industry and agriculture one of our best known and most successful industrialists 
has both advocated and practiced the theory of combining work in both fields 
through the use of small factories for the production of automotive parts during 
the slack farming season. An adoption of such method by many of our large 
industrial enterprises, which can afford to carry substantial inventories of stand- 
ardized parts, would be of great assistance in helping to solve the problem of the 
seasonal worker and thus reduce the necessity for migration. The relocation, 
away from our overpopulated and overlarge cities of small seasonally active indus- 
trial plants in rural connnunities where the agricultural peak and industrial peak 
do not coincide, will also prove very helpful. 


The problem of migratory, seasonal agricultural workers is bound up in the 
solution of all our economic problems, both industrial and agricultural, but more 
immediate relief will iindoubtedly be found in a solution of our agricultural 
problem. For years and years we have talked farm relief and we have legislated 
farm relief; in recent years we have spent billions for farm i-elief. Based upon 
remarks of those in authority, the farm papers, the heads of farm organizations, 
and Members of Congress, we are further aw;iy from realistic relief for our 
farmers than ever before. Surely such a condition indicates we have been on the 
wrong course. Perhaps we have substituted words foi- thoughts and in so doing 
the words have been worn smooth because the thoughts expi'essed are worn empty. 

Our agricultural economists have completely and utterly failed our farmers; 
instead of finding ways and means to cure the problems causing migrations of 
destitute farm families, they have apparently wandered over the earth with 
their heads in Olympian clouds. To illustrate, permit me to quote from one 
of the papers presented at the annual meeting of the American Farm Economic 
Association held at Philadelphia, December 27, 2S;. and 29. 1989. 

"Part of the income from farming to the small owner-farmer, is the oppor- 
tunity to accumulate through investing spare-time family labor in clearing land, 
fencing, construction or improvement of buildings." That statement probably 
sounded deliciously nice when read in the cozy warmth and luxury of a big 
city hotel on a cold, wintry day. The starry-eyed, long-haired, flowing-tied 
idealist could have been extremely helpful had he described hf)w the trash 
from the cleared land could be served as a delicious and nourishing meal to a 
growing family ; how the fencing could be used to replace the worn-out tire on 
the tractor or car ; how the building improvements could be made into attractive 
and serviceable clothing for the family : and how all the left-overs could be 
used for cash to pay the hired man. 

Before outlining the early conditions of sugar production in the Everglades 
a brief description of the area will help to build a mental background for that 
which follows. Unlike the usual illustrations in school geographies, the Ever- 
glades is a vast, almost perfectly flat area : that portion of the area with which 
we are now concerned is to the east and south of Lake Okeechobee; a line 
running east and west and touching the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee 
would reach from West Palm Beach on the Atlantic to Fort Myers on the 
Gulf of Mexico, a distance of 120 miles; the highest natural point on such line 
is scarcely 20 feet above sea-level ; excepting on what are termed "ridges" 
on which grow some few stunted custard-apple trees, all trees in the area have 
been brought in by mankind for shade, decoration and as fences along canals, 
which canals have been provided for the purpose of draining the rich humus 
muck land, the grade of which is not sufficient for natural drainage. 

In 1925 an ambitious plan for the reclamation of large areas in the Ever- 
glades and their planting to sugarcane was undertaken. For various reasons 
this resulted in failure during 1980. Shortly after the appointment of receivers 
for the Everglades cane sugar development in 1930, creditors and substantial 
stockholders of the old company requested Bitting. Incorporated, a management 
organization, to make a study of the situation to determine the desirability of 
reorganizing the properties. As a result of studies and recommendations made 
by us the sugar-producing properties in the Everglades were acipiired by United 
States Sugar Corporation. 

During the examination and siu'vey of the properties we found low wages, 
poor housing, and almost complete absence of recreational and similar facilities; 
we found a labor peak, lasting but 3 months, ecjuiil to more than three times the 
labor requirement during the balance of the year; we also found what might 
well be expected — a dissatisfied force of employees and extremely high labor 
tnrn-over. In oidy one of the operation's many plantation villages were these 
conditions not present, although, as elsewhere on the property, low wages 

To accomplish the aims we set for ourselves — namely, a successful sugar- 
producing property in the Everglades — we knew that one of the first ob.iectives 
had to be a satisfied, healthy, happy field organization. As most of the work dur- 
ing the harvest was on piece-work rates we made slight increases in these rates; 
knowing there were right and wrong ways and methods of cutting and loading 
cane we hired an expert to teach the men proper working methods, which 
instruction is now continued through the group leaders; without further 


changes in the piece-work rates the men were enabled to ^^^"^If t;^^*-." .f.;^.;.;.^ 
eaSgs and we^nade no attempt to cut wage rates. We i^bu 1 he ^ il ag^es 
t-ctiiii s.'^ K„,-c TA'o-itiit>r-Hs?ht cottases the exteriors ot which aie s^neainea 
^it^%:^j!^^e^^^^^^^rnvroye village appearance we offered 
^ri'/P« for nie best lawns tlower gardens, and vegetable gardens. As we do 
nor nein it cii d labor we 1 that the children attend school. These 

ms^were not ache^^^^^^^ "or were they achieved without costs; we 

knew Tt would take time and cost money. The time has been well spent and 
fhe moiieT cost has paid excellent dividends. Today we have a happy, healthy, 
contS'lS? labor l?.rce with a turn-over that would make many able industnal- 

'' PlKse'do" not'"n1sunderstand me. We were not interested solely in the 
we^Jare of thT field h.l>orer: we knew we had to have a good crew or we 
Tonld not be successful: the labor angle was but one of our problems, the 
^^u I. s of wh ch all meshed together for the achievement of our aims. As 
Tre vioSv stS the time we acquired the proi^erties the harvest season 

pitendedfoV a period of but H months and involved a peak labor torce more 
dm^ hie times'^ that required for the balance of the year. The last published 
renort oft ^^companv covers the 193^9 harvest: during that harvest we 
Sated for 174 davs, almost 6 months, practically double the period of harvest 
when the roperties were acquired. This longer harvest season means pro- 
noitLiatel gS^^^^ labor during the balance of the year with 

fhe result that todav more than half the peak labor requirement is on the 

^Th?'Li-vrieason"waJ"xtended for other reasons than creating work for 
employees but creation of more continuous work helped tremendously in the 
sSStion of the labor problem. To achieve this much longer harvest season 
ft wa^necessarv to improve our methods of water control and we had to 
de^efop'new aid improved varieties of -f-'-^to mature -er a longer 
iievinri A suear house costs approximately $l,fMK) pei ton ot aaiiy c.iiie 
apK^tvoiSa^rage daily capacity is in excess of 5,000 tons; forgetting all 
faSors burcapital investment in sugar-house facilities, doubling the length of 
hai-ve 't season increases the capacity of the sugar house to the same extent 
as f he ha -Vest season remained the same and the sugar-house facilities 
were doubled save one excepth.n, and it is an important exception; there is 
H;5 (MX) 000 less fixed capital invested in sugar-house facilities. .*-<-• i 

i^Siicaue culture and harvesting in the Everglades requires substantia 
canitalinvestments in both field machinery and equipment, savings in capital 
fn?es ments for these iten.s iu the field are equally as imi>ortant as the 
"rvLVg" described for sugar-house facilities. Private research in the develop- 
ment of cane varieties and improvements in methods of water control have 
sXtantiillv reduced the amount of necessary capital as compared with 
'i^^eThodsn force when the properties were acquired: such achievements have 
released much capital now used and useful for other purposes. « .Jt were not 
?or the inquitous provisions of the Sugar Act of 1937. which prohibits Ameri- 
caiis from supplving their ..wn needs of a nonsurplus necessary and vital food, 
Florida could extend its harvest season for a full 7 months or more which 
would g[ve at least 7 months' work to peak labor requirements, and year- 
round work to more than two-thirds of the peak requirement, and, further, 
equallv if not more important, would permit more extensive cane raising, on 
an efficient and cooperative basis, by the independent farmers of the area and 
?hus provide good wages and high standards of living for thousands and 
thousands of skilled and semiskilled white men and for tens and tens of 

'"rtaf lta'rSn?iTurbriefly upon the achievements which have made 
possible 'the statement that our employees were in many ways a privileged 
class of agricultural workers. Permit me to now describe our methods 

Agricultural operations of United States Sugar Corporation are spread over a 
50-^ile front, around the eastern and southern shores of Lake Okeechobee, from 
a point just north of Canal Point on the east, around the rim of the lake to a 
point just south of Moore Haven on the west. To serve these operations and 
keep the emplovees close to the center of their activities it is necessary that pro- 
vision be made for housing and maintaining employees throughout the propert^^ 
The plantations are not in one solid block, but are interspersed with the cane and 
vegetable plantations of numerous independent growers ; several good-sized towns, 
260370—40 — pt. 2 8 


ranging upwards to 5,000 inhabitants, including Canal Point, Pahokee, Belle 
Glade, South Bay, Lake Harbor, Clewiston, and Moore Haven are located within 
the general area in which the Corporation conducts its activities. 

Plantation employees reside in 11 villages strategically located throughout the 
property, often close by a city or town located in the general area. Besides clean, 
sanitary, weatherproof cottages for employees and their families, each village 
contains accommodations for single employees, office, store, shops, and equip- 
ment sheds, as well as schools, churches, recreational and first-aid facilities. 
Employee hospitals are maintained at Clewiston on the west and Canal Point 
on the east. The plantation villages, actually small towns in themselves, have 
attracted much favorable comment from official and casual visitors not only on 
their sanitary conditions and attractive appearance but on the many conveniences 

Company stores are clean, attractive, well stocked, and are equipped with 
modern fixtures ; annual sales are in excess of $7r>0,UO0 and the stores are operated 
at a small loss, varying from a low of $2,500 in s.ome years to as much as $12,000 
in other years. The stores are operated on a strict cash-and-carry basis without 
compulsion of any kind on the employees to patronize them: these stores are 
operated as a convenience for the employees, the sole purpose being to insure 
availability of good merchandise at reasonable prices. 

The question has been raised at various times as to the reason for the excellent 
cottages furnished rent free to field workers and their families. The answer is 
simple. The asbestos shingle used for siding is not only weatherproof and fire- 
resistant but is also relatively inexpensive to maintain and to keep clean and 
fresh looking; a good, substantial roof adds to weathertight qualities; screens 
make life more healthy and more comfortable. It is poor economy to use shacks 
for housing employees; the field worker and his family who reside in a .good 
house are healthy and happy; illness is commonplace in shacky con.'^truction • 
thus two shacks are necessary to house two ill, miserable, and unhappy families 
as against one well-built cottage to house one healthy, happy family ; the well- 
built cottage costs no more, if as much, as two shacks ; the total labor requirement 
on the plantation is less; and those employed, by reason of steady earnings can 
enjoy a much higher living standard. As we rebuilt the plantation villages the 
ttplift in morale was quite apparent; the workers and their families took more 
pride in the appearance of their homes and gardens ; they were personally cleaner 
and wore cleaner and better clothes. All these things" combine to make better 
workmen, and good workers are one of the seci-ets of success. 

In practically every village, school buildings have been furnished by the Cor- 
poration to the local school boards ; in the few villages where schools have not 
been provided company transportation is furnished to carrv the children to the 
school in the next adjoining village. As the colored teachers are accorded the 
status of a company employee insofar as perquisites are concerned we have been 
able to attract college graduates as teachers; domestic science is a required 
study for girls and extension courses are given for the older women; some of 
the schools now have manual-training courses for the older bovs and our iilans 
contemplate extension of this training to all village scliools ; the manual-training 
courses were an experiment during the past year and have proAed verv successful 
We insist that all childj-en in company villages attend school ; children have never 
been permitted to work on the company's operations. Choral groups and bands 
amongst both children and adidts, are encouraged, the Corporation supplviu"- both 
instruments and instruction. 

Methods employed in connection with seasonal workers are of interest Per- 
sonnel supervisors, being active in all recreational work as well as dealing with 
all problems affecting employees, are usually known to all who have ever worked 
on the plantations. Our problem on seasonal emplovment is fairly simple as 
we now have more than 85 percent of seasonal force returning year" after year- 
our chief source of concern today is preventing an oversupplv "of labor coming 
into the plantations. Shortly before beginning of harvest a determination is 
made of the number of seasonal employees required: this number is tlien 
roughly allocated to the various localities in which the seasonal employees work 
during the balance of the year. It might be here noted that the seasonal peak 
for employment in the Everglades is during the slack season for present 
crops in northern Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina and thus 
fits ideally with requirements of those areas. After the determination, already 


mentioned, has been made, the director of personuel or his assistant, visits 

he Seven? localities, checks up on the number available and uidicates to 

one of the leaders, or straw bosses, the number of employees who will be 

'T'^^^%^^^ operated at beginning of the harvest season by 
\tlantic Coast Line and the Sugar Corporation advances railroad fare to all 
old employees; in some instances the men themselves make arrangements with 
a local operator to transport them, previous experience telling the operator the 
luga • Corporation will protect his fare if reasonable; in other instances cotton 
plantation operators provide transportation in both directions at the beginning 
and end of crop for their employees who are thus afforded an opportunity for 

^'TpirarrSSfanhf plantations the employees go directly to the "receiving 
station" where they are given a physical examination; those who do not pass 
«.nch examination are furnished return transportation; those who pass the 
examination are housed and fed, without cost, until assigned to regular work. 
Immediatelv upon passing physical examination they are supplied with paper, 
envelope aiid stamp and instructed to write the home folks of their arrival. 

All emplovees, either permanent or seasonal, are permitted to choose the over- 
seer under "whom thev desire to work. When overseers are moved from one 
Dlartation to another the families and personal effects of all employees who 
desire to follow him are transported at company exi>ense. Seasonal employees 
are credited with a full year's service for each season in computations relative 
to wage dividend participations. . . -^ ^.■ 

Everv now and then we uncover some more or less surprising situations. 
During recent long harvests we found some seasonal workers toward the end 
of the harvest asking for right to additional withdrawals of approximately 
$1 ner dav Innuirv develoned the fact they were hiring a home-town boy to 
do the ea'riy work on their* cotton acreage at $1 a day while they stayed on 
in the Everglades and made $3 a day or better. . . , ^ ^ 

Recreation and opiJortunitv for companionship are important elements of 
life in a plantation village. IMovies and home-talent entertainment are regular 
features- plantation boxing and interplantation bouts are also regular features 
which often take the entire population of a village on a visit to another village ; 
interplantation baseball and football leagues make Sunday afternoons a joyous 
occasion throughout the property. Pool, checkers, dominoes, and the bridge 
exnerts help to while away rainy afternoons. The village choral societies, 
of mixed voices, are establishing an enviable reputation for their rendering 
of Negro spirituals. The religious instincts of the employees and their families 
are' given full opportunity to develop. ^ ^ ,^, n. 

The harvest celebration, or barbecue day. is the big event of the year. On 
this day following the close of the harvest, the many and varied prizes are 
awarded' Prizes include those for length of service, daily turn-out for work, 
care of equipment, best record in various and sundry instances, etc., etc. Ath- 
letic events are held on this day and numerous prizes are awarded m con- 
nection therewith. So that everyone may have a chance on some prizes the 
pav-roll numbers of all employees are placed in a huge box, a number of prizes 
set aside and as the number is called the lucky employee takes his choice of 
prizes on the table. The big event of the day is the barbecue, usually per- 
sonally cooked by the plantation overseer. On last barbecue day more than 
^2 OOO' plates of lunch were served on all the plantations ; glasses of lemonade 
and dishes of ice cream exceeded this number by far, so the suspicion exists 
that repeaters showed up for these items. 

The cash wages received by workers on sugar plantations in Florida are but 
a part of their compensation, as they also receive, without any charge what- 
soever, the use of a well-built, weather-tight, sanitary cottage: fuel; running 
water; outside laundry facilities; space for vegetable and flower gardens; 
medical care and hospitalization for employees and members of their families, 
except medical care and hospitalization for "social accidents" ; churches, schools, 
and communitv facilities built and maintained by the Corporation in each 
plantation village; wholesome entertainment and recreation for workers and 
members of their families, conducted by experienced and capable persons em- 
ployed by the Corporation solely for such work ; modern and clean stores con- 
veniently located in each plantation village where the staple needs of the family 
may be secured substantially at cost, on a cash-and-carry basis, but complete 



and total absence of compulsion upon employees to trade in such stores; full 
protection and benefits of the State compensation statutes, to which the C<n-ix»- 
ration voluntarily subjected itself; participation in wage-dividend fund and 
eligibility to win a number of valuable annual prizes. In addition to all these 
valuable prequisites. the average cash wage of harvest workers during the past 
harvest was well over .$2 per day, the better workers exceeding $3 in cash per 
day. The day is 9 hours over all, which means less than 8 hours actual working 
time. . 

We have tried various methods and periods of wage payments, mcludmg 
weekly, semimonthly, and monthly payments, and the use of company money. 
Our present methods have been found to be the most satisfactory. Each and 
every employee is entitled to draw down .$2 on Mondays and Wednesdays and 
$3 on Fridays; additional withdrawals, or advances, can be had upon written 
order of plantation overseer. On the first Saturday of each month final set- 
tlement is made in cash for the previous month's earnings. When pay periods 
were on a weekly basis the contents of pay envelopes were (luickly frittered 
away ; when we used company money we found it being used in trade off the 
plantations at tremendous discounts. Today the employees draw what they 
need for their day-to-day expenditures, and when pay day rolls around they 
have sufficient fun'ds, so 'they ai-e interested in using a part to buy things for 
the family and saving the balance; many employees have ix)stal-savings ac- 
counts, and others, more particularly the seasonal workers, buy postal money 
orders to send home. 

In an effort to provide more and more year-rovind employment for ijeak-labor 
demand we have conducted extensive research. Two definite results have been 
obtained. We now have the only commercial plantings of lemon grass and 
are endeavoring to obtain planting stock for citronella grass; these grasses 
yield essential oils now imijorted, and the "spent" grass, being high in proteins, 
'makes excellent cattle feed. We are now growing other high-protein crops 
for the purpose of mixing with blackstrap, a b.vijroduct of cane sugar, for pro- 
duction of mixed stock feeds. These endeavors are for the primary purpose 
of creating additional employment during slack season; nevertheless, we expect 
to make a profit. . 

The detailed explanation of employee relationship has so far dealt exclusively 
with colored employees, because approximately 90 percent of the employees are 
Negroes. The white employees, mostly skilled mechanics, timekeepers, foremen, 
storekeepers, (ivorseprs, and clerical force also receive their full share of atten- 
tion. The center of their social life is the Clewiston Inn; they have their 
own barbecue day at the sugarhouse, with dancing in the evening; the Clewis- 
ton baseball team plays throughout south Florida, and the Sugarland Band, 
consisting of company employees, has long since ceased to fear radio 
broadcasting. . . , , ^ ^ 

Another group closely allied to our operation consists of mdei^endent farmers 
having part of their acreage planted to sugarcane and holding contracts for 
sale of such cane to the Corporation. Tlie price paid for cane is determined 
by its sugar content and the quoted price for raw sugar. These indei>endent 
growers have full access to our research and development work and freely 
call upon our various experts for advice, counsel, and guidance. In smaller 
groups, whose oiierations are contiguous, these farmers cooi^eratd in the 
purchase and use of the more expensive units of equipment. Under the methods 
just outlined these independent farmers have all the advantages of large-scale 
operation, and, as a result, they are consistent money makers. 

Plans are now being developed for establishment of Everglades Sugar Insti- 
tute, an extension technical school, suppored solely by the Corporation, to be 
opeii to all white employees not only of the Corporation Init also white einplo.vees 
of indeijendent farmers holding contracts with Corporation for sale of sugarcane. 
There have been sketched, in broad outline, the accomplishments in the 
Everglades, the philosophy underlying the approach of the problems presented, 
and some detail of method used in achieving success in southern agriculture. 
Based upon knowledge and experience gained in this and other endeavors, 
principles applicable to a solution of the problem befoi-e this committee may 
now be outlined. 

It is fundamental that neither agriculture nor industry can long continue 
to pay out more than comes in. Agriculture quite justly claims it cannot pay 


v^^ff^v wn..^« nr ^ive ereater eniplovment because <.f short seasons and the 
ex snn JSionship of^nis and\-osts. Until and nnles-s the^e conditums are 
SJfectId tho;ris Uttle hope for ending destitution and migration amongst oui 

^^SSrr^S^f'has faced me wrong f^fi^^^^^^Z^^:^^ 
directed to raising prices, or making g^!''d ?"t of he P^^^^^ ^J^^. 

ference between current price and a statistical party ^" /'"V f*^^/ ";" 4" 

f ... t-iiQ iiie r.f TP-vifultiire we have overlooked the tact tnai a cost 
?eS1^^^f $1 is a muAfiggei dc^ar than the dollar obtained thr.,ugh a 
boost prk-e Most ^o^le think all dollars are the same size; the contniry 
fs rue A dollar that stays with you is, effectively, a much larger dollar than 
he ne whic Iniust be shared with others. Naturally, when all our people 
n-e vell-Te 1 well-clothed, and well-housed our aggregate agricultural c.^ts 
will be gre^iter, but our unit agricultural costs should be lower. When speaking 
of cost reduction we mean reduction in unit cost. ^, .. f i„ 

All food most clothing, and a large part of our housing, the three funda- 
menaf mater 1 needs of^'mankind, come from the farm. We are told that one- 
S of our people are ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill-housed. Industry has fully 
demonstrated the ever-widening demand opened by each reduc-tion m selling 
nnVe made ossible by reduction in unit costs. Ignoring for the moment the 
Seat Presen day cost of distributing agricultural p.-oducts, which cost must 
Kr^substantially reduced, we have the basis for a constructive agricultural 

^'""A^'i-eductioa of cost of $1 yields an immediate return equal to more than an 
increase of $1 in selling price; the dollar of reduction in cost all goes into the 
pocket of the fanner, whereas a dollar increase in selling price must be shared 
with all the long line of middlemen. The second dollar ot reduced costs, passed 
m in selling price, means a reduction of more than a dollar t.. the consuruer, 
becausfall th?iniddlemen have to give up their percentage, too. A $2 reduction 
in cost of production thus gives an immediate dollar to the farmer, and he 
other dollar, applied to reducing selling price, opens up a wider ^onwlu^^n^% 
market To (.bta in such reductions in unit cost of production and thus make 
greater profits while at the same time opening ever-widening markets requires 
fome very basic changes in the viewpoint of many persons, particularh some 

^^T^Iftstze^oT miration has a very distinct bearing upon our agricultural prob- 
lems was tli<)r.)ughlv appreciated during 1929 by a person wlio later became a 
leader of the "brain trust" and very active in directing agricultural policy, al- 
though not along the lines he advocated in 1929. His attitude can best be 
expressed bv quoting selected sentences from an article published in 1929. I 
ouote • "The operating units of the future must be larger than those of the present. 
k dozen miserable farms, which pay their operators poor returns, might be made, 
if thev were combined and expertly managed, to yield a good return The really 
disturbing tlung is that this whole range of considerations never enters any dis- 
cussion of proposals for relief. The probabilities for the new agriculture are 
that it will be carried on in larger units, but on less land and with a smaller 
personnel : it will be more highly capitalized ; there will be fewer proprietors and 
more workers. It is not use we have to fear, but abuse. Certainly those indus- 
tries which have been most profitable are the ones which now exhibit the best 
technique the greatest devotion to efficiency, and consequently the lowest costs. 
Perhaps the first step necessary in agriculture is to make it likewise profatable ; 
its present backwardness is not only a disgrace to those actively engaged in it, but 
a gross reflection on American ability and a significant drag on the whole economic 

* " bur experience in the Everglades bears out, in part, the quotations just read. 

Fifty men on our property rate as key executives, and through our executive 
bonus plan each vear increase their interest, or equity, in the Corporation : their 
current earning abilitv is much greater than would be the case if they operated a 
portion of the Corporation's property as an independent farm. If the proi^erty 
were equallv divided amongst our executive staff, each would direct the operations 
of 500 acres have 50 permanent employees, and 50 seasonal employees. It is ex- 
tremelv doubtful if such an operation would produce a net profit after all charges, 
including the operators' present salary, equal to one-fiftieth of our present rate ot 
earnings- certainly such an independent operator would have difficulty raising 


one-fiftietli of the capital now employed: such an operation could not afford to 
carry on the research work that has resulted in improved methods of water control, 
development of new cane varieties which helped to double the length of harvest 
season, and the finding of new crops for the area ; unit costs of production would 
undoubtedly be higher. 

Larger operating units will practice more intensive cultivation, and while out- 
ting down the total acreage under cultivation may well increase the number of 
workers in agriculture ; other advantages of the large operating unit will be the 
available resources and ability to conduct private research looking toward new 
uses for old products and production of new crops, as well as the ability to acquire 
ways and means of reducing unit costs. Some of these advantages can be obtained 
by closely knit cooperation of a number of farmers in the same locality, as has 
been definitely proved by some of the independent sugarcane farmers in the 

A large unit, having a substantial reserve of seasonal labor, has a much better 
opportunity to develop subsidiary operations to take up the seasonal slack, work 
out a plan for joint use of labor with another area whose peak-labor demand fits 
into the .slack period of the first-mentioned oi^eration, and is in a position to deal 
with an industrial concern for development of industrial production during slack 
agricultural labor demand. 

Tlie points just developed all deal with large-scale farming units, but it must 
not be inferred that we do not believe in the family-size farm. The family-size 
farm has a very definite place in our agricultural economy; modern methods have 
made the family-size unit much larger than in earlier days; much work formerly 
performed on tlie farm is now i>erformed in city factories. IJnfortunately Messrs. 
Currier and Ives, through their famous lithographs, have implanted an erroneous 
impression of family farming — the day of their self-sufficing unit is gone: our 
family farmer has to raise a larger proportion of cash crops. The family farm 
should and nuist be encouraged, we should have more of them, but to survive they 
must cut their unit cost of production and distribution. The family unit and the 
large unit can live side by side and support and supplement eacli other, but the 
family unit must avail itself of cooperative activities to an extent probably un- 
dreamed of today. More thorough understanding of, and more complete partici- 
pation in, cooperative enterprise will not only assure the continuation of what 
always has been, and always will be, the backbone of our country — the family-size 
farming units — but will make such farms a more satisfying means of livelihood. 

Please note that I called farming a means of livelihood, not a mode of life. 
I am weary of listening to smug-voiced hypocrisy state farming is a mode of 
life in such a way as to imply that farmers, having a mode of life, should be 
happy to slowly starve to death. Farming is a mode of life, but so is practicing 
law, operating a hotel, running a retail store, driving a taxicab, working in a 
factory, managing a railroad, and running a bank; but only the farmer is 
expected to be satisfied with a return limited to "a mode of life." The sur- 
prising thing is that farmers have complacently accepted this attitude, although 
good farmers usually have greater ability and more capital, and certainly have 
a great deal more common sense, than the smug-mugged occupants of leather 
chairs in club windows who conduct so-called knowing discourses on the welfare 
of the Nation. 

It might be well to direct attention to possible Injury from overextension of 
a plan fathered by some persons deeply interested in the welfare of our agri- 
cultural population. There are many sharecroppers and tenants who do not 
have either the ability or the desire to operate their own property ; these 
people would be much better ofT as farm workers on a large operating unit con- 
ducted along lines similar to sugar production in the Everglades. We all know 
numerous laborers, croppers, and tenants upon whom would be perpetrated a 
most ghastly joke if they were set upon a farm of their own through Govern- 
ment assistance. The tragedy would not only be disillusionment and discour- 
agement, but even worse, human failure. 

Based upon both study and experience, we believe suggestions we now offer 
will be helpful in solving the problems confronting our agricultural economy and 
aiding in reducing the misery of migratory, seasonal farm labor. These sugges- 
tions are not offered in the spirit of a cure all; they will fit into and help in 
broader solutions and need not interfere with any present or future plans for 
agricultural relief; they are worthy of careful consideration because they have 
been proved successful. 


?h7SiSlr larger operating units. This may be accomplished indi^ 
Tiduany corporately, or cooperatively, or by all three basic methods working in 

''1econ^SlsL^aS'SeJafing units could cooperate with similar units in 
other iwts of the country whose peak-labor demands do not coincide Such 
method w-oukl tend to provide continuity of employment for seasonal labor 
reauirement by definite and continuing groups of employers. 

Third These larger units, either individually or cooperatively, could afford 
to undertake priva^ research looking toward lengthening seasonal peak labor 
requremSitl: development of subsidiary crops to provide additional employ- 
ment i^ slack season: development of new crops, the peak labor demand of 
whch will fit into slack labor demand on existing crops; finding and encourag- 
^grm-Il location of small industrial plants which can absorb some labor during 
s"lck agricu tural seasons; ways and means of reducing costs so as to increase 
pStsfnd broaden markefs ; increasing the effectiveness of agricultura labor to 
the end that earnings of agricultural workers may be increased without mcreas- 

'""ISenirSttftetgencres can well afford to give realistic assistance to such 
a program, although our own experience clearly indicates that initiative in 
such an approach must come from the farmers themselves. , • ^^ 

If encouragement, either tacit or otherwise, is to be given other countries to 
usurp our foreign markets and, at the same time, we are pronibited from sup- 
plving our own needs, in favor of the produce of foreign peonage or worse, the 
outlook for our people is dark, dull, and dismal, as destitution is bound to in- 
crease A realistic approach to our own problems, for the benefit of our own 
people, means a future for our country greater and better than anything ever 
witnessed in the world. ,. ^ i. *■ *. 

In closing mv statement I cannot resist the temptation to direct attention to 
a most glaring, unjust, and unfair accusation made against the South, lor 
years the South has borne the cost of educating her youth, only upon maturity 
to find them grabbed bv the industrial, commercial, and financial North and 
East- this condition has placed an unfair educational burden upon most 
Southern States; in addition, it has prevented the South's utilizing the genius 
abilitv, and capabilitv which she cradled and fostered. The South has the most 
abundant supply of 'two of the three essentials for plant life— rainfall and 
sunshine, she has an adequacy of the third essential— soil. Every agency but 
nature has apparently combined to stifle the resources and capabilities ot the 
South • we in the Everglades, have shown that the highest standards of living 
in agriculture can be maintained in the South; we are sure this same condi- 
tion can be proved in industry ; we are satisfied that once equality with the 
rest of the Nation can be obtained, the South will forge rapidly to the lead. 
Most emphatically the South is not a problem, economic or otherwise, to the 
Nation, unless such problem be to find ways and means of continuing her 


Mr. Bitting. To give a background, I would like to file some copies 
of photographs I have with each member of the committee. I have 
a booklet here which contains all of these photographs, and I would like 
to offer it as an exhibit. 

(Booklet, entitled "The Fruit of the Cane" was received in evidence 
and placed in the files of the committee, but not printed.) 

Mr. Bitting. Some pictures contained in my exhibit deal with the 
general area and show what the Everglades were before our develop- 
ment took place and how it has been developed. Other pictures deal 
with the plantation villages. We maintain our own villages, some 11 
villages throughout the property on a 50-mile front. Those villages 
house our workers, both permanent and seasonal. About one-half of 


our workers are permanent worker.s and the other half are seasonal 

I feel that we have contributed something toward a cure of the 
migrant problem. When I first took those properties over, the labor 
peak ran for 3 months 

The Chairman. When did you take it over? 

Mr. Bitting. In 1931. The labor peak at that time ran for a period 
of 3 months and the peak was some 3 times the permanent force. Today 
we operate a peak force for approximately 6 months and about half 
of the peak force stays on the property all the year around. We have 
done that for several reasons; we wanted to give better housing accom- 
modations for our employees, and, of course, we wanted to make more 
money for the company. We felt that we could make more money by 
doing this, and it is a fact that we have, and I will be glad to file with 
the committee reports showing our corporation has been a consistent 
money maker in the operation of these properties while other people 
growing the same crops complain because they don't make any money. 

]\Ir. Parsons. How many Avorkers do you have ? 

Mr. Bitting. At our peak we have about 5.000 workers, about 90 
or 95 percent of whom ar-e southei-n Negroes and about 5 percent of 
whom are skilled and semiskilled workmen, mechanics, bookkeepers, 
storekeepers, and so forth. We operate 11 stores in these villages; 
there are some pictures of those stores in the pictures I have submitted 
to you. At the stores we sell about three-quartei-s of a million dollars 
worth of groceries a year to our employees and — I should say mer- 
chandise, and in selling that merchandise to the employees we lose a 
little money. Our loss in the sale of the merchandise to our employees 
has been as low as $2,500 a year, and it has been as high as $25,000 a 
year. We operate these stores not to make money, but to make sure 
that the employees may be assured of good merchandise at reasonable 

We do not allow any children to work on our plantation, no child 
labor. We operate schools on our plantations and insist that the 
children go to school. 

We bring in for our peak labor season about one-half of our total 
help. We don't use contractors in bringing in any of our labor. Our 
own personnel division attends to such matters. We have a man 
in charge of the recreational work features and I am filing various 
pictures showing the recreational features of our company. 

The Chairman. Where do you bring your extra workers from? 

Mr. Bitting. They come from northern Florida, Alabama, Georgia, 
and the Carolinas. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad runs a train 
at the beginning of the harvest and brings them down. We advance 
the railroad fare. There are certain cotton-plantation operators who 
bring most of their crews down to us some time and then they come 
back and get them after our harvest season is completed. Our rush 
season fits in very well with the cotton season. We start our harvest 
when they are through with their cotton and finish about the time that 
they are starting. 

Mr. Parsons. I would presume that you are systematizing vour 
sugar-plantation operations at Clewiston very much as they have 
done in the Philippines and Hawaii ? 


Mr. Bitting. I don't know wliat they have done out there, but I 
have read some of the articles that have been written, and I wouldn't 
like to be likened to the Philippine and the Hawaiian labor situation, 
particularly according to some of the Labor Department reports on 
the operations over there. I wouldn't like to have our operations 
likened to theirs. 

Mr. Parsons. I notice that you are colonizing these workers in 
villages. Why do you do that? 

Mr. Bitting. We do that for two reasons. In the first place, it keeps 
them handier to their work and it gives us little settlements through- 
out the plantation which are self-contained. 

The Chairman. How many acres of these Everglades lands have 
you reclaimed? 

INIr. Bitting. We have under cultivation in sugarcane at the present 
time 25,000 acres. 

In addition to that, the independent growers who operate prac- 
tically on the same basis as we do have some 3,000 acres. 

We are not permitted to sell our full output, however, under the 
sugar-quota law. 

The Chairman. Tell us about the housing facilities on your plan- 

Mr. Bitting. If you will look at the pictures in the exhibit that I 
have submitted, you will get some idea of the housing on our prop- 
erties. AVe use shingles to a large extent for the reason that they 
give a good substantial roof, and we use the asbestos shingles for 
several reasons — it affords a waterproof building and is fire re- 
sistant and makes it fairly easy to keep clean and maintain. As you 
will notice from the pictures, those houses are screened. Lots of 
jjeople who come down there in different capacities have expressed 
wonder as to why we give such good housing, such good accommo- 
dations for living quarters. When I first took those properties over, 
the accommodations were very much poorer than they are today. I 
believe in good housing. Shacks don't save the employer any money. 
A shack or poor construction in the living quarters for your em- 
ployees means sick, miserable people, and if some of your people are 
sick you have to have more people on the plantation. With a sick 
man on the plantation, you have to have two families there half of 
the time and then neither one of them can make enough money to 
make a decent living. With good housing and good living condi- 
tions, you have a healthy family, and you thereby only have to supply 
one good house for them to live in instead of two shacks. 

Mr. OsMERS. What would you say that your production of sugar 

Mr. Bitting. We run a little bit better than 4 tons of sugar to the 

Mr. OsMERS. Four tons of sugar to the acre, did you say? 
Mr. Bitting. Yes, sir; we have about 28,000 acres, all told, in the 
Everglades under production. That would give us something in 
excess of 100,000 tons of sugar annually, and my calculation shows 
it to be 115,000 tons this year. Under the sugar quota act of 1937, 
that is under the determinations made by the Secretary of Agricul- 
ture, we are limited to some 54,000 or 55,000 tons. 


Mr. OsMERS. Under the present Federal legislation affecting sugar, 
yon are only allowed to sell abont one-half of your actual or your 
potential production? 

Mr. BiTTiXG. Not our potential production— but our actual pro- 

Mr. OsMERS. Of what you said your production is? 

Mr. Bitting. Yes, sir;' but we can sell only about one-half of what 
w^e now have under production. 

Mr. OsMERS. What does it cost you to produce a hundred pounds 
of raw sugar ? 

Mr. Bitting. In the cost statement, it shows 2.04 cents per hundred 
pounds f. o. b. the sugar house. Running at capacity, operating the 
full 7 months, we could make it for substantially under 2 cents. 

Mr. OsMERS. And when you say substantially under 2 cents, just 
what figure do you have in mind ? 

Mr. Bitting. And when I say substantially under 2 cents, I mean 
that we have included everything in there, adequate depreciation and 
all of our overhead. 

Mr. OsMERs. Wliat would you say would be your figure when you 
say substantially under? 

Mr. Bitting. 'I would say 1.80 or 1.85 per hundred would be sub- 
stantially under the first figure that I mentioned. 

Mr. OsMERS. ^Vlmt is the world price of sugar today? Isn't it a 
fact that the world price of sugar today is $1.15? 

Mr. Bitting. No, sir; the world price of sugar on yesterday was 
around 90 cents. Cuba can't make sugar as cheaply as we do when 
you give full consideration to depreciation, if you take out of our 
cost the things that Cuba does not include in their cost. 

Mr. OsMERS. Such as what? 

Mr. Bitting. Adequate depreciation and overhead expenses. A 
lot of those sugar places over there are owned by New York banks 
and only a part of their overhead goes in their cost in Cuba, and lots 
of them over there never put any of their depreciation in their cost 

Mr. OsMERS. What would be the largest item of depreciation in the 
sugar business? 

Mr. BriTiNG. We are very highly mechanized. During the harvest 
year 1938-39— to answer your question— the depreciation charged 
against the sugar-house operation, that is, the extraction of the sugar 
from the cane and its crystallization into raw sugar — we produce only 
raw sugar, the same as most of the plantations in Cuba, and Hawaii, 
and the Philippines— the depreciation against the sugar house itself 
was 180,000-odd dollars. Now, against the field equipment, the de- 
preciation on the field equipment was $133,000, and then on railroad 
facilities— we operate our own locomotive and own railroad cars over 
the public railroad — our depreciation on those cars was something 
over $36,000. So. you have an amount in excess of $300,000 charged off 
right there. 

Mr. OsMERS. How is it that the Cuban producers can eliminate in- 
definitely the item of depreciation in setting up their cost? 


Mr. Bitting. They don't eliminate it just because they don't charge 
it off in their cost figures, but it does not show up in their cost state- 
ment. Some day they will find that their plants are worn out and 
they will go through the wringer again. 

Mr. OsMERs. Yes, go through the wringers again and again, pos- 

Mr. Bitting. Yes, they will go through the wringer again and 
again, and as you probably know, some of them already have. 

Mr. OsMERs'. That's all. 

Mr. Bitting. I touched slightly upon the mechanization of our 
farms. I have heard several comments here on farm mechanization. 
I would like to point out that in our operation we have about 2,500 
men the year round on a 25,000-acre plantation, and we have about 
5,000 at times, and that is the equivalent of 3,750 man-years. I suppose 
you would put it, on the 25,000-acre plantation — that is less than 8 acres 
lo the worker. One of the members of the Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics said that the average acreage under cultivation per capita 
in the South was only 8 acres. Xow, on a per capita basis, figuring 
five to the family, to get it down to a family basis, five times eight is 
40 acres as against tlie figures that we have shown. Mechanization 
does not necessarily decrease the number of workers. More intensive 
cultivation might increase the acreage but not necessarily decrease the 
number of employees. 

I think that it is important that we continue mechanization on 
the farm. I don't think that your answer is going to be found in 
giving continual relief to farmers, but I think that you will have 
to get the farmer on a self-supporting basis and that the best way 
to do that is to increase the output and the way to get greater output 
is to cut down the cost. 

The Chairman. We thank you very much, Mr. Bitting. Your en- 
tire statement, a copy of which you have submitted to us and to the 
reporter, has been incorporated in the record. 

Mr. BiiTiNG. Thank you, sir. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 

The Chairman. We will now adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow 

(Whereupon, at 4:30 p. m., August 14, 1940, the hearing was 
recessed until 10 a. m., August 15, 1940.) 



House of Representatives, 
Select Committee to In\-estigate the 
Interstate Migration of Destitute Citizens, 

Montgomery^ Ala. 

The committee met at 10 a. m. in the United States Circuit Court 
of Appeals courtroom of the Post Office Building, Montgomery, Ala., 
Hon. John H. Tolan (chairman) presiding. 

Present: Representatives John H. Tolan, chairman; Claude V. 
Parsons; John J. Sparkman; Carl T. Curtis; and Frank C. Osmers, 


Also present: Robert K. Lamb, chief investigator; George Wolf, 
chief field investigator; Harold D. Cullen, field investigator; Creek- 
more Path, field investigator; and Irene Hageman, field secretary. 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 

Is Mr. Scott in the room? 

(No response.) 

The Chairman. Is Mr. Fluker in the room? 

A Voice. Here. 

The Chairman. If there are any A. A. A. representatives here, 
will you please stand up? The suggestion has been made that if 
there are any other representatives of the A. A. A. here, that you get 
together and submit some statement for the record before we finish 
the hearing tomorrow. 

communications from the southern governors conferencce 

Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Chairman, I would like permission at this 
time to insert into the record a telegram that I received yesterday 
afternoon from Gov. E. D. Rivers, of Georgia, who is chairman of 
the Southern Governors Conference. In that telegram he delegates 
Mr. P. O. Davis, director of extension service for Alabama, to repre- 
sent the Southern Governors Conference. Last night Mr. P. O. Davis 
handed me a statement and asked that it be included in the record 
as being a statement from the Southern Governors, and I ask per- 
mission to at this time have incorporated in the record both the tele- 
gram from Governor Rivers and the statement handed me by Mr. 



Tlie Chairman. Those will be admitted to the record. 
Telegram and statement read as follows: 


Atlanta, Ga., August H, 1940. 
Congressmau John J. Spakkman, 

Congressional Investigating Committee, 

Jefferson Davis Hotel, Montgomery, Ala.: 
Ill response to Chairman Tolan's invitation, I have delegated Mr. P. O. Davis» 
director of extension service for Alabama, to represent Southern Governors 
Conference :it your investigation. He will appear August 15. 

E. D. RrvBajs, Governor. 

Statement Fbom Southern Go^'ernors 

(Presented by P. O. Davis, director, extension service, Alabama Polytechnic 
Institute, by special request) 

Since appearing before this committee on August 14 I have been requested 
by Gov. E. D. Rivers, of Georgia, chairman of the Southern Governors Confer- 
ence, to represent the southern Governors by presenting a statement for your 
consideration and your records. 

In 1939 the southern Governors launched a program calling for "'balanced 
prosperity in the South during the decade of 1940-50." With the cooperation 
of private citizens, public agencies, and constructive corporations, these Gover- 
nors have launched this campaign, based upon their designation of "Ten roads 
to balanced prosperity," as follows: 

1. Balance money crops (including forestry) with "food, feed, and fertility 

2. Balance crops with livestock, consistent with sound land use. 

3. Balance production progress with marketing and transportation opportuni- 
ties, without trade barriers. 

4. Balance farms with factories. 

5. Land, water, and mineral resources with population needs. 

6. Balance work with thrift and local investment. 

7. Owner prosperity with worker prosiKU'ity. 

8. Increasing income with increasing home ownership. 

9. Balance wealth witli beauty and culture. 

10. Economic gains with gains in moral values and human welfare. 

In these "roads" are the essence of much of the information which has been 
presented to your hoiun-able committee. I am honored to present this brief 
summary for your further consideration. 

You will observe that our Governors are seeking to remove the causes of 
migration of destitute citizens. 


The Chairman. You are Mr. John Beecher, supervisor, Florida 
migratory labor camps, Farm Security Administration? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Mr, Beecher, I understand that you have a state- 
ment ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. How do you desire to proceed, Mr. Beecher ? 

Mr. Beecher. I would like to be permitted to read the statement 
that I have prepared, and as I go along I will make some explanation. 

The Chairman. That is satisfactory. 


Mr. Beecher. And I want you gentlemen to feel free to interrupt 
me at any time that you wish to have any explanation of anything 
that I have said. 

The Chairman. Do you wish to stand up while you are makmg 
vour statement? 

Mr. Beecher. If I may, because I have some charts over here that 
1 desire to explain. 

The Chairman. You have a lot of ground to cover, so I presume 
that it would be desirable for you to stand up, if you wish. 

Mr. Beecher. Thank you, sir. 


Mr. Beecher (reading). In April of this year, the Farm Security 
Administration opened its first migrant camp in the east at Belle Glade, 
in the Lake Okeechobee mucklands of extreme south Florida. At dawn 
of the opening day the people from the tent colonies, the trailer camps, 
and the rickety tourist cabins which local enterprise affords were lined 
up from the office back to the gate and on down the road outside. 

First in line was a family of seven in their overloaded jalopy and 
two-wheel trailer heaped high with their poor belongings. Originally 
from Georgia, their wanderings had taken them over practically the 
entire country during the previous 3 years. The family head figured 
he had actually worked in 29 States during that period. In the last 
12 months he had averaged one interstate move a month. At 
Christmas time the family had been in an F. S. A. camp in the Im- 
perial Valley of California, near the Mexican line. Three months 
later they turned up over 3,000 miles away at the opposite geographi- 
cal extreme of the country, having crossed Arizona. New Mexico, 
Texas — with a stop-over in the lower Kio Grande Valley for a few 
weeks' work — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and about 700 miles 
of Florida down to Lake Okeechobee. Now that it is midsummer 
this family is probably working in the berries on the shore of Lake 
Michigan and accumulating a little stake to buy gas and oil for the 
next transcontinental hop — back to California perhaps by the way of 
the cotton fields of Missouri and Arkansas. This family is driven back 
and forth across the vast length and breadth of the land by no sense 
of high adventure or love of the open road, but by the stubborn belief 
that somewhere waiting is a stake for them — a home, a piece of land 
they can raise a living on, something they can tie to. For, like most 
of the farm migrants, they are not following the crops because they 
like to. they are doing it because they have to, to live. And the 
children pick strawberries from dawn to dark or pack beans from 
dark to dawn, not because the parents despise education, but because 
everybody has got to work to make a living and scrape up enough 
to get on to the next place. And most of the time they live in a one- 
room cabin or a boxcar or a tent or share a barn with several other 
families because Government camps are few and far between, and 
there are few other decent places for their like to stay. 





li;().", ,0 — 4 — pt. 2 




We are studying the chief areas of migrant concentration in the 
South and East and have mapped the great routes of migration — 
the potato migration of the Ath^ntic coast, for example, starting at 
Homestead, Fla., below Miami, in midwinter; moving northward 
through the Hastings district near St. Augustine ; Charleston County, 
S. C; Elizabeth City and Bayboro, N. C; the Eastern Shore of 
Virginia and Maryland; New Jersey; Long Island — with a few of 
the hardier migrants pushing as far north as Aroostook County, 
Maine, before turning south again. Then there is the long trail of 
the strawberry pickers from Plant City, near Tampa, Fla., west to 
Tangipahoa Parish, La., and thence up the Mississippi Valley into 
White County, Ark., western Kentucky around Paducah, the berry 
sections of Illinois and Indiana, and terminating in Berrien County, 
Mich. We know of other migratory routes without having yet 
studied them in detail — a fruit route from Florida citrus through 
Georgia and Carolina peaches and thence up through the apples of 
the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania 
and as far north as the shore of Lake Ontario. Workers in the 
Florida winter celery of Sanford often turn up in the fields of summer 
celery in upper New York State. Perhaps we shall soon be as well 
acquainted with the movements of our farm migrants as we are with 
the migratory cycles of our robins and wild geese. But we should 
bear in mind tliat what is a natural way of life for certain winged 
species is violently unnatural for human beings, and that an agri- 
cultural economy which on the one hand uproots people from the 
lands where for generations they have quietly lived, worked, and 
died, and on the other hand hounds them from one brief drudgery 
to the next over the face of the earth is, to say the least, no economy 
at all in human terms. 

I have a couple of charts here on the blackboard that I would 
like to offer to go into the record at this time and I will explain them 

The Chairman. Do you want to introduce those charts into the 
record, Mr. Beecher? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; I would like to offer these two charts 
right here now [indicating]. 

The Chairman. They will be received. 

(Map chart entitled "Movement of migrants located in Louisiana 
in April 1939" was received in evidence and appears on p. 521.) 


(Map chart entitled "Movement of migrants located in Florida 
in May 1939'' was received in evidence and appears on p. 520.) 

These charts were prepared from information gathered by the 
Farm Security Administration in field surveys in the spring oi 
1939 in several migrant areas in the State of Florida and Tangi- 
pahoa Parish in the State of Louisiana among the strawberry 

The Chairman. Showing where these people came from, is that 
correct ? 



A stagnant marshy canal provides the only water source for many migrant families in lower south Florida, 
Here the 9-year-old daughter of packing-hoase workers who have migrated from Tennessee to the 
vegetable-growing regions on the mueklands around Lake Okeechobee fills a pail with water for domes- 
tic use. 



Migrant family "dining out" a few miles from Miami. This mother with licr children in front of their 
shack home is a packing-house worker employed in the vegetable area around Lake Okeechobee, Florida. 



The hi :pi<|" ,i^ ' -■ -'[ic jiniii. ,,i iMoii'l I w iiiicr vlMt(lI■^ Till' liQ shack shown in the picture is a typical 
"home" of miu'iaut packhis house worker^ in Florida for the vegetable-picking season of October to May. 
For this dwellinp; of scrap tin and pieces of canvas, a family of five pays $12 a month rent, with $5 additional 
for the risht to "camp" on this land. 



Camping like this in Canal Point, Fla., costs $5 por month for tlic use of the land. Ttie niiiirant packing- 
house family living here cleared the land themselves. They have no water, lights, or sanitary facilities. 



A wrecked car is the only substitute for a slide or swing these migrant children have in their "playground' 
back of the rows of shacks in a migratory workers' camp in south Florida. 



Sanitary facilities such as this are provided by the migrant workers themselves near their living quarters at 

Lake Harbor, Fla. 



ISIother wilh child at home. This mother is a migratory packing-house worker who lives in a two-room 
shack with her family of six in the vegetable area of south Florida. 



The very small children of migrants are left at home while their parents and sisters and brothers go to pick 

vegetables in the fields of Florida. 



This little boy has just awakened from his nap in the tin shack which his parents, migratory packing-house 
workers, rent for $12 a month in a camp in Florida. 



Children of migrants. The boy holding his baby brother worlds with his parents in the Florida vegetable 

fields during the day. 



Pay day for vegetable pickers in Florida. For the full season of October through May, a iiiiL;raiit family 
averages $350 to $-150 in total receipts. 

Migratory vegetable pickers in the Lake Okeechobee section of Floiida waiting to be paid. 



Mr. Beecher. These people come and go back along the same 
lines as indicated here on the chart [indicating]. Now, you can 
read these charts either way [indicating]. This chart [mdicatmgj 
(see p. 520), this is the movement if migrants located m Florida 
in May 1939. These migrants in Florida, the principal States of 
origin being Georgia in that group, which is the nearest State. 
Then there is a very well marked line along the Atlantic coast 
migration over here [indicating] that we know so well. I mention 
the potato migration, and there are others, of course, showing 
that a considerable proportion of these Florida migrants originate 
in New York, as I have shown on my chart here [indicating]. Actu- 
ally, that group is primarily a southern group, but New York hap- 
pened to be the last place where they were before they came to 
Florida, and you will notice that quite a large number followed the 
Jersey migration along through here [indicating]. 

Now, you will notice that a few of these migrants come from the 
other cotton sections of the country, such as Missouri, Arkansas, 
Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. A few, as indicated by this 
chart, from California. I might state* at this point that the first 
registrant in our camp was one who had covered a very wide ter- 
ritory. Only a few take in the w^hole country in their migrations. 

Now, we will refer to the Louisiana group for a moment, which is 
dealt with on the other chart (see p. 521). Now, the strawberry 
pickers were found in the neighborhood of Hammond, La., and 
some of them it was discovered came from Florida in that group 
and that they had been working near Plant City, Fla., near Tampa. 
That group came from that section of Florida over to Louisiana 
for the strawberry-picking season, and other groups, it was found, 
came down the Mississippi Valley here [indicating] as it is shown 
on this chart, and this same group would follow right on up as it 
is indicated here, and those that stayed with it all the way through 
to Berrien County, Mich., on the shores of Lake Michigan, which 
seems to be their northern terminus. 

Now, this exhibit also shows an extensive flow into Louisiana from 
the Southwest — a large number coming from Texas, for instance — 
principally tenants and wage hands and so on which are needed 
between the cotton and the strawberry season, and so forth. 

Mr. Curtis. Is that exhibit that you are referring to prepared 
according to scale ? I mean with reference to the width of your red 

Mr. Beecher. The width of the red line indicates the relative 
number of migrants; in Louisiana, of course, the greater number 
coming from nearby Mississippi. 

Mr. Curtis. That is based on what year? 

Mr. Beecher. That is based on samples taken during the spring 
of 1939 in the field. 

Mr. Curtis. From samples, did you say ? 

Mr. Beecher. I mean that our Florida sample included several 
hundred, 314 migrant families, I believe it was, the distribution of 
these 314 — that is recorded there on the chart. 

Mr. Curtis. Did you make any inquiry to find out whether those 
same families returned to Florida each year ? 


Mr. Beecher. We have not followed up since 1939. We did try 
to gather some information as to their movement over the previous 
5 years. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you know how many of them had a leoal residence 
in those States ? 

Mr. Beecher. No ; we do not. They don't know themselves, as a 

Mr. Curtis. Do you know what percentage of them never hnd any 
work until thev come down to Florida ? 

jNIr. Beecher. I don't recall offhand. I happen to be the super- 
visor of the Florida surveys, but I recall no families that have gotten 
no work whatever. Of course, work opportunities seldom measure 
up to the stories which have been heard in advance ; except in the 
rush periods there are usually several people available for every job. 

Mr. Curtis. Did you discover any abuses of private employment 
agencies in sending these people from place to place ? 

Mr. Beecher. We find that a great many of them, particularly the 
Negroes, are transported by labor contractors in trucks from place 
to place, and, of course, it is to the interest usually of these labor 
contractors to have a surplus of labor on hand, and naturally that 
keeps the wage rates down, and they want the labor supply up to 
the maximum expectations of what the work in any particular 
locality might be. There is fvery little scientific measurement or 
calculation of what the work might be ; it is very difficult to do that. 
Wiere crops are coming on in a given area, sometimes growers and 
contractors are liable to get panicky and say, "We won't have enough 
people over here to harvest the crops," and they will say that they 
need maybe 2,000 here and 1,000 here, and 500 over here, and by the 
time the harvest begins you will have a figure of five or six thousand 
in that particular area as needed to harvest the crop, and when as a 
matter of fact that number shows up, it frequently turns out that they 
will only need a thousand. 

Mr. Curtis. Very well. I won't interrupt you further. Proceed. 


Mr. Beecher (reading). Diverse as the movements of our farm 
migrants may be, there is an appalling sameness in the conditions 
under which at all times of the year and in nearly all places they 
are forced to live. Even during a season work opportunities are 
highly uncertain. There are peaks and troughs of employment. In 
the winter crop sections sudden freezes can wipe out all work for 
weeks or months and when such catastrophes occur there is only the 
most inadequate relief available, if any at all. Seldom is there any 
effective control of the flow of workers from point to point, so that 
migrants' movements in the main are governed by rumor, hearsay, 
hunch, and the lures thrown out by growers and labor contractors 
whose natural interest is to create a labor surplus. Consequently it 
is a commonplace in most areas of migrant concentration to find 
many more workers than jobs available even at the height of the 
season. Wages vary from place to place, from time to time in a 
given place, even from field to field, depending on many factors. It 


goes without saying that they are never high rehitive to the wages 
earned by industrial workers who enjoy the protection of collective 
bargaining rights and Federal wage-hour legislation. Often they 
are abysmally low — as for example in the North Carolina strawberry 
fields where a piece rate of a cent and a half a quart results in family 
earnings seldom exceeding $1 a day. Out of these slender wages the 
migrant must house and feed his family on a short-term basis, which 
puts decent standards of diet and housing far beyond his grasp, and 
furthermore must lay aside the money which will take him on the 
next leg of his endless journey and maintain him until he gets the 
next job. 


As suggested, the wretched housing for which the migrant is best 
known is to a considerable degree a corollary of low and uncertain 
earnings. Generally bad as his quarters are, the migrant is some- 
times charged extortionate rents, as in the Lake Okeechobee, Fla., 
section where one-room cabins without lights, running water, or 
proper sanitation rent for as much as $3 a week. Rough cabins and 
barracks, unfurnished, unscreened, and with only the most primitive 
sanitation and water suj^ply are in many areas j^rovided rent free 
by farm operators. During the ])otato harvest in Charleston County, 
S. C the indispensable migrants find neither cabins nor barracks 
provided for them and sleep princi])ally in boxcars or on the floors 
of the potato-packing sheds. The tobacco barns of western Kentucky 
do double duty as housing for strawberry pickers in the spring. 
When strawberries ripen in eastern North Carolina, cattle and W(^rk- 
stock are temporarily evicted to make way for the pickers — investi- 
gators frequently finding 25 and 30 peo])le living in a single barn. 


Associated in the vicious complex of farm migrancy along with 
instability of place, insecurity of employment, inadequate earnings, 
and bad housing are many subsidiary evils. Into whatever com- 
munity the migrant goes his status is the lowest in the social scale. 
His labor is welcome but he is not. He and his family are feared 
as possible sources of physical and moral contagion, and even more 
as possible public charges should they become stranded there. In 
no sense does the migrant "belong'' — he has no political rights and 
his civil rights have proved to be more theoretical than real on the 
rare occasions when he has tried to assert them. He and his family 
seldom participate in the normal social life of the communities 
through which they pass — they do not as a rule attend the local 
churches, or frequent the local ])arks and amusement places. Special 
recreational devices are sometimes provided to catch their spare 
pennies — low-grade bars and dance halls, cheap fairs, medicine shows, 
and the like. 

In school, when the migrant children are found there and not work- 
ing in the fields or packing sheds, they are a grou]) apart — considered 
"problems" on account of their universal retardation and undisciplined 
behavior. Even where school authorities are sympathetically disi:)osed. 


they are powerless to overcome the effects of a demoralizing environ- 
ment and constant mobility. Possibly the most ominons aspect of farm 
migrancy is the sort of li^es migrant children are forced to lead. Their 
parents, as a rule, had at least the advantages of a rudimentary home 
while they were growing up, of attending the same school during the 
intervals when their labor was not required in the fields, of belonging 
to social groups which had continuity and were not incessantly being 
broken up and reformed. 

What sort of Americans are migrant children growing up to be? 
Their way of life is completely alien to the traditional American way of 
life. We may very well be breeding aliens out of the descendants of 
pioneers. Like the recent migrants to the Pacific coast, the migrants 
of the South are overwhelmingly farm refugees. Formerly they were 
settled farm people, sharecroppers, tenants, small owners in the old 
Cotton Belt. Processes similar to those which produced the great 
exodus from the Southwest to the Pacific coast are operating in an 
accelerating degree also in the lower Mississippi Valley and the South- 
east. Soil depletion through erosion rather than drought, the reduc- 
tion of cotton acreage and mechanization have completely displaced a 
great number while a greater number have been pushed down from 
tenancy to the status of wage laborers employed but a few months of 
the year. 

Georgia furnishes the largest State contingent among the migrants 
of lower south Florida. The most familiar migration pattern in that 
area is one-crop migration between the winter and spring vegetables 
in Florida and summar wage labor in the Georgia cotton. But F'lorida 
also attracts dislodged tenants and wage hand from the Carolina coastal 
]:>lains, from Alabama and Tennessee, from the delta cotton sections of 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and southeastern Missouri. We are 
not yet sufficiently informed to make even a good guess about the number 
of perosns involved in farm migration over the entire Southeast and 
can only roughly estimate the numbers in certain areas. At the peak 
of the harvest there are at least 50,000 farm workers and members of 
their families in lower south Florida, the great majority of whom are 
migrants. When strawberry picking is on in western Kentucky, 20,000 
pickers are at work within a 20-mile radius of Paducah, many of whom 
are one-crop migrants from the delta cotton country of Missouri and 
Arkansas. The strawberry fields of Chadbourn. N. C, require about 
6,000 pickers for the harvest, 5,000 of whom must be assembled from 
elsewhere. The Chadbourn strawberry acreage will be doubled next 
season, so that the number of migrants required will undoubtedly also 
be doubled. In general it can be said that the processes which on the 
one hand dislodge people from the land and make them ready for 
migrancy are proceeding unchecked throughout the South, while on 
the other hand commercialized truck, berry, and fruit farms similar to 
those of the Pacific coast and relying on hordes of migrant laborers for 
liarvesting the crops are fast developing in several sections. An unde- 
termined but very considerable number of migrants are already 
involved, and everj^ year more are taking to the road. 

260370 — 40— pt. 2 10 



The most acute migrant situation in the entire region has developed 
during recent years in lower south Florida — in the vegetable-growing 
sections on the mucklands around Lake Okeechobee and on the coastal 
strip from back of Palm Beach south to Homestead below Miami. Of 
little agricultural importance 20 years ago, these areas have come into 
great prominence particularly during the last decade. The rapidity 
of agricultural growth has naturally created the usual social problems 
of a boom area. Housing, health, educational, and recreational facili- 
ties are, in many communities, inadequate for even the permanent resi- 
dents. The thousands of migrants who often double and triple the 
populations of these communities at the season's peak consequently live 
under substandard conditions which are perhaps without parallel in 
the United States. When the Farm Security Administration under- 
took a survey in the Lake Okeechobee vegetable area preliminai*y to 
the establishment of a camj) program, such reports as the following on 
the prevailing housing of Negro migrants were secured : 

The family lives in 1 room of a 14-room filthy barracks, the 3 childreu all have 
colds and are filthy, crying most of the time. Garbage is emptied in yard 10 feet 
from front door, flies by the hundreds. 

Entire camp of barracks very filthy. Only about tliree rooms have windows, 
whicli makes about one window to a barraclv, children of all ages run around 

■ — subject lives in 1 small room of 14-room barracks, his wife, himself, and the 
4 children all sleep in 1 bed. They have 3 men roomers. 1 of whom sleeps on a cot 
and the other 2 on the floor, making a total of 9 in 1 room. 

A single 10 by 10 barrack room, or "stall" as it is appropriately 
called locally, will rent for $1 to $1.50 a week, unfurnished. Barracks 
are usually built around a central court in which there is a common 
toilet, often indescribably filthy, and perhaps also the community 
Avater supply, a spigot or well-water connection. Where city water is 
not provided, drinlving water is purchased from the nearest "juke" or 
store at a cent a bucket. If there is a city-water spigot. 25 cents a week 
is added to the rent, and the spigot is padlocked except at the certain 
stated hours. 

The white migrants and their families were found living in tents, 
trailers, tar-paper shacks, hovels of patched-together tin, even in tree 
houses. They may pay $1 or $1.50 a week ground rent for the right 
to camp on the lancl. Or, they crowd on the railroad right-of-way 
behind the packing houses. Many of them rent small houses and 
tourist cabins in the commercial developments of the towns, paying 
up to $3 a week for a one-room and $6 for a two-room cabin. The 
rent includes the privilege of access to the community hydrants, 
showers (if any), and toilets. Most families have a single room in 
wdiich to sleep, cook, eat, and do most everything else that living 
involves. These rooms are sometimes furnished with cheap furniture. 
More often the family has only what it has managed to bring along 
in the way of furniture. And this may be the family home for the 
greater part of the year, for the Lake Okeechobee season extends 
from early October until well into May. 

I have here some pictures which exemplify living conditions in cer- 
tain portions of Florida for these migrants. I do not particularly offer 


these jiictures for the record unless you gentlemen desire them, but I 
bring them here for you to look at. 

Here is the picture of a little girl, child of packing-house workers 
from Tennessee, getting water out of a filthy canal. (See p. 523.) 

This is the picture of an outdoor dining table of migrants, a woman 
packing house worker with three of her four children (see p. 524). 
This is all in the Lake Okeechobee section. 

This is a picture of a typical tin shack of migrant packing house 
workers camp in Florida (see p. 525). These folks pay $12 per 
month for their right to stay in this place which is made of scrap 
tin and pieces of canvas, and you might say that they pay $5 per 
month for the right to live on this little piece of land. 

Here is another picture of migrant packing-house workers living 
quarters, just enough land to set up camp. This rentsi for $5 per 
month and they have to clear it themselves. There is no water, 
lights or sanitary facilities. This picture was taken near Canal 
Point, Fla., in January 1939. (Seep. 526.) 

Here are a couple of pictures, typical of the interiors of a migrant 
packing-house workers shack, showing some of their children. (See 
pp. 530 and 531.) 

The next is a picture of some of the migrants' children playing 
about a wrecked car. There are no playgrounds or recreation or 
equipment of any kind for them. (See p. 527.) 

Here is another interior picture of one of the shacks showing 
migrant packing-house worker with child. (See p. 526) see p. 529.) 

Here is another picture showing one of the migrant workers' 
shacks and toilet facilities near Lake Harbor, Fla. (See p. 528.) 

The Chairman. Approximately how many are there of these stalls 
or shacks? 

Mr. Beecher. We don't know, sir. Now that the Farm Security 
Administration's camps are opening up, we hope that they wdll be far 
fewer than they have been in the past, but that has been the prevail- 
ing sort of housmg in which the migrants! have lived. 

Here is a picture of a couple of children of migrants. (See p. 532.) 

Here is a picture of some Negro migrant shacks. I believe I 
showed that to you awhile ago. Some like these are provided by 
local enterprise and by migrants themselves when they are not able 
to find anything themselves (see p. 526). These are pieced-together 
shacks from tin and wood or most anything that they can pick up. 

Mr. OsMERS. How are these migrant laborers paid ? 

Mr. Beecher. They are paid by the day. They work in the fields 
and they usually work for a different man each day, you might say, 
and they are paid at the close of the day for each day's work, and 
they buy their provisions from the commissary and store. 

Here are a couple more pictures showing vegetable ^Dickers after 
work waiting to be paid and some of them being paid. (See p. 533.) 

The facilities for cooking in these shacks are usually vei-y inade- 
quate, and therefore they have to buy a lot of their foodstuff in a 
prepared state, because they have no way to preserve their food in 
these shacks and consequently their cost of food is much higher 


than what it would be if they had good cooking facilites and a 
pLace to take care of their food, a place to store it. 

The Chairman. Can we have these pictures for the record? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; you may have them. I have no more 
copies of them here, but you may have them for the record if you 

The CiiAiRarAN. You are testifying about these pictures and unless 
the photographs go along the record will be barren without the pic- 
tures. I think that the reporter should mark them so that the com- 
mittee can take them with us. 

Mr. Beecher. I will be very happy to give these photographs 
to you. 

The Chairman. They will be received as exhibits to the record. 
(Twelve photographs above identified by the witness were received in 
evidence and appear on pp. 523 to 533.) 

Mr. Beecher. Shall I continue? 

The Chairman. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Beecher (reading). Outstanding exceptions to the general 
squalor are the INTegro villages of the United States Sugar Corporation, 
which provides free, sanitary housing to all its year-round and most of 
its seasonal help. Here andthere a grower or packing-house operator 
builds relatively decent quarters for his more permanent workers, but 
this activity fails by a wide margin to keep pace with the ever- 
increasing influx of seasonal workers. 


"Education is in competition with beans in this county, and beans 
are winning out." These are the words of the Palm Beach County 
superintendent of public instruction, characterizing the educational 
situation in the Lake Okeechobee area of that county. Schools are 
provided, of course, for both races, but they are not large enough to 
accommodate their present peak enrollments. If the State school- 
attendance law should be enforced, existing school facilities would be 
completely swamped. According to local school authorities, the chil- 
dren of the white migrants are irregular in attendance, badly re- 
tarded, and difficult to adjust to the school discipline. Seldom does a. 
child from a migratory white family advance beyond the fourth 

The Negro children have less chance for an education. After the 
disastrous freeze this winter, which destroyed all the growing beans^ 
many of the Negro migrants put their children in school for the first 
time in the season. The enrollment of one school, which has desks 
for 280 children, went up to 503. For a couple of months the school 
ran on a double shift. Then beans came in again. One week the 
enrollment was 485, the next week it was 20. Ninety-five percent of 
the children were in the bean fields. 

The lack of healthful recreational and social facilities in the lake 
area is striking. Over against the lack of parks and playgrounds is 
an overdevelopment of the opposite type. For whites there are large 
bar-dance halls fully staffed with hostesses and located conveniently 
close to the packing houses as well as roadside ''jukes" with cabins in 


conjunction. The niojlit life of the Negroes is concentrated in the 
towns, where "jukes," which are combination bars, dance halls, and 
gambling joints, usually owned by white people, are found in great 
numbers. All kinds of license and crime breed in this background, 
which is tolerated locally in the belief that labor is attracted to the 
area by the "good times" which can be had. One also hears ex- 
pressed the opinion that it is necessary to relieve the Negro each 
night of his day's earnings, through such means as liciuor, women, 
craps, belita, and "skin," so that he will be broke and ready to work 
the next morning. 

Public-health officials are unanimous in saying that it is nothing 
less than a miracle that no serious epidemics have swept through the 
lake area. Such conditions of housing and sanitation would any- 
where else, they say, have furnished an excellent breeding ground for 
communicable disease, but the equable climate, the fresh air, and sun- 
shine have here warded off the usual consequences of a filthy environ- 
ment and human overcrowding. 

Venereal disease is the great scourge of the area, the county physi- 
cian estimating that 50 percent of the Negro migrant population is 

Of course, in some other migrant areas they get higher estimates. 
In Elizabeth City, N. C, the health authorities seem to think that 
it is 70 percent of the resident and migrant population of Negroes. 

Mr. OsMEES. In New Jersey last year we tested nearly all our mi- 
grant potato pickers and found 35 to 40 percent with venereal 

Mr. Beecher. All of the Negro camps that are established, we have 
been enabled to do testing in order to get a definite index on that, but 
right now we can only guess. The county health authorities are not 
sure about this percentage, but they think that on the basis of such 
experience as they have had that there are about one-half of them 
afflicted with venereal disease. It is tremendously high. 


Mr. Sparkman. How many county health units do you have in 
Florida ? Do you have one in every county ? 

Mr. Beecher. Not all of the counties have them. I don't know what 
the count is at the present time. Palm Beach County does not have 
one, which is one of the big counties in the State, including the luxu- 
rious resort of Palm Beach and the thriving city of West Palm 
Beach, and including such areas as in the Lake Okeechobee section 
where they have not yet established a county health unit. It is a con- 
troversial question there because elements in that count}' that oppose 
such a unit being established, and yet there is a tremendous job for 
such a unit to perform. The health department is strongly for it, and 
so is the State of Florida, which has been attempting to dramatize the 
situation and get such facilities established in that county. 

Mr. OsMERs. From what you have said, I take it that you mean 
to say that in the State of Florida there is no mandatory law to pro- 
vide for the establishment of county health units? 

Mr. Beecher. That is right, I believe. 



Mr. Sparkman. Do you have a rather strong State health depart- 
ment ? 

Mr. Beecher. I think so. 

Mr. Sparkmax. It is handicapped seriously if you don't have the 
county unit though, isn't it? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; it is. In many counties they don't have 
so much prosperity as Palm Beach County does, yet some of them 
have health units. 

Mr. Sparkmax. Where are the main vegetable areas in Florida? 

Mr. Beecher. I would say in Palm Beach County is one of the main 
vegetable areas. 

Mr. Sparkmax. And it does not have the county health unit there? 

Mr. Beecher. No. sir : it does not, and it stands first in the amount 
of crops produced in lower South Florida. 

Mr. OsMERS. How many counties are there in the State of Florida? 

Mr. Beecher. 66 or 67, I am not sure which. 

Mr. Spark:max. It is 67, 1 believe. 

Mr. Beecher. It is 66 or 67, 1 believe. I am not exactly sure which 
it is. 

The Chairmax. I was just thinking that the so-called shacks where 
the migrants live, and the danger that they carry to the health of 
the area. Do you have any idea how many migrants there are in 
that locality? 

Mr. Beecher. We estimate that there is in the neighborhood of 
50.000 workers and members of their family during the season in lower 
Florida, Palm Beach, Dade, and Broward Counties, and certainly two- 
thirds of those people live in a condition similar to those shown in 
the pictures that I brought here today. The figure may be even 
higher than that. We do have the United States Sugar Corporation's 
program in the Clewiston area and the corporation does furnish fine 
housing to its employees, possibly 5,000 people are taken care of by 
that corporation, roughly one-tentli of them, and the Farm Security 
Administration camps which are either built or under construction 
will take care of another 5,000 or another 10 percent, but the over- 
whelming majority live under unsanitary, dangerous, subhuman con- 
ditions of housing. 

The Chairmax^. Proceed. 

jNIr. Beecher (reading). The syphilis death rate of Palm Beach 
County is several times greater than that of the country as a whole, 
and twice the State average. The State of Florida stands first, I be- 
lieve, in the syphilis death rate anyhow. Preventive and curative 
health provisions in the area are inadequate. Palm Beach County 
has no accredited health department through which the State sanitary 
and public health laws could be implemented and made effective. The 
United States Sugar Corporation provides hospitals and free medical 
service for its employees, but the great majority of the migi'ants have 
no access to proper medical care. Such care as they receive is usually 
supplied by quacks and healers, midwives. and Indian herb doctors. 
There is a division of labor in the area along racial lines. In gen- 
eral, field work is done by Negroes and the packing-shed labor by 
whites. The Farm Securit}^ Administration survey referred to earlier 


gathered income data from more than 500 white and Negro workers 
in the area. Detailed information was secured on earnings for the 
previous 12 months. Half of all the workers studied received an 
income of $307 or less in the past year. This income includes all 
cash derived from employment in the Lake Okeechobee area and 
elsewhere, plus value of free housing, wood, gardens, or other per- 
quisites. Nearly one-fourth of all the workers earned $200 or less, 
while five-sixths received $500 or less. Only 2 percent received more 
than $800. So much for the individual workers. What of family 
income ? The median family income of all white workers was $455 ; 
56 percent of the incomes we're $500 or less ; 15 percent received more 
than $800. Among colored families, the median was $384; 13 percent 
had family incomes of $200 or less ; 72 percent had family incomes of 
$500 or less, and only 5 percent had incomes higher than $800. It 
should be remembered that these small earnings must cover thet 
migrants' transportation costs, the high rent they usually must pay in 
the area, and the equally high food costs. 


The specially acute problems of the Florida migrants led the Farm 
Security Administration to select the Lake Okeechobee area as the 
location of its first eastern migrant camps. Two such camps, one 
of 176 units for whites, and one of 356 units for Negroes were 
opened at Belle Glade last spring. In addition, three large camps 
are being built near Pahokee, also on Lake Okeechobee, and Pom- 
pano, on the lower east coast. 

Mr. Parsons. Is the Farm Security Administration paying the 
cost of the construction of these housing places for these migrants? 

jSIr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And what rental charges are you making to the 
occupants ? 

]Mr. Beecher. AYe are charging them $1 per week. 

Mr. Parsons. Per unit ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir, for these simple one-room sheds. 

Mr. Parsons. That would be $350 per week for those colored quar- 
ters, and $176 per week for the white quarters; is that correct? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; assuming 100 percent occupancy all the time, 
that would be correct. 

Mr. OsMERS. And may I ask you this question, "What percentage 
of occupancy have you had in the Farm Security Administration's 

Mr. Beecher. We have not had full occupancy yet because these 
camps were not opened until April of this year, which was at the 
close of a season. We have carried them through the summer at 
about one-third to one-half full, these two camps. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you anticipate that they will be filled? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; we anticipate that they will be filled and 
overflowing by the middle of October. 

Mr. Parsons. Does the Farm Security Administration expect to 
retire the cost of construction? 



Mr. Beecher. No; the projects are not considered to be directly 
self-liquidiiting. Indirectly, we feel in removino; the menace to 
the community's health and ^ivinj^ the people themselves better 
environment and improving and safeo;uardin2; the health of the 
children — yon just can't measure the value of that, but the projects 
are not considered to be any more than the California camps are 
of the self-liquidatinjr type. It is just a form of relief in relation 
to the migrant situation. 

Mr. OsMERS. If you have a family applying for entrance to one 
of your camps and they need a place to stay, but they are not able 
to put up and pay the dollar a week for your rental charge, what 
do you do in a case like that i 

Mr. Beecher. Well, the usual procedure is for the camp council 
to consider the case and make that family a loan out of the camp fund. 
In other words, the cam]) council, which is the governing body of 
the camp, takes such a case under consideration and. if they think 
that the people should be in the camp, then we will lend them the 
money to pay their rent, and when they get the money they can 
pay it back to the camp council. 

Mr. Parsons. It is a fact, is it not, that the so-called camp fund 
to which you have referred is made up out of the money received 
from renters at the camp and is a sort of revolving fund from the 
collection of rentals? 

Mr. Beechfj?. Yes, sir; but the camp fund is jointly under the 
control of the camp manager, the Government's representative, and 
the camp council itself. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you give the renters themselves representation on 
the camp council? 

Mr. Beecher. They are the camp council, the renters constitute 
the camp council and they elect their own representatives and they 
have universal suffrage in the camp, the men and the women vote 
and they put their own members in the council, and that council 
rules the camp. It appoints its own committees and flag boys to 
keep order at dances and other functions that are held in the camp 
and there are no regulations in the camp that the camp council 
does not make. Consequently, we have got the ])eople themselves 
deciding hoAv the place is going to be run instead of a Government 
man standing up there telling them you can't do this, and 
you can't do that, and so forth? 

Mr. OsMERS. How do they operate in one of these camps? Are 
they happy under your plan of governing themselves in this way? 

Mr. Beecher. Well, we have got two representatives here from the 
two camps now — Mr, Collins, who testified yesterday, and we have 
Timothy Farmer here, who is president of the cam]) council of the 
first Negro cam]), and he will testify sometime today — and you may 
ask them about those things if you desire. It is our observation, 
however, that it is working exceedingly well. 

Mr. Sparkman. I noticed on yesterday that Mr. Collins testified 
that he had some kind of a ])Osition as foreman of a canning factory 


or some kind of a packmjr shed, and stated that he was makinp; $90 
per month for 8 months out of the year. Now, what is it that he 
pays for livino- in the Farm Security Administration's camp? Is it 
$1 per week? 

Mr. Beechfr. Yes, sir. 

jMr. Sp-arkman. Now, what is your income mark or division or 
your line of demarcation as to whether a man shall or shall not be 
"permitted to live in one of your camps? 

Mr. Beecher. Well, of course, this job that Mr. Collins has is an 
8-month job out of the vear, and I think he pointed out— I don't 
recall the size of his family, but it is a rather larjje one— seven or 
eio;ht people — and, after all, $90 a month for 8 months out of the 
year, with an absolute blank in the summer months, that does not 
mean too much. 

Mr. Sparkman. But the point I am trying to get at is this: Do 
you have some kind of an income level that you use as_ a basis for 
admitting these people to the camp ? AVliat is it on ; is it a kind 
of a subsistence basis, whatever the needs of the family may be ? 

Mr. BfJ'CHEr. The checking up on entrants to the camp cannot be 
very elaborate. People simply drive up to the gate and say, "We are 
agricultural workers and work at such-and-such a place." And if 
we are doubtful, we may check up and find if they do work there. 
But there is no elaborate process of selection. We get people that 
do not belong there, but they can't stay longer than 12 months, but 
the usual stay is 3 or 4 months. 

In connection with the camps, we also have some permanent garden 
homes and we have very strict standards, financial and so forth, 
work background, and so forth, as to who are permitted to occupy 
these permanent garden homes in the camp. 

Mr. Sparkman. Are they caretakers in the camp or do they occupy 
some position with the camp ? 

Mr. Beecher. Not in connection with the camps. The people who 
occupy those permanent garden homes have more or less year around 
employment in the area with earnings ranging from $600 to $1,000 
per year, and they are classified in that gi'oup and they have a higher 
rent to pay for those permanent garden homes. 

;Mr. Sparkman. What will you do with these people after the year 
is out? For instance, I am thinking of Collins right now. He is 
apparently a permanent fixture down there. 

Mr. Beecher. He will ciualify for one of those permanent garden 
homes, no doubt, and remain with us. 

Mr. Sparkman. How many of those permanent garden homes do 
you have there? 

Mr. Beecher. We have 20 of those permanent garden homes in that 
one camp. 

Mr. Sparkman. How many of those homes, permanent garden 
homes, as you designate them, are in the camp altogether? 

Mr. Beecher. There are 20 permanent garden homes in that camp 
and there are 156 steel and concrete sheds. 

Mr. Sparkman. All right; that is all. 



Mr. Parsons, How much money lias been invested by the Farm 
Security Administration in this project in Fk)rida thus far, approxi- 
mately ? 

Mr. Beecher. Well, something over $500,000 in the first two camps, 
and the three under construction, I think, something in the neighbor- 
hood of $825,000 for the three of them. 

Mr. Parsons. For the three? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How much would it take on that same basis to pro- 
vide decent and sanitary facilities for all of your workers in Florida ? 
You stated that there were about 50,000. 

Mr. Beecher. Well, reallv. to make a horseback guess, I would say 
that for the lower South Florida for $10,000,000 we could pretty 
well wipe out the substandard housing of migrants and furnish de- 
cent places for all of them to stay. 

Mr. Parsons. Now, if you furnish the same facilities, for instance, 
over in the Louisiana area, and maybe the same facilities up around 
Paducah, Ky. — I am somewhat familiar with that situation up there 
myself, and furnish similar facilities for a few other of the principal 
places — the Jersey coast is another in Mr. Osmer's territory — these 
people then would make their travels back and forth to these vari- 
ous places but they would have convenient and sanitary conditions 
under which to live at a cheap rate. Now, are you making that as a 
suggestion not to cure the evil of destitute migration, but to make it 
as palatable as possible? Do you make that as a suggestion? 

Mr. Beecher. Oh, yes, indeed. I should have said something else, 
probably, when I gave the estimate of $10,000,000 — we might be able 
to furnish those comfortable facilities for a good deal less than that. 

On account of some of the situations existing in the different areas, 
it would be inadvisable to build permanent camps for year-round 
occupancy, because of the existing conditions they would" be vacant 
most of the year. We are building permanent camps at Lake Okee- 
chobee and at Pompano and we may build one at Homestead where 
the people are there from 6 to 10 months out of the year, and under 
such circumstances we feel that we are justified in building per- 
manent camps at those places, but a mobile camp for 200 families can 
be outfitted for about $30,000. 

Mr. Parsons. For how many families did you say ? 

Mr. Beecher. For about 200 families. That includes your plat- 
forms and your big circus type tents and trailers to house the shower 
baths and the boilers necessary and the other equipment that would 
be necessary to have along for such a mobile camp. 

The Chairman. Those could be moved? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir, on the Pacific coast, we have some mobile 
camps in operation that they move from the State of Washington 
and from Oregon on down into California to care for the migrant 
workers in that section, and they have done a tremendous job during 
the season. I can't think of anything else that would take care of a 
situation under such circumstances. 


Mr. Parsons. How much money lias been spent on these mobile 

camps? . 1 • J. -• 

Mr. Beecher. I am sorry that I can't give you that mtormation. 
The number is increasing so fast— we are getting those camps now m 
operation in California and Texas and Arizona, and they are increas- 
ing very rapidly — and there must be a dozen of those in operation 

right now. . t • 

Mr. Parsons. The Farm Security Administration is doing that al- 
together ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. If you make this destitute migration a nice thing, 
don't you think that it would somewhat induce others to go upon the 
road and still further aggravate this problem of destitute migration 
or migration of destitute people? 

Mr. Beecher. Of course, that is sometimes said, if we are good to 
the migrants. Say in Calif ornia— if in that State we give these des- 
titute migrants medical service and comfortable places to live and so 
on, California would be made so attractive that other thousands no 
doubt would take to the road. Then, I suppose the only answer to 
the problem is to attempt to work on it at both ends, to make the life 
of the migrants at home more attracive and to also try to hold the 
people where tliev are, not by passing laws to make it a felony to cross 
the State line without $10 in your pockets, but to work on the troubles 
in such a way as to cause peo'ple to not take to the road, but to remain 
at home. . 

Mr. Parsons. I notice in the early days of the relief m Illinois 
that there were a lot of people that never had any idea whatsoever 
of going on relief, always taking care of themselves very well, but 
when they saw their neighbors filling out their applications and 
making affidavits that they were destitute, it invited those other peo- 
ple who were about in the same circumstances and some perhaps worse 
off because they were in debt for their little farms and homes, it in- 
duced them to also do likewise and if it had not been for the act of 
the first neighbor they would have never applied for relief to begin 
with, they would have gotten along some way and somehow as they 
had done^in the past on the same patch of land. Now, if you make 
the conditions too comfortable and attractive for these destitute mi- 
grants, don't you think that it might cause others to go along on the 
road, if you made the situation and the circumstances too bright or 

Mr. Beecher. Still, the type of existence that is possible in a tent 
or a mobile camp would not seem to be sufficient to do that. However, 
your mobile camp offers a big tent for meeting places, and they 
could get together and have Sunday school and dance, and take a 
hand in the way that they are run. However, it is far from luxurious. 
It is pathetic, that very elementary comforts like that will attract 
people to leave the sort of situation that they are now in and make 
an effort to better their conditions. 

Mr. Parsons. The thing about it to me is this, as you stated in the 
beginning, we are making nomads out of these children. They will 
know nothing in the future except traveling, traveling up and clown 


the country, following these crops. Their parents at one time did 
have a permanent place of abode, you said, and they are pulled up 
from tliat now, and they are wanderers, you might say, and these 
children of theirs are learning nothing but travel from one end of the 
country to the other, and these children may be more difficult to 
settle down. 

Mr. OsMERS. I don't regard the migration of self-supporting agri- 
cultural workers as an evil. They are serving as a very definite and 
useful part of our agricultural system. They are generally self- 
supporting. The difficulties arise in States like mine, like the State 
of New Jersey where they come in for a season of say 6 weeks, and 
it is certainly very hard from an economic standpoint to expect the 
individual farmer to erect what we would consider acceptable housing 
facilities for these people for a 6-weeks period and let those housing 
facilities then stand idle for the remaining part of the year. But 
what is being done in the State of Florida by the Government, or by 
the farmers themselves to improve housing conditions on the indi- 
vidual farm? Naturally, most of the migrant workers will have to 
be cared for on the farm where they work. 

Mr. Beecher. Of course, the State of Florida has got some very 
laudable legislation on the books. 

Mr. OsMERS. Every State has. 

Mr. Beecher. But it takes local representation to carry out the 
provisions of the acts of the legislature. 

]\Ir. OsMERS. And it also takes some appropriations of monev to do 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; and in the area where I am familiar with 
the circumstances, there have been attempts by the State Health De- 
partment of the State of Florida to put on the pressure in order to 
have some of the most nauseating conditions corrected, and that has 
been done with some success. As for the farmers themselves, here and 
there a grower is, we find, improving his facilities along the proper 
lines, and then take what the United States Sugar Corporation is 
doing on its plantation at Clewiston, Fla., and then what the Govern- 
ment is doing in the construction of the migratory camps. Those 
things are lending a great deal of hel|). Wlien our camps get started 
out in that area down there, it will have a tremendous effect on the 
•housing in the whole area. 

The Chairman. How much land in area do these camps cover in 
Florida ? 

Mr. Beecher. We require about an average of about 50 acres for 
a camp. 

The Chairman. Who owns that land ? 

Mr. Beecher. The Federal Government. 

The Chairman. You always build on Federal property, is that 
correct ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. I have just one more question that I would like to ask 
you at this point. How many or what percentage of the occupants 
of the Government camps would be classified as destitute migratory 
citizens — not with exactness — just an estimate? 


Air. Beecher. Well, very few of them have received relief at any 
time of the year. At the time that we made this survey in 1939 we 
found of the Lake Okeechobee area migrant workers that only 2.3 
percent of them had received any relief in the previous 12 months. 

Mr. OsMERS. Then you woukrsay that the group of migrants who 
are stopping at your Federal migrant camps in the State of Florida 
are not destitute citizens? 

:Mr. Beecher. They are not. They are in need of relief very fre- 
quentlv. but they do not get it. 
INIr. Sparkmax. Destitute is a more or less relative term? 
Mr. Beecher. AVell, they have nothing: maybe they have a little 
used and badly worn furniture and possibly an old jalopy, but they 
have no money in the bank, and many of them don't even have the 
old rattle-trap jalopy that the national or the widely traveled mi- 
grants have. They are destitute people who just manage to live from 
day to day and from week to week and frequently when these migrant 
people come in in the fall of the year or at harvest time and the pack- 
ing houses are delayed in opening up by rains or from some other 
cause, these migratory workers are immediately destitute and there is 
no relief for them practically and it is a very, very serious situation. 
Mr. OsMERS. I presume that the State of Florida doesn't feel any 
responsibility because they don't consider these destitute migrants to 
be citizens of Florida. What are the citizenship laws in Florida? 
Mr. Beecher. You are supposed to be there a year to get relief, but 
they never become residents because they are in and out of the State 
and consequently very seldom one finds an instance of one of these 
migrants that receive relief from a State agency. This situation has 
been developing in that area for the last 10 or 15 years, I would say, 
in lower south Florida. 

Mr. Parsons. It is a fact that it has been developing down there 
in Florida and it has increased with the expansion of the packing 
and the vegetable raising — that is what has created this problem 
principally in that section, is it not? 
I\Ir. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Now. if you establish these camps sufficiently, will 
you not eventually settle these people down more or less permanently? 
is that finally the end to be obtained, or is that the goal that is sought 
to be reached ? 

Mr. Beecher. It is our observation that a great deal of the migra- 
tion done by these people is entirely wasteful in its total effect. 
Many, many times these people get stranded and get to be charges 
on other local communities and frequently they will come back much 
poorer than they started out, and it is true that a certain amount of 
settlement can be made or that some inducement can be offered them 
so that they will be placed in a more self-sustaining position, and to 
say the least that in the summertime that they might help to supply 
themselves with garden vegetables and in the off seasons any such 
an endeavor would be highly ,j 

Mr. OsMERS. Do most of the migrants that come into the Federal 
camps, are they independent migrants or do they travel in groups 
and do they have padrones or labor contractors in charge of them? 
Mr. Beecher. In the main, they are independent. 



The Chairman. The primary cause of the whole migration problem 
really is unemployment ; isn't that true ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. So, it is not a permanent cure, these migration 
camps ? 

Mr. Beecher. No, sir. 

The Chairman. We are all hoping that the slack will be taken up 
some of these clays and that these people will be able to get jobs ; is that 
right ? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you know what percentage of these people are 
people who have been forced off the soil, and what percentage of these 
people are people who have lost jobs in industry? 

Mr. Beecher. The people with whom we are familiar in Florida and 
Louisiana are overwhelmingly from the farm; they are overwhelm- 
ingly farm people. The studies that we are making are still in the 
process of tabulation, showing all of the occupations and so forth. We 
don't have the final figures available, but I would say offhand, that 
certainly 95 percent of the Florida migrants are former farm people — 
are not formerly industrial people. A few of them might have had a 
little industrial experience at one time or another. A few of them 
have worked in a cotton mill back in the twenties, or went to tlie cities 
a few years ago. 

Mr. Curtis. I would like at this time to impose upon the record this 
observation in that connection : That people are being forced from the 
soil because there is something there that is wrong and needs attention. 
I know from the drought area in the Dust Bowl and in some of our 
counties we have lost 25 percent of the people. I don't know where 
they have gone. Undoubtedly many of them are wandering around 
froin State to State trying to find something else. Now, when the 
Federal Government sends money, as it has been doing to take care 
of that 25 percent that has been forced away from the farm — that may 
be well and good, but if 1 out of 4 is forced to leave the farm on account 
of existing conditions, it certainly indicates that times and conditions 
are very, very hard for the other three or four that have stayed there 
on the farm when, as a matter of fact, we have made no expenditure 
at all for those remaining farm people or solved their problem 
when we take care of the individual who has gone on the road, but I 
feel that he should be taken care of also. But, we have not touched his 
problem at all so far. 

Mr. Beecher. Well, over the past 5 years, we have spent, I think, in 
the neighborhood of $350,000,000 on rural rehabilitation, and a large 
proportion of that amount was spent in the State from which these 
migrants come. While we have spent only a very significant amount,, 
so far, possibly ten or twelve million dollars on the migrants them- 
selves, we may be spending $1 on the migrant to possibly $30 on the 
fellow who remains at home back there on the land to keep him there 
and out of this migratory class. 

Mr. Curtis. Have you made any investigation of these people who 
have been forced off of the soil? Did they leave because of low pro- 
ductivity of the soil plus low income, or did they leave because they 


were not satisfied with the siirroiiiKlings, the type of housing that they 
had, and so on ? 

Mr. Beecher. Well, those to whom I have talked left because there 
was no opportunity and no home amusements. Maybe they formerly 
were tenants of small owners pushed down into this status of wage 
laborers who could get a little work in tlie cotton in the summertime 
and fall for 2 or 3 months, and they must follow^ this work up for 
the rest of the year as a matter of "^ necessity , and they don't do it 
because they like to or because there is an adventure about it. 

Shall I f>roceed ? 

The Chairman. Yes, sir. 


Mr. Beechek (reading). These five camps of the Farm Security Ad- 
ministration, which were either built or under construction now, will 
be able to accommodate at least 5,000 migrants. Since even this num- 
ber will constitute but a small fraction of the total number of migrants 
in lower south Florida, it is provisionally planned to locate furtlier 
camps there as rapidly as local demand is made and funds become 
available. The camps'now built and under construction contain sim- 
ple sanitary living units of steel and concrete or wood, community 
centers, central bathing and laundry facilities, comfort stations and 
sewage-disposal plants, clinics, nursery schools, and a limited number 
of small garden homes designed for agricultural workers with rela- 
tively stable year-round employment. 

Although our operating experience has been short, we are finding 
that the response of the Florida migrants to the advantages offered 
by the camps is quite as gratifying as the response of the Pacific 
coast migrants to the older Farm Security camp program in that 
region. The}- are eager to escape from their former environment into 
the camps, and once established there they show- a fine sense of 
responsibility for maintaining social and physical order. 

Camp government is in the hands of the people themselves, with 
the camp manager and other Federal employees acting only in an 
advisory capacity to the council, an elective body which makes all 
necessary regulations for camp life, and acts as a judiciary in enforc- 
ing them. Special deputies and armed quarters bosses are con- 
spicuous by their absence from the camps, the members of the so- 
called flag committee chosen by the council from amongst the campers 
assuring effective order at dances and other social functions. A va- 
riety of committees, enlisting the volunteer services of women as well 
as men, serve to guide the manifold life of the camp, embracing the 
special programs for adult and children's education, the nursery 
school, the health program in cooperation with the camp nurse, food 
conservation with the camp home economist, recreation,^ and so on. 
Committee work vastly widens the participation of the campers in 
the process of self-government, thus broadening the base upon which 
camp morale is established. Both whites and Negroes, we find, are 
highly appreciative of the opportunities which the camps afford to 
live decently and to assume community responsibilities. Our experi- 


ence with them is conclusive proof that migrants in Florida, as well as 
in California, show themselves to be good Americans when they are 
given a fair chance. [Keading ends.] 

I have some other data and information here that I will not ask 
permission to read at this time, but I ask that it be made a part of 
my testimony. 

The Chaieman. It may be made a part of the record here as a part 
of your testimony. 

(Statement referred to is as follows:) 

Interstate Migrants in the Southeast 

In the spring and early summer of 1939 the Farm Security Administruticn, 
iu cooperation with certain other organizations, conducted enumerative surveys 
of a°-ricultural wage workers in eight southeastern localities. Interstate mi- 
o-rauts formed part of the agricultural labor force surveyed in each area ; and 
the results of these field studies, as they concern interstate migrants, furnish 
the basis for the following report. . » , 

Two of the surveys were made of strawberry pickers in Arkansas, and a 
third group of strawberry pickers was studied in the Hammond niea of 
Louisiana Four areas in Florida were studied: truck vegetable harvesters in 
and around Belle Glade, Manatee, and Sanford, and citrus workers in the 
Lakeland district. The other study was made of truck vegetable harvesters 
in Copiah County, Miss. , , ,. ^ 

Although all of the workers studied w^ere engaged, at the time of enumeration, 
in the harvesting of fruits or vegetables, the character of the harvest differed m 
the various areas. The Sanford workers, for example, were prpdomuiantly 
engaged in the cutting and packing of celery, and the Sanford area has produced 
celery for a number of years. In the Belle Glade area, on the other hand, the 
workers were mainly employed as pickers or packers of beans, and the area 
itself was at the frontier stage of its development. These local differences 
affected basically the situation and character of the labor forces in the various 

The relative importance of interstate migrants to the total labor force 
studied, as well as the absolute number of migrants involved, also varied in 
the different areas. The results of the field studies, therefore, are not equally 
valuable nor can they be added mathematically to obtain a sum total of the 
characteristics of interstate migrants. Rather, a physical addition is involved. 
The studies revealed fragments of a mosaic, and its outlines become apparent 
only when the pieces are fitted together. 

The charts illustrating the movement of interstate migrants, their locations 
throughout the year preceding enumeration, and their States of permanent 
residence show how the results of the surveys fit together. The winter celery 
packers in Sanford are fall celery packers in New York. They are summer 
potato pickers in the Carolinas and Virginia, turpentine workers in Georgia, 
stevedores in New Orleans. The bean pickers of Belle Glade are also cotton 
pickers in Georgia; the strawberry pickers working in Hammond in April 
may be threshing wheat in Texas in August. 

Through their common connection with the mobile casual workers surveyed. 
every major geographical area in the United States entered the 1039 studies. 
The charts portray the geographical connections of only 314 interstate migrants 
over a 1-year period. The small size of the source data accentuates the charted 
scope of interstate migration. 

When the movements of individual migrants are analyzed, it is evident that 
few migrations are exactly repeated. Individual migrations are shaped by 
many factors: by the availability or desirability of work; by transportation 
possibilities; by necessity or inclination; by rumor or by experience. As the 
charts show, however, individual migrations when considered together present 
certain general trends. These trends derive from characteristics common to 
all interstate migrants. 

All the migrants whose movements were charted had traveled in order to 
take short-time seasonal employment. Their presence in the casual agricultural 


labor force implied that previously they were either underemployed or unem- 
ployed elsewhere. Furthermore, such migration, for must of them, was recur- 
rent. Their movement to take short-time employment had been repeated iu 
the past, and the routes of their movement were determined primarily by tlie 
locations of such employment possibilities. 

Seasonal agricultural labor requirements exist throughout the United States. 
As the season progresses northward, potato pickers are needed in the Caro- 
linas, in Virginia, in New Jersey, and in Maine. Berry pickers, fru't and cotton 
pickers are needed from Georgia to Michigan and west to Texas, California, 
and Washington. In October or November the location of seasonal agricultural 
employment drops South again, to the "winter garden" States. The contractions 
and expansions of employment opportiuiities are shown in the charts which 
portray the monthly locations of the interstate migrants. 

The locations, the crops, and the vtilumes of nonlocal labor required vary : *^he 
constant factor in, all seasonal work locations is the peaked character of their 
harvest labor requirements. The preparation of the harvest requires relatively 
little labor. When the harvest is ready, however, large amounts of additional 
labor are required. It is then that the migrants! find their employment. 

In finding their employment, the migrants commonly find extremely bad 
housing. Their earnings are so low that they can seldom afford to pay out 
much in rent. Even if they cotild, however, adeqtiate housing for additional 
harvest labor does not exist in most seasonal-work locations. The intermittency 
of the demand for additional housing and the low economic stattis of the addi- 
tional workers prevent the commercial construction of housing for the harvest 
workers. Most often the farm operator stipplies such housing as the migrants 
have. Whether rented on a straight commercial basis or supplied by the farmer, 
the housing of migratory workers was, in the area studied, characteristically 
impermanent, overcrowded, and lacking in ordinary conveniences. 

The living conditions of the migrants bring into sharp focus the essential 
characteristics of these workers : intermittent employment, low economic status, 
and transiency. These characteristics are specified, for the areas studied, in 
the following section. 

Characteristics or Interstate Migrants i.\ Eight Southeastern Localities 


The total number of workers surveyed in the various areas ran from 50 iu 
White County, Ark., to 532 in the Belle Glade area of Florida. Furthermore, 
the relative importance of interstate migrants to the total labor force studied 
differed.^ (See table I.) Interstate migrants composed only one-seventh of 
the labor force surveyed in the Lakeland citrus area, while three-fourths of 
the agricultural wage workers studied in the Benton strawberry district were 
interstate migrants. areal differences qualify, of course, any conclusions 
based on the survey data. Since our present purpose is to bring together as 
many data as possible on certain aspects of interstate migrants, however, data 
on the interstate migrants in all of the areas are considered. 


More than nine-tenths of the interstate migrants to the Sanford and Copiah 
areas were Negro ; more than nine-tenths of the migrants to the Lakeland 
citrus area and the Arkansas strawberry areas were white. (See table II.) 
Although Negro migrants predominated in the Belle Glade and Hammond sur- 
veys, there were sizable proportions of M'hite migrants. In the Manatee area, 
on the other hand, white mlgi'anis composed the larger proportion; but more 
than one-third of the migrants were colored. 

attachedness status 

Three-fourths of the Manatee migrants, 72.1 percent of the Hammond mi- 
grants, and half of the Lakeland migrants were unattached ; that is. thev were 

Interstate niisrants were those workers, eitber resident or nonre.sident. who had a 
record of movement. Some of the nonresident workers were classified as migrants even 
thoush tliey moved into the area more than 1 calendar year prior to enumeration. 

260.370— 40— pt. 2 11 



either single workers or had no members of their families with them in the 
area. In all the other areas attached workers were relatively more umnerous 
than unattached workers. (See table III.) 


In tabulating the size of migrant families only the family members present 
in the area were considered. Three-fourths of the Lakeland families and 78.8 
percent of the Sanford families had two or three members. The families of 
interstate migrants to the Belle Glade and Benton areas tended to be larger. 
Two-sevenths of the Belle Glade families and 38.3 percent of the Beaton 
families had five or more members. 


A majority of all the interstate migrants, with the exception of the Benton 
migrants, had had several years of migratory experience. Although the dis- 
tributions differed in the various areas, most of the distributions concentrated 
in their two extreme classes. The most numerous classes were less than 1 
year and more than 5 years of migratory experience. 

More than half of the Benton migrants were tirst-year migrants : they had 
had less than 1 year's migratory experience. One-third of these migrants, on 
the other hand, were seasoned in that they had had 5 or more years of migratory 
experience. (See table IV.) Most of the areal distributions were marked by 
similar concentrations, although the proportions of first-year migrants were 
generally smaller. Roughly, three-tenths of the Belle Glade and Hammond 
interstate migrants were first-year, while more than one-third had had 5 or 
more years' exi^erience. The Manatee migrants were the most-seasoned group: 
12.5 percent of the migrants had had less than 1 year's experience and 52.5 per- 
cent had had 5 or more years' experience. In the Sanford area. 42.8 percent 
of the migrants were first-year and only 22.2 percent were migrants of 5 or 
more years. 


More than half of the interstate migrants in each area studied had had three 
or more jobs in the past year.^ (See table V.) The distributions of number of 
jobs held, however, were quite distinct in the various areas. Five-ninths of 
the Manatee migrants, three-tenths of the Benton migrants, and one-fourth of 
the Hammond migrants, had had five or more jobs. The other areal distribu- 
tions were characterized by concentrarions in the two- and three-job classes and 
relatively slighter proportions in the higher job classes. 

Data on the number of jobs, in the past year are an index to the casual 
character of the migrants' employment. They are not attached to their employ- 
ment for long. The greater the number of jolis. the shorter the average dura- 
tion of the jobs. The converse of this statement, however, is not necessarily 
correct. Fewer jobs may mean either louger average employment or more 
unemployment. Jobs data are therefore qualified by length of employment data. 


Data on the number of days employed in the past year showed that, not- 
withstanding the number of jobs held, interstate migrants were seriously under- 
employed. The highest average' employment (234 days) occurred in the Belle 
Glade district: The lowest (135 days) occurred in the Sanford area (see table 
VI). A.ssuming a working week of 6 employed days, the Belle Glade migrants 
averaged 75 percent of full employment ; and the Sanford migrants averaged 42 
percent of full employment. The Hammond and ^lanatee migrants averaged 57.7 
percent of full employment ; the Benton migrants averaged 46.1 percent ; and 
the Lakeland migrants averaged 71.2 percent. 

^^ The "past year" signifies the 12-month period preceding date of enumeration. 
* "Average" signifies median value. 


The highest average income ($631) in the past year occurred in the Lakeland 
area- the lowest. ($287) in the Hammond strawberry area (see table VIl). 
The average incomes of the other areas were : Manatee, $o34 ; Belle Glade, $444 ; 
Benton $351; and Sanford, $310.' Only 8 of all the interstate migrants sur- 
veyed in 1939 had total incomes of more than $1,500, and 11 had yearly incomes 

^ Total *^income figures included receipts from all sources in the past year. 
The largest factor in total income was cash earnings (including perquisites), 
income deriving from the work of the schedule subjects— the unattached workers 
and the chief agricultural breadwinners in attached cases. There were sig- 
niticant differences, however, between the average cash earnings incomes in the 
past year and the average total incomes (see table VIII). In the Manatee 
area the average cash-earnings income was the same as the average total income. 
In all of the other areas the average cash-earnings income was considerably 
less than the average total income. The greatest difference occurred m the 
Benton area ($151). and the slightest difference ($50) occurred in the Sanford 



Income deriving from the work of other members of the family accounted 
for nio-<t of the differences between cash-earnings and total income. In every 
area except Benton less than 1 out of 12 of the migrants received relief income. 
More than 1 out of 4 of the Benton migrants received relief in the past year 
(see table IX). 


The housing structures of the workers studied were classified by three main 
types; house, barracks, and labor cabins on farms. "House" commonly meant 
single" or multiple family dwellings in which each family had separate accommo- 
dations of permanent type, and which were not in the fields where work was 
done. '-Labor cabin on" farm" signified single family dwellings in or adjacent 
to the fields where work was performed, and which were not usually considered 
permanent dwellings. "Barracks" were structures in which numerous persons 
lived without private accommodations. In addition to these main structural 
types, there were the self-explanatory types— tent, trailers, tourist cabins, 
and barns. 

In the Hammond and Copiah areas interstate migrants lived predominantly 
in housing specifically designed for the use of the seasonal labor force (see 
table X). Four-fifrh.s of the Hammond migrants lived in labor cabins and 12.6 
percent lived in barracks. Six-sevenths of the Copiah migrants lived in labor 
cabins. All of the Sanford and Manatee migrants, on the other hand, lived 
in Most of the Lakeland migrants also lived in houses, and none of 
them lived in barracks or labor cabins. Although sizable proportions of the 
interstate migrants to Belle Glade and Benton lived in houses, the housing of 
interstate migrants in these areas was predominantly designed for transient 
use or reflected transiency through the utilization of makeshift housing. Two- 
fifths of the Benton migrants lived in tents, trailers, barns, or cars, and nearly 
one-tenth had no housing whatever. Five-ninths of the interstate migrants to 
Belle Glade lived in tourist cabins, barracks, or labor cabins on farms. 

In the larger, more urban areas (e. g., Sanford and Belle Glade) city water 
was a major source of water supply. Half of the city water was purchased 
retail in Belle Glade, however. In Belle Glade, also, there was a racial dis- 
tinction in types of housing, lighting facilities, and types of w'indows. Colored 
migrants lived in barracks, used kerosene lamps, and had unscreened shutter- 
tj^ie windows ; white migrants lived in tourist camps, had electric lights, and 
unscreened glass windows. 

Although details of the housing situation of interstate migrants varied in the 
different areas surveyed, the total housing picture was essentially common to 
all of tbem. Community open-pit toilets were the most common type of toilet 
facilities; kero.sene lamps the most common type of lighting facilities; wood 
stoves the most common type of cooking facilities ; and unscreened windows the 

* Number of cases in Benton and Copiah was too small to support average figures. 


most common type of window. In all of the areas the living conditions of these 
migrants reflected their transient character and economic status. In all of the 
areas the housing was inadequate by any measure. It was overcrowded, ram- 
shackle, and lacking in common conveniences. 


The scope of interstate migration and changing locations df migrants in the 
past year are shown on the charts. Quantitative data on mobility supplement 
the graphic presentations. 

The number of moves made by the interstate migrants in the past year varied 
greatly in the different survey areas. ^Mobility in the Sanford celery area, for 
example, concentrated strikingly in the two-move class. More than seven-tenths 
of the Sanford migrants moved twice or were in three locations (see table XI). 
Since 15.6 percent of the Sanford interstate migrants did not move in the past 
year, it is evident that two-move migration characterized most of the active 
interstate migrants in that area. 

In Benton County, Ark., on the other hand, the most numerous move class 
was one-move (38.9 percent) ; and the higher move classes were successively 
less important. The Manatee area of Florida presented another kind of mobility 
distribution, although the most numerous move class was two-move (29.3 per- 
cent). The distribution did not taper as it approached the higher move classes. 
It fell off sharply in the three- and four-move classes and rose thereafter. 
Nearly half (46.3 percent) of the Manatee interstate migrants made five or 
more moves in the past year. A preponderant majority of the mol)ility <!f inter- 
state migrants fell in the one- or two-move classes in the Sanford. Lakeland, 
and Belle Glade areas. A bare majority (."»! percent) of the Hammond inter- 
state migrants fell in these two-move classes: and a similarly indecisive con- 
centration (49.S percent) marked the mobility distribution of the Benton, Ark., 
area. Roughly one-third of the Manatee mobility was one- or two-move, while 
the Wliite County mobility was nearer one-fifth (21.7 percent). 

The small number of interstate migrants in some of the areas cautions against 
generalization concerning the areal differences apparent in the mobility dis- 
tributions. It is evident, however, that interstate migrants in the various areas 
differed greatly in the frequency of their movements in the past year. It is 
also evident that migrants to certain areas (e. g.. Belle Glade. Manatee, and 
Wliite Cotmty) tended to make more moves tlian the interstate migrants 
attracted to other areas. 

An analysis of interstate mobility in the Belle Glade, Sanford, and Hammond 
areas revealed that there were characteristic differences between one- and two- 
move migrants and three and more move migrants. The one- and two-move 
migrants were, for the most part, "one-crop" migrants. The movement pattern 
of these migrants was characterized by regularity, in that current work locations 
were repetitions; and by stability in that at least one period had been spent 
at a place of permanent residence. If the place of permanent residence were 
outside of the area of enumeration, tlie patterns of such migrants could be 
generalized into tlie sequence: From imix'rmanent address at the season's 
end 1 year ago to iJermauent address and bade to impermanent address. If 
the area studied were the permanent address of the migrant, the sequence 
changed to : Permanent address to impermanent address outside tlie area to 
permanent address. 

In the Belle Glade area the most common two-move migration was of the 
first type, and a majority of such migrants maintained i>ermanent addresses 
in Georgia (see table Xl'l). This was also true of the two-move migrants to 
the Hammond area, and Mississippi was commonly the State of permanent 
address. The second type of sequence cliaracterized most two-move migrants 
studied in the Sanford area. They maintained permanent addresses in Sanford 
and migrated in the off-season. Most of tliese workers followed the celery 
liarvest to New York State. Much of the uniformity in the Sanford migration 
was due to the fact that several of the Sanford growers also operated celery- 
fields in New York, and transported their woi'kers to these fields. 

Many of the more-than-two-move interstate migrants to the Belle Glade area 
had spent at least one iieriod at their places of permanent address in the year 
preceding enumeration. Unlike the one- and two-move migrants, liowever, the 


permanent addresses of multiple-move migrants did not appear in any distinct 
or characteristic sequence. The '-home base" of multiple move interstate mi- 
grants did not aparentlv. offer definite or regular employment for the migrant. 

Although the movement patterns of multiple-move interstate migrants could 
not be generalized into definite sequences in terms of recurrent locations and 
permanent address, the composite outline of their patterns was fairly clear. 
\s the charts sh.-ws. migrants to the Florida areas had traveled three main 
routes in the past vear. One route ran up through the eastern seaboard States 
to New York and New Jersev ; one route ran through Tennessee and Kentucky 
To Michigan; and the third route took in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, and 
Missouri. The Louisiana migrants used the last two routes as well as a third 
western route running through Texas to the western coastal States. 

The individual migi-ations of interstate migrants furnish details of time and 
place for these general routes. A Negro family of live who were picking beans 
in the Belle Glade area had followed the same route for the past 3 years. 
From November to Mav thev picked beans in Belle Glade, from May through 
Julv they picked beans in Hurlock, Md. ; from August to October they dug 
and picked potatoes in Pikestown, N. J. In November they were back in 
Florida picking beans. , .i. 

Another Belle Glade family had gone to Michigan for the past 6 years by the 
following series of work locations: From October to May they worked in Belle 
Glade • through Mav thev picked cherries in Hart, Mich. ; in June they picked 
tomatoes in Freemoiit, Ohio; and they picked fruits and vegetables in Clewiston, 
N. Y., from July to September. . 

In January 1!>3S a Hammond migrant was picking strawberries m Plant City, 
Fla. He left Florida in the middle of March to go to the strawberry harvest 
in Haimnond. From May to September he was working in cotton in Lubbock, 
Tex. This was followed' by 2 weeks of threshing wheat in Gainesville, Tex. 
He then went back to Lubbock to pick cotton. When the cotton was picked, 
he filled in with odd jobs in INIission. Tex., until the strawberry season opened 
again in Hammond. 

Preliminary Facts From the Hammond, La., Farm Labor Study ^ 


Race and .scj-.— Roughly, 8 out of 10 of the workers were colored: Three- 
fourths of the white workers were male, and 61.1 percent of the colored workers 
were male. On the basis of race and sex, the workers enumerated in the 
Hammond survey were predominantly male and colored. ( See table I. ) 

Attacheduess and ivhere work is done. — All of the Hammond workers were 
field workers at the time of enumeration, and a majority of them were unat- 
tached. (See table II.) 

Mifjratorii stat //■■^.^From the standpoint of migratory status, the great major- 
ity of the workers were migrants, and a two-thirds majority of the migrants 
were intrastate. (See table III.) 

A(;e.—T\ie average age of ail the workers was 31.6 years. This average char- 
acterized the workers of the component migratory status groupings as well as 

1 In the anal.vsis of the schedules, several terms with special definitions were used. These 
definitions were : ^ , ^ 

1. The workers discussed in the first 4 sections are the subjects of the farm wage 
worker schedules — unattached workers and chief agricultural bread-winners in attached 
cases. The section on education includes data on the families of attached agricultural 
workers. , ^ ^, . j. •,• -^i 

2. Attached workers are those who have one or more members of their families with 
them in the area at the time of enumeration. Unattached workers are single workers as 
Avell as those who have no members of their families with them in the area. 

3 Migratory status terms are defined on the basis of current and permanent addresses 
and on record of movement. Resident workers are those whose permanent and current 
addresses are the same; that is, all workers permanent addresses are in the Ham- 
mond area. Nonresident workers are those whose permanent addresses are outside of 
the Hammond area. Resident workers are regular if they have fairly full employment 
throughout the vear : they are seasonal if they arc seasonally employed ; intrastate if they 
moved within tlie State ; and interstate if their movement carried them across State lines. 
The intrastate and interstate cliaracter of nonresident workers is similarly defined. 

4 All averages, unless otherwise stated, signify median values. Cases not ascertain- 
able or cases of no report have been excluded in the calculation of percentages. 


the total group surveyed. The average age of all intrastate migrants was 31.8 
years ; the average of all interstate migrants was 31.4 year.s. Nearly one-fourth 
(23.1 percent) of all the workers were more than 45 years old, and nearly 
one-third (32.6 percent) were less than 25 year.s old. 

Size of famUii. — Three-tenths of all the Hammond workers were attached; 
that is, they had one oi- more members of their families with them in the area. 
Nearly six-tenths (58.3 percent) of the attached workers were intrastate 
migrants. Intrastate migrants tended to have slightly larger families than 
interstate migrants. Approximately three-sevenths (43.3 percent) of the 
attached intrastate migrant families ntimbered two ; 18.3 percent had three 
members, and 38.4 percent had from four to nine members. The proportion 
of 2-member families among interstate attached workers, on the other hand, 
was more nearly half (48.4 percent), and nearly one-fifth (19.4 percent) of 
such families had three members. The proportion of four- and more-member 
families was correspondingly smaller (32.2 percent), and the largest interstate 
migrant family had seven members. 

Ownership of farm. — Most of the Hammond workers had no present or 
prospective link with farm owner.«hip ; they did not own farms and were not 
paying or saving for farms or farm equipment. Nine-tenths (00.9 percent) of 
all resident workers, 90.6 percent of all intrastate migrants, and 87.4 percent 
of all interstate workers fell in this category. 

Years as a migratory ivorker. — A majority of lioth intrastate and interstate 
migrants had had at least 1 year's experience in migratory work. More than 
one-third (34 percent) of all intrastate migrants and three-tenths (29.4 per- 
cent) of all interstate migrants had been migrants for less than a year. Nearly 
two-fifths (38.7 percent) of the intrastate migrants and 36.7 percent of the 
interstate migrants, on the other hand, had had 5 or more years' experience as 
migratory workers. The two groupings of migratory workers, therefore, were 
seasoned to a large and approximately equal degree. 

Migration pattern and intention to settle down. — More than half (51.1 per- 
cent) of all intrastate migrants regularly sought work from the same em- 
ployers and intended to settle down, or quit migration, in the future. Slightly 
more than one-seventh (15.3 percent) of the intrastate migrants planned to 
settle down, but did not seek work from the same employers; and four (2.3 
percent) were nonascertainable as to seeking work, but planned to settle down. 
In addition to the intrastate migrants discussed above, there were first-year 
intrastate migrants who, of course, were unable to respond concerning seeking 
work in the past. Thirty-three of the 37 first-year intrastate migrants, how- 
ever, intended to settle down. In all, seven-eighths (87.4 percent) of the intra- 
state migrants intended to settle down. Apart from the first-year migrants, 
relatively fewer of the interstate migrants intended to settle down ; 24.2 per- 
cent of the interstate migrants regularly sought work from the same employers 
and planned to settle down ; 19.2 percent did not seek work from the same 
employers, but planned to settle down. Thirty of the 32 first-year interstate 
migrants, however, planned to settle down. For comparison the proportion of 
intrastate and interstate migrants in the various migration pattern categories 
are given in table V. 


Type of housing. — All of the resident Hammond workers lived either in 
houses or in labor cabins on the farms where they were employed. Four out of 
seven (57.6 percent) lived in houses; three out of .seven (42.4 percent) lived in 
labor cabins on the farm. 

The housing of nonresident workers, on the other hand, was characterized by 
variety in type and relatively slight use of houses. Three-fourths (75.8 percent) 
of the nonresidents lived in labor cabins on the farms, while only about 1 out of 
17 (6 percent) lived in houses. Ranking next in importance to labor cabins 
was barrack housing. Roughly one-sixth (16.8 percent) of the nonresident 
workers lived in dormitorylike structures used exclusively by the additional 
nonlocal workers which the strawberry harvest attracts to the Hammond area. 
The rest of the nonresidents lived in miscellaneous types of housing ; one 
worker lived in a barn, one in a car, and one in a tourist cabin. One non- 
resident had no housing whatever. 


Kolatively more of the intrastate workers livefl in houses and harraeks; rela- 
tively more of the interstate workers lived in labor cabins. One-fifth (19.6 
percent) of the intrastate migrants, as compared with one-eighth (12.6 percent) 
of the interstate migrants, lived in barracks. Seven-tenths of the intrastate 
migrants lived in labor cabins as compared with eight tenths of the intrastate 
migrants. The remaining tenth of the intrastate migrants lived in houses. 
Only 3.6 percent of the interstate migrants lived in houses, and all of the mis- 
cellaneous types of housing occurred in the interstate grouping. 

Number of rooms. — Half of the nonresident housing was one-room ; one-fifth 
(21.7 percent) was two-room: and one-fifth (18.9 percent) three- or four-room. 
Less than one-tenth (9.2 percent) was five or more rooms. Nearly one-fourth 
(24.2 percent) of the resiident housing, on the other hand, had five or more 
rooms. More than two-fifths (42.4 percent) of the resident housing had three 
or four rooms, 15.2 percent had two rooms, and 18.2 percent had one room. Al- 
though the small number of resident cases qualifies the i-esident housing pro- 
portions, it is evident that resident housing tended to have more rooms than the 
housing of nonresident workers. 

Nnniber of occupants. — Nearly half (45.4 percent) of the resident workers 
lived in housing which sheltered from 5 to 11 and more persons. One-third 
(33.3 percent) of the resident housing sheltered 3 or 4 persons, 18.2 ixircent 
sheltered 2 persons, and only 3 i)ercent sheltered a single occupant. When 
these percentages are considered in relation to the percentage distribution of 
number of rooms, it is evident that overcrowding was the rule in the Hammond 
area. (See table IV.) 

Number of windows. — Twenty-four (7.6 percent) of the Hammond workers 
had no windows in their housing ; 21 ( 6.6 percent ) had more than 10. Most of 
the workers, however, had 1- or 2-window housing. About one-fourth (25.9 
percent) of the housing had 1 window, and slightly more than one-fifth (22.7 
percent) had 2 windows. (The median number of windows was 1.9.) 

Type of irindoivs. — The most common (45.1 percent) type of windows was 
shuttered and without screens. Of next importance (21.6 percent) was glass 
without screens, while glass windows with screens described the windows of 
12.2 percent of the workers' housing. 

These three types of windows described the luiiformities in this aspect of 
Hammond housing. Although there were other types and combinations of 
types, they did not occur frequently enough to acquire statistical significance. 

Toilet facilities. — The toilet facilities of the strawberry workers were classi- 
fied by their structure and utilization. Structurally there were two types of 
toilet facilities : Flush and open-pit. On the basis of utilization, facilities 
were either individual or community ; that is, utilized by two or more famlies. 

Twenty-seyen (8.3 percent) of the workers had no toilet facilities, 6 had 
community toilets whose structural type was not ascertainable, and the facili- 
ties of 3 workers were completely nonascertainable. The rest of the toilet 
facilities were completely classifiable. 

Nine out of ten (88.6 percent) of the workers had facilities of the open-pit 
type. Among the nonresidents, most (77.0 percent) of the facilities were com- 
munity open-pit. Only 27.3 percent of the resident workers' facilities, on the 
other hand, were community open-pit. Six-tenths (60.6 percent) of the resi- 
dent workers had individual open-pit type facilities, while the comparable pro- 
portion for nonresidents was only 6.4 percent. Although open-pit type toilets 
described nine-tenths of the facilities of both resident and non-i-esident workers, 
the proportionate distributions of individual and community type open-pit 
toilets were reversed for these two groupings. The proportionate distributions 
of individual and community type open-pit toilets in the intrastate and inter- 
state groupings, however, were similar. 

Only four of the workers had flush type toilet facilitie.s — all of them indi- 
vidual. Two of these occurred in the resident grouping ; two in the nonresident 
intrastate grouping. 

Cooking facilities. — Two of the workers "ate out ;" that is, they did not 
themselves use cooking facilities. There was also one worker who had no 
place to live and consequently no cooking facility. For the rest of the workers 
the predominant type of cooking facility was wood stove. Seven-eighths (87.2 
percent) of all the cooking facilities were of this type. The only sizeable pro- 


portion of cooking facility other than woihI stove, was kerosene (i>il) stove. 
One ont of 20 (5.0 percent) of the Hammond workers used tliis type. The 
cooking facilities of the rest of the workers were various, including campfire, 
charcoal buckets, gas or gasoline stoves, and combinations of these types. 
None of the miscellaneous types, however, occurred frequently enough to gain 
numerical significance. 

Although the proportionate difference in cooking facilities were not great, 
it is of interest to note that the greatest dependence on wood stoves occurred 
in the intrastate migrant grouping (93.2 percent), and tiiat the least dependence 
(78.7 percent) occurred in the interstate grouping. 

Tii2)es of liffhts. — The predominant type of lighting in the Hammond area was 
kerosene lamp. Nine of the w(»rkers (2.8 percent) had no lights whatever, 13 
(4.0 percent) had electric lights, and the rest (93.2 percent) used kerosene 
lamps. All of the cases without lights were nonresident, 8 of the 9 cases were 
nonresident interstate. 

Water stipijlij. — The water supply of the Hammond workers was derived, for 
the most part, from wells, either surface type, overflowing wells, or wells with 
hand pumps attached to them. A few (5.6 percent) derived their water from 
the town water system. Six workers (1.9 percent) derived their water from 
private water systems, and one worker used rain water collected in a cistern. 
More than nine-tenths of the workers, however, used well water : 35.5 percent 
depending on overflowing wells : 56.7 percent usind hand-pumped well water. 

All of the of private water systems, as well as the cistern supply, oc- 
cured in the nonresident grouping: and 16 of the IS of city water iisers 
were also nonresident. Resident workers, in other words, used well water 
almost exclusively. They also depended on overflowing well type water sup- 
plies to a relatively greater extent than did the nonresident group. 


Payment of tronsportation to (Did from work location (77rt»(»iO»(7) . — 19 
of the classified migrants in the Hammond study, or 6.8 percent, were in 
the Hammond area prior to taking their current job. Slightly more than 5 
out of 8 (63.3 percent) of the migrants incurred no transportation expense 
in taking their Hammond jolis. however, because their transportation costs to 
the area as well as transportation costs to their next location were paid by 
their wage payers. Roughly, 2 out of every 8 migrants (26.3 percent), on the 
other hand, bore the full cost of taking jobs in the Hammond area. They them- 
selves bore the costs of transportation to and from the Hammond area. Five of 
the migrants had their travel expense to the area paid by their employers but 
had to pay their costs out of the area. Four of the migrants had to pay their 
costs to the area, but their travel costs away from the area were to be paid 
by their employers. 

There was considerable variation in transportation-expense data when viewed 
from the standpoint of migratory character. Employers" payment of travel 
costs was far more prevalent among the intrastate migrants. 

The transportation costs of six-sevenths (81.8 percent) of the nonresident 
intrastate migrants, as compared with less than two-sevenths (25.6 percent) 
of the nonresident interstate migrants were paid by their wage payers. One- 
ninth of the nonresident intrastate migrants, on the other hand, as compared 
with more than five-ninths (57.8 percent) of the noni-esident interstate migrants 
bore themselves their entire travel costs. In other woi'ds, 86.9 percent of 
the nonresident migrants who had their transportation costs paid for them 
were intrastate migrants. Conversely, 72.2 percent of all the nonresident 
migrants who bore the full costs of travel were interstate migrants. 

Distance from current residence to job. — The great majority (96.3 jiercent) 
of the strawberry workers lived less than 1 mile from their work. None lived 
more than 9 miles from his work. The nearness of residences to work made 
walking the most prevalent (97.2 percent) means of travel to current job. With 
the exception of one worker who drove his own car to work, all of the workers 
who did not walk to work were transported at their employers' expense. 

Time of wage paiiment. — Almost without exception the strawberry pickers 
were paid weekly. One interstate migrant was paid daily; one intrastate 
migrant was paid at the end of the job. 


Wages paid hi/ and dediirtioiifi Irani icaye^. — A similar uniformity character- 
ized the identity of wage payer and deductions from wages. All of the resi- 
dent workers, migrant and nniunigrant, were paid by the operator of the fields 
which they worked and had no deductions taken from their wages. Ninety six 
percent of the nonresident intrastate workers, and 97 percent of the nonresident 
interstate workers were also paid by their operators and had no deductions. 
The rest of the nonresident workers were paid by tlieir operators but received 


MohUitji ill the past year. — About nine-tenths of the attached workers and 
95 percent of the unattached workers made one or more moves in the past year. 
The great weight of this mobility occurred within the State. Seven-tenths of 
the attached workers and three-fourths of the unattached workers had a 
record of intrastate movement in the past year: one-fourth of the attached 
workers and one-third or the unattached workers made interstate moves. 

Unattached workers were migrant to a slightly larger degree than attached 
workers, and their movements were more numerous, especially their intrastate 
movements. About one-tliird of the unattached workers made from three to 
six intrastate moves, whereas one-sixth of the attached migrant workers made 
three or more moves. Three-tenths of the unattached migrants and one-fourth 
of the attached migrants made three or more interstate moves. The majority 
of all movement for both groups, however, was in one- and two-move migration ; 
roughly, four-tenths of the migrants made one interstate move ; one-third, two. 
These proportions were reversed for Intrastate movement, the most numerous 
class for both groupings being two-move. 

Twx)-fifths of the interstate migrants had permanent residences in Mississippi ; 
16.7 percent in Louisiana ; 8.4 percent in Arkansas and Missouri, each ; and 
6.2 percent in Texas and Alabama, each. Smaller proportions had permanent 
addresses in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, District of 
Columbia, Wisconsin, Washington, and California. Although a major propor- 
tion of the interstate migrants thus oi'iginate in the States adjacent to Louisi- 
ana, the strawberry migration involved workers originating in every major 
geographical section of the United States, except New England. 

The dispersions and the concentrations which characterized the permanent 
addresses of the interstate migratory workers also characterized their move- 
ments during the year preceding enumeration. Chart I shows that although 
Mississippi figured largest in the movement of interstate migrants in the past 
year, the Louisiana interstate migrants were factors in the labor forces of 
19 other States. 

Eiiiploijiiieiit and uneniploiinicnt. — Half of the attached workers were em- 
ployed 175 days or less in the past year, and the highest number of days 
employed was 312. The median for unattached workers was lower, 160 days, 
but their highest employment was 362 days. A more emphatic statement of 
employment is provided by unemployment data. Half of the attached workers 
had from 141 to 280 days of unemployment in the past year, while half of the 
unattached workers had from 153 to 305 days of unemployment. 

In^-omc. — In analyzing income, the total income derived in the year preceding 
enumeration was broken down into four types: The cash earnings of the 
schedule subject, the valuation of perquisites attaching thereto, other family 
income, and relief income. 

The earnings-perquisite income is the income accruing to the schedule 
subject from his employment in the past year. Half of the attached 
field workers received an earnings perquisite income of $152 or less, while 
the highest income received in this grouping was $998. Unattached workers 
had a slightly higher median average, $159, and their income range went as 
high as $1,291. The similarity of average income figures for attached and 
unattached workers indicates that income dilferentials do not inhere in the 
earnings-perquisite incomes on the basis of attachedness. 

Nearly three-fourths of the earnings-incomes of attached workers, however, 
represented renumeration for the efforts of two or more persons ; that is, they 
were earnings to which several members of the family contributed. About three- 
fifths represented the work of from three to six contributors. The earnings- 
perquisite incomes of unattached workers, on the other hand, represented remu- 


neration for the work of one individual. To tlie extent that the earnings- 
perquisite incomes of attached workers include remuneration for the work of 
two and more contributoi's, therefore, the year's earnings for attached workers 
are lower, on the average, than the comparable earnings of unattached workers. 

learnings-perquisite incomes were also conditioned by the extent to which 
they were composed of perquisites, or nonmonetary income. This factor was 
constant for both attached and unattached workers. About nine-tenths of the 
workers in both groupings received perquisites. The valuation of perquisites 
was less than $50 in practically all cases. 

Other family income, income deriving from sources other than relief or the 
work of the schedule subject, was a sizable factor in the incomes of attached 
workers. In most cases other family income represented the earnings of other 
members of the family on jobs other than that of the schedule subject. When 
other family income is added to earnings-perquisite income, the total family 
income (exclusive of relief) is increased about .$100, on the average, for attached 
workers. Half of the total family incomes of attached workers were $253 or less, 
and they ranged from $22 to $2,088. There was much less change between the 
earnings-perquisite incomes and family incomes of unattached workers: Half 
of their family incomes amounted to $184 or less, and the upper limit remained 

Relief, the fourth source of income, c-ontributed comparatively little to the 
incomes of the Tangipahoa workers. Nine-tenths of the attached workers and 
98 percent of the unattached workers received no relief sums in the past year. 
The median total family income, including relief, of attached workers was $269, 
while that of unattached workers was $187. The range of attached workers' 
total incomes ranged from $71 to $2,088, and the comparable range for un- 
attached workers was from $35 to $1,291. Table IV, appearing below, sum- 
marizes the relative importance of income factors by race and migratory status. 

Education. — There were 35 white and 06 colored children of school age — that 
is, between the ages of 6 and 15 years, inclusive — in the Hammond survey. Less 
than half (45.7 percent) of the white children and three-fifths (69.1 percent) 
of the colored children were in school; that is, had attended school during the 
current school year. Roughly one-third of the school-age children of both racial 
groupings were working and not in school ; one-fifth of the white children and 
7.6 percent of the colored children were not in school and were not working. 

The great majority of the school-age children who were in school worked. 
Thirteen of the sixteen white children and 29 of the 39 colored children who 
were in school also worked. 

Only seven (17.9 percent) of the colored school-age children who were in 
school were either normal or advanced in their school achievement. One-fourth 
(25.7 percent) of the colored school children were retarded one or two grades; 
one-third, three or four gi-ades : and 23.1 percent, five or more grades. The 
small number of cases of white school children makes unprofitable a detailed 
examination of their school achievement. <^nly three of them, however, were 
not retarded. 


The Chairman. Aside from the Farm Security grants, do these 
migrants in Florida receive any assistance from any other source? 

Mr. Beecher. Tliey receive very little assistance from other relief 
agencies. We found after the freeze last year — the tremendous 
freeze which occurred during this last winter — that the State agencies 
Avere absolutely unable to cope with the problem, and the Farm 
Security ration pretty well carried the ball entirely on the 
relief of the destitute migrants, after the freeze, except for the fact 
that the State welfare department did distribute some surplus com- 
modiies, which were, in turn, secured from some of the Federal 

Mr. Curtis. I believe you mentioned the fact or made the state- 
ment that the field work in your area was generally done by Negroes 


and that the packing-house ^vork ^vas done by whites. Will you 
rnmnire the wao-e of these two types ot workers? 

Mr Beec^Tr The field work is usually done by Negroes, and the 
customaiT cS rate of pay ranges from a dollar to $1 50 per day. 
Hcfmh hi he" harvesting of crops, the pickers are paid on a piece 
S^^s ^The wh ie peoplf in theS^acking houses eaiT. 25 cents an 
horn in the Lake Okeechobee section almost universally. A. few of 
hen eirn inore than that; but that is what most of them receive. 

When Necrroe^ do the same work in the celery industry in the 
Sanfor er? to'.v where white people do that woi4. m the Lake 
Okrediobeea,ea.^ these Negroes at Sanford get about from one-half 
to two-thirds as much for the same kind of work: I would say 12y, 
to 15 cents an hour for tlie same thing that the white people get 25 
cent^ an hour for in the Lake Okeechobee section. . 

Mr. Curtis. Have you any information on the average annual in- 
come of these people ? , 

Mr. Beecher. Yes : I have that m my statement. 

Mr. Curtis. All right ; what educational facilities are given these 

""mi^ Beecher. Well, schools do exist for both races, but if all of the 
migrant children were in school and were to be in school, the present 
facilities would not onlv be overloaded, but they would be completely 
swamped. Thev are overloaded even at the present time, with a large 
number of migrant children staying out of school. 

The Chairman. From your experience in dealing with these mat- 
ter^ and in the handling of these problems, what organization do you 
consider the best suited to properly handle the problem, m your 

^ Mr Beecher. It seems to me that the Farm Security Administra- 
tion is the best suited, because we do have the coordinated program 
for dealing with the underprivileged farm people generally back m 
the areas where these migrants come from as a general rule, as well 
as the areas to which they go ; and furthermore, we have had 5 years 
experience in working out camps and grant programs for the mi- 
grants, and it seems to me that the Farm Security Administration 
would be the best agency to continue it. 

:Mr. OsMERS. I have one general question that I would like to ask 
if you can answer it brieflv. Based on your experience in the han- 
dling of agricultural migrants, would you care to make any sugges- 
tion as to the best way that the Federal Government could approach 
the problem looking toward a permanent solution? Do you see any 
way, or do you have any thoughts in mind that you could give the 
committee on that which might be helpful ''i 

Mr. Beecher. Well, looking toward a permanent solution, first, the 
furtlier development of camps in the areas where the migrants go; 
in connection with those camps, the maximum development of garden 
homes where the most stable of the migrants can be settled down 
and taken out of this endless flux, and to control it. if possible, at 
the source: that is. increasing control. 

Mr. Osmers. Now, for the moment, swinging away from the prob- 
lem of those migrants that go from Florida to North Carolina and on 


to New Jersey and back again, as you call it, the continuintr or endless 
flux, I am thinking of those people who have gone from Oklahoma 
to California and are destitute, and who have remained in California, 
and people who have gone from this area to the North and who have 
stayed there ; do you think that we should concentrate on the problem 
where they are located or where they are starting from? 

Mr. Beecher. I think that we have to do both. 

Mr. OsMERs. You think that we have to do both? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir. If we attempt to stabilize as many as 
possible where they have gone and integrate them into the communi- 
(ies where they have gone, I think we should do that. 

Mr. Curtis. And to remove the causes back home also? 

Mr. Beecher. Yes, sir; and to remove the causes back home also, by 
some agricultural measures if possible, and the development of farm 
commodities and cooperative farming, and so on. 

The Chairman. I understand in Washington that your Farm 
Security Administration has taken care of approximately 800,000 
families in the South — that is, providing them with feed, a horse and 
a mule, or a cow — to keep them at home, but that there are still 
500,000 families not being taken care of because of lack of appro- 
priation ; is that correct ? 

Mr. Beecher. At least there is a half million families not taken 
care of yet by the Farm Security Administration. 

Mr. OsMERs. Before I came to the hearing here this morning, in 
the company of ^Ir. Morgan and others of the Farm Security Ad- 
ministration, Mr. J. H. AVood and ]\Ir. William Elsbury, I went out 
into the country here, and I observed some of the work of the Farm 
Security Administration, and I want this statement to go into the 
record. We saw both ends of the problem. We saw one extremely 
happy solution, and we also saw a very miserable case where we just 
stopped along the road and walked in, and we could see both ends 
of the axis, and there is certainly no doubt in my mind that the 
changes in that connection should begin at home, right at the source 
of the problem; that is where the work should be done, and as it 
develops, it may become apparent that a certain part of the popula- 
tion will liave to be shifted to other parts of the country, but from 
my observation of a few hours, it seems that a great deal can be done 
at home along this line. 

The Chairman. I thank you very much, Mr. Beecher. That is a 
remarkable statement that you have presented in a very intelligent 
manner, and it contains a very valuable contribution to this investi- 

Mr. Beecher. I thank you very much. 

Mr. Curtis. I would like to ask a question or two at this point. In 
this permanent housing that you have spoken of, the permanent units, 
what was your average cost of the completed family unit? 

Mr. Beecher. The average cost per family unit — we built some 
single houses that cost $1,600 each, and some double houses that cost 
us $2,350 each. In the three camps that are now under construction 
the cost will be considerably less per unit than that. On the per- 


manent units being built we do not propose to spend more than $1,000 
per family unit. 

The Chairman. We will take a 5-minute recess. 

Mr. Beechp:r. I have a number of charts and other statistical 
matter here that I would like to present as a part of the record; 
various material and one particular batch of tables that I have stapled 
together. These statistics and charts and material I desire to be, 
made a part of the record here if possible. 

The Chairman. Yes, sir; you will be permitted to do that, and the- 
documents that you have there will be received as exhibits. 

(Charts and other statistical matter above referred to were received 
in evidence as follows :) 


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Table XII.- 


-States of permanent residence — Interstate migrants, three Florida 
acres'^ and Hammond, La. 
































6 1 


3 4 

Florida . _. 

31 7 

Georgia . 

24 9' 


1 5 


3 9 











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Missouri... _ 

2 4 

North Carolina 





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1 5 




1 7 

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7 6 








1 Belle Glade, Sanford, and Manatee areas. 

2 Includes New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, West Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Kansas, Indiana 
Iowa, California, Ohio, Colorado, Delaware, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

(Whereupon, a short recess was taken.) 
The Chairman. The committee will come to order 
Farmer is the next witness. 



Mr. Parsons. State your name to the reporter, Timothy. 
]Mr. Farmer. Timothy Farmer. 
Mr. Parsons. What is your address? 
Mr. Farmer. Belle Glade, Fla. 
Mr. Parsons. Where were you born, Timothy? 
Mr. Farmer. Bichland County, Augusta, Ga. 
Mr. Parsons. "^V^len were you born? 
Mr. Farmer. 1896. 

Mr. Parsons. Were you born on a farm? 
Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Your parents were farmers? 
Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And you worked on the farm? 
Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 
Mr. Parsons. Until when? 
Mr. Farmer. Until 1925. 

Mr. Parsons. How old were vou when 3- ou left your father ? 
Mr. Farmer. 1925. 

Mr. Parsons. You left the old home where you were born at that 
time, did you? 



Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Parsons. Did yoiir father own that farm? 

Farmer. No, sir. 

Parsons. He was just a renter^ 

Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Parsons. Was he a sharecropper? 

Farmer. No, sir; he was a renter. 

Parsons. Did you take over the farm then when he died? 

Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Parsons. As renter? 

Farmer. No, sir; I sharecropped. 

Parsons. What is the difference between a renter and a share- 

cropper ? 

Mr. Farmer. One of them gets all of the stuff that you raise and 
the other only half. 

Mr. Parsons. How is that? 

Mr. Farmer. The sharecropper, he gets only half of what he makes 
and if you are a renter, you get all that you make. 

Mr. Parsons If you rent and pay cash rent, you get all that you 
make on the farm and if you are a sharecropper, you only get half 
wliat you make: is that correct? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. When you rent, you mean you pay cash rent for the 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And you didn't want to pay cash rent for the land 
and you went on a sharecrop basis, is that correct? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; I just wasn't able to pay cash rent for the 

Mr. Parsons. You weren't able to pay cash rent for the land? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How many years did you farm? 

Mr. Farmer. I farmed about 8 years. 

Mr. Parsons. What crops did j^ou raise? 

Mr. Farmer. Cotton and corn and potatoes and peas. 

Mr. Parsons. But mostly cotton? 

Mr. Farmer. Mostly cotton, yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Why did you leave the farm? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, I got to the place that I was making no money 
no how. 

Mr. Parsons. You were making nothing? 

Mr. Farmer. Not making nothing. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you make anything the first year that you 

Mr. Farmer. The first year that I farmed? 

Mr. Parsons. Yes, 

Mr. Farmer. Yes; I made something the first 3'ear, 

Mr. Parsons. About how much did you make, do you suppose? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, I made about $150. 


Mr. Parsons. $150 net? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What did you make the next year? 

Mr. Farmer. I didn't make nothing the next year. 

Mr. Parsons. What was the matter? 

Mr. Farmer. I don't know, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Was it a drought? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; pretty good crop. 

Mr. Parsons. Boll weevils? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, the boll weevils kinder hit it. 

Mr. Parsons. How is that you made nothing if you made $150 the 
first year that you farmed? 

Mr. Farmer. The boll weevils hit us the next year. 

Mr. Parsons. And what about the third year? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, we didn't make anything the third year; the 
Ijoll weevils still got worser. 

Mr. Parsons. And what about the fourth year? 

Mr. Farmer. We made something the fourth year ; we made a little 
that year. 

Mr. Parsons. Would you say that you made as much as $150 that 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir ; I only got $75. 

Mr. Parsons. How many bales of cotton did you grow that year? 

Mr. Farmer. About 12 bales. 

Mr. Parsons. And you only had $75 after growing 12 bales of 
cotton; is that what you mean to tell us? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. The last year that you farmed the land, you didn't 
make anything ? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; I didn't clear nothing the last year, 

Mr. Parsons. What year was that ? 

Mr. Farmer. 1925. 

Mr. Parsons. Was the price low that year, or was it that you just 
didn't raise any cotton? 

Mr. Farmer. The price was very low, and I didn't make much 
-cotton, either. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you go when you left the farm ? 

Mr. Farmer. I w^ent to Augusta, Ga. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you work just as hard the last year that you 
"were on the farm as you did the first year that you were on the farm 
in order to try to make something for yourself? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; I think I worked harder than I did the first 

Mr. Parsons. Did you work increasingly harder as the years went 
by while you were on the farm, and did you find that the money 
l)ecame less and less ? 
Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You worked harder each year? 
Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And still you didn't make anything? 
Mr. Farmer. Still I didn't make anything. 


Mr. Parsons. Then you Aveiit back to Augusta, is that correct? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And Avhat did you do there \ 

Mr. Farmer. I Avorked at the oil mill and the cotton mill. 

Mr. Parsons. How long ? 

Mr. Farmer. Up until 1937. 

Mr. Parsons. 1937? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. About how much a year did you make there? 

]Mr. Farmer. Well, I don't know. I didn't keep track of it, but 1 
was getting $2 to $2.25 per day. but I wasn't regular at work. 

jNIr. Parsons. That was for about how many days in the year? 
"Would you sa}' that it was for a hundred days in the year, do you 
sujijiose. or was it for as much as 200 days in the year? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; I would say about 2 months; it lasted about 
3 months, those jobs did. 

Mr. Parsons. That would amount to between 90 to 100 days, would, 
you say? 

]\Ir. Farmer. Yes. sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How much rent did you pay where you lived ? 

Mr. Farmer. We were paying $6 per month. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you go from there in 1937 ? 

Mr. Farmer. I came to Florida. 

Mr. Parsons. How did you come to go to Florida ? 

Mr. Farmer. I had a brother down here, and he said, "I think 
you can do better there." 

Mr. Parsons. AVhy did your brother come down to Florida? 

Mr. Farmer. Just roaming around, I guess, trying to find some- 
thing better. 

Mr, Parsons. He was one of those early migrants down to Florida, 
was he ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; I guess so. 

Mr. Parsons. And somebody else was an earlier migrant, and he 
evidentl}' invited your brother to come down, and your brother in- 
vited you, in turn, to go to Florida, did he ? 

^Ir. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What do you do in Florida ? 

Mr. Farmer. I pick beans. 

Mr. Parsons. Pick beans? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes. sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long have you lived in Florida ? 

Mr. Farmer. From 1937 up to now. 

Mr. Parsons. Where did you live and what kind of living quarters 
did you have? 

Mr. Farmer. Kinder a bad condition, unsanitar5^ 

Mr. Parsons. Tell the reporter something about the conditions 
that you lived under — did you have any water supply ? 

^Ir. Farmer. Xo. sir; we had to haul the water. 


Mr. Parsons. "Wliat kind of buildings did you live in? 

Mr. Farmer. Abandoned buildings; had big cracks in it, and it 
leaked, rained in it then whenever it rained and everything got wet. 

Mr. Parsons. How much did you have to pay for a place of that 
kind to live in, a place that leaked, and as you described it ? 

]Mr. Farmer. Nothing. 

Mr. Parsons. Who furnished it? 

Mr. Farmer. I was staying on the man's place named Klein, and 
it was called Klein's quarters. 

Mr. Parsons. You worked for Mv. Klein? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. About how much did you earn when you worked 
ior him? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, some weeks me and my wife and children would 
make $25 or $30, and then some weeks we would not. 

Mr. Parsons. How many were in your family that were working? 

Mr. Farmer. Five of us. 

Mr. Parsons. Five? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You and your wife? 

]\Ir. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And three children? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long would that $20 or $25 per week last? 

Mr. Farmer. It didn't last very long by the time that you would 
buy groceries out of it. 

Mr. Parsons. I didn't hear what you said. 

Mr. Farmer. I said that it wouldn't last very long by the timet 
that you would buy groceries out of it. 

Mr. Parsons. I meant this, about how long was the season during 
the time that you were making that much money per week — would it 
last for 8 or 10 weeks? That is the question that I was asking you. 

Mr. Farmer. Oh, the season lasted from the latter part of October 
until May. 

Mr. Parsons. "V^Hiat kind of lights did you have? 

Mr. Farmer. We had electric lights. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of arrangements for cooking your food ? 

Mr. Farmer. We had an oil stove. 

Mr. Parsons. Have you ever worked in any State besides Georgia 
and Florida? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Wliere? 

Mr. Farmer. Virginia, Maryland. Delaware, and New Jersey. 

Mr. Parsons. You have been in that potato crowd up the Atlantic 
coast, have you ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. We heard about those boys over in New York. 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; I was with some of them. 


Mr. Parsons. How did vou happen to go up there? Did you con- 
tract with somebody to go up there and work in the potato harvest, 
or how did you happen to go up there on that trip? 

Mr Farmer. No, sir; I just didn't have enough money to stay 
down here, and I thouglit that I would go up there and follow up 
that work. 

lylr. Parsons. What kind of pay did you get up that way^ 

Mr. Farmer. They paid us about like they did down here. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you ever keep account of just how much money 
you earned in 1 year for all the labor that you did? 

Mr. Farmer. Xo ; I never did keep an accurate account of it. 

Mr. Parsons. You never did have to pay income tax on it, or make 
any accounting of it in that respect, did you ? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir ; I didn't get hold of that much. 

Mr. Parsons. Where are you living now ? 

Mr. Farmer. I am living at the Belle Glade, Fla., migratory camp, 
the migratory labor camp. . * i • 

Mr. Parsons. You are living at one of these Farm Security Admin- 
istration's camps down there, is that correct? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. . . 

Mr. Parsons. What are your quarters there— are they something 
like Mr. Beecher described them here this morning? Did you hear 
his testimony? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; I heard it. 

Mr. Parsons. And do you live in one of those camps? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you like it, living in that camp? 

Mr. Farmer. Oh, yes, sir ; fine, fine. 

Mr. Parsons. About how many people are living there now? 

Mr. Farmer. About 175 now, 1 guess. 

Mr. Parsons. How many will this camp hold ? 

Mr. Farmer. About 325 families, I think. 

Mr. Parsons. That is families? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do most of the families, migrant families, have any- 
where from four to five children with them? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; one to four or five. 

Mr. Parsons. And the children work the same as the parents do 
if they are old enough? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How old are the children before they are placed in 
the fields? 

Mr. Farmer. Around about 8 years old. 

Mr. Parsons. Around about 8 years of age ? 

Mr. Farmer. Eight to ten. 

Mr. Parsons. What do you think of the camp and how do you 
feel about it? 

Mr. Farmer. I think it is just grand for the colored folkses. 


Mr. Parsons. Were you down there before they constructed any 
Farm Security Administration camps? 

Mr. Farmer. Was I down there? 

Mr. Parsons. Yes. 

Mr. Farmer. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. You like it much better now? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes; much better. 

Mr. Parsons. Than you did before? 

Mr. Farmer. Oh, yes, sir; yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you have any sideline which you follow besides 
being a berry picker or a potato picker? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; nothing. 

Mr. Parsons. It seems that somewhere along here I got the impres- 
sion that you were a minister. 

Mr. Farmer. Oh, yes, sir; I am a minister. I have been a pastor 
in the church. 

Mr. Parsons. You have been a pastor of the church? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; I have in my life. 

Mr. Parsons. Where is that church? 

Mr. Farmer. In Georgia. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you do any pastoral work at this camp iii; 
Florida ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; I preaches at that camp up there now. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you get any pay for preaching? 

Mr. Farmer. No. 

Mr. Parsons. I don't suppose that they have any funds to give 


Mr, Farmer. No, sir ; they haven't got nothing to give now. 

Mr. Parsons. And it is very well for one to preach a good word 
whether he receives any return for it or not, isn't it? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What are you doing for a living at the present time? 

Mr. Farmer. Working a little bit there in the camp. 

Mr. Parsons. What do you have to pay a week for your quarters?" 

Mr. Farmer. I get $30 per month. 

Mr. Parsons. You get $30 a month ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How do you get $30 per month — what are you doing? 

Mr. Farmer. I am working right there in the camp. 

Mr, Parsons. For the camp committee? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; anywhere there in the camp. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of work are you doing at the camp? 

Mr. Farmer. I've got no certain job. 

Mr. Parsons. Are you kind of overseer or something like that in 
the camp? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; I am the chairman of the camp council. 

Mr. Parsons. Oh, you are chairman of the camp council? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And you look to see that the camp is kept clean ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And you see that the regulations are in force? 


Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And as a result of that, you are paid about $;30 per 

month ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes. sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Are you doing any work at the present tune otlier 

than that? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; I am doing work besides that. 

]Mr. Parsons. Are the other members of your family working too 
at the present time? 

iSIr. Farmer. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. About how nnich will you make per year doing that 
kind of work ? Being chairman of the camp council and then you and 
your family working outside in addition to that ? 

j\Ir. Farmeu. I don't know, sir. I haven't never did that before. 

Mr. Parsons. You just started that this spring? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. As chairman of the camp council? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you think that you are doing a pretty good job? 

Mr. Farmer. Pretty good ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do the other members of the camp committee get any 

pay ? 

Mr. Farmer. 1 es, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You have to be elected by popular suffrage, don't you? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you politic around among them and curry favors 
for their votes ? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. That's all. 

Mr. Curtis. Would you have anything to suggest to the gentleman 
from Illinois on the question of getting votes? 

Mr. Farmer. Would I have any objections? 

Mr. Cui'vTis. No; do you have any suggestions to make to the gentle- 
man from Illinois on how to win an election ? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir; I wouldn't have a bit. 

Mr. Parsons. The gentleman from Nebraska happens to be a Re- 
publican and he likes to be facetious at times. 

Mr. Farmer. That is all right, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Are the health conditions pretty good in the camp 

Mr. Farmer, Sir? 

Mr. Curtis. Are the health conditions much better in the camp 
now than it was in the days before this new camp was constructed? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; much better. 

Mr. Curtis. What is the average weekly earnings of you and your 
family now? 

Mr. Farmer. Now? 

Mr. Curtis. Yes. 

Mr. Farmer. I don't earn no more than what thev are paving me, 
the $30. 

Mr. Curtis. $30 per month? 


Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Is that the only colored camp in this community 
around the Everglades? 

Mr. Farmer. As far as I know of. 

Mr. Curtis. Are there any white camps around about ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; we have one down there, too. 

Mr. Curtis. What is the ratio of white and colored migratory 
workers — are there more colored people? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir; the most are colored people, about 75 per- 
cent are colored. 

Mr. Curtis. Where do most of these people that are in the camp 
come from? 

Mr. Farmer. Well, from different parts of Georgia and the Caro- 
linas and the Southern States. 

Mr. Curtis. You might tell the connnittee something about what 
your duties are in regard to the regulation of this camp. I think 
that it might be of interest to the committee. I understand that you 
are chairman of the camp council, is that correct? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, tell us in a few words how you operate and how 
you control this camp. What are your duties and what are the 
duties of those under you? 

Mr. Farmer. The duties of the men under me, t)f the other council- 
men, I make the laws and see that they are "deforced," and I see that 
the camp is kept clean and see that everything is kept quiet and there 
is no "disturbment" among them, but that there is peace among them. 

Mr. Curtis. Are you the only officer in the camp that is elected and 
the only one that draws a salary while looking after the camp ? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir, we have 16 more councilmen, but I am just 
the chairman of the council. 

Mr. Curtis. Do they draw a salary? 

INIr. Farmer. No, sir, some of them are working, all of them are 
working — I don't get any salary for just doing that. 

Mr. Curtis. I thought that is what you were getting your $30 per 
month for. 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir ; you see we do other work besides for that. 

Mr. Curtis. Under the present conditions existing there, you are 
probably better off than you have been since 1925, aren't you? 

Mr. Farmer. From sanitary, I am ; and the financial, I am. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, to be real honest with yourself and with the 
committee, you are a little happier in that camp today, in fact, a lot 
happier in that camp today than you have been at any time since 
1925, aren't you? 

JMr. Farmer. Yes, sir ; I am sure happy there. 

Mr. Curtis. That is a mighty fine thing of the Farm Security 
Administration that it has made at least one colored family happy, 
and you are very appreciative of it, aren't you? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir, I sure am ; and I believe that the others are 
happy too. 

The Chairman. Before you were elected chairman of the council, 
how did you handle your election? 



jMr. Farmer. B}' vote. 

The Chairman. Did the people vote? 

jMr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Tlie Chairman. How many people voted? 

Mr. Farmer. Sixteen of us. 

The Chairman. Sixteen voted? 

Mr. Farmer. No, sir ; 16 coimcilnien, and I got the most votes, and 
"we had two of us standing for chairman. 

The Chairman. Did you have an opponent running against you? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. More than one or just one? 

Mr. Farmer. More than one. 

The Chairman. And you cleaned up on all of them, did you? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. How do you vote, by ballot ? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you vote by secret ballot? 

Mr. Farmer. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. The chairman's election is only a week off — the 
gentleman from California is interested in trying to get some political 
pointers also. 

The Chairman. That is why I am trying to keep it secret, too. 

Thank you very mu<'h, Timothy. You are excused. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 


The Chairman. Is Mr. Dulany present? 

Mr. Parsons. Will you give your name to the reporter for the 
record, Mr. Dulany? 

Mr. Dulany. My name is John A. Dulany, 

Mr. Parsons. Your address? 

Mr. Dulany. Pahokee, Fla. 

Mr. Parsons. You are the mayor of the city of Pahokee, Fla. ? 

Mr. Duuany. Yes, sir. 

iVIr. Parsons. What is the population of the city of Pahokee, Fla. ? 

j\Ir. Dulany. It is appoximately four or five thousand. 

]\Ir. Parsons. What is the population of your city at the peak of 
the harvest time? 

Mr. DuL.\NT. I would say that it would be about 15,000 at that 

Mr. Parsons. So you have an increase of about 300 percent in the 
population of your city during the harvest time ? 

Mr. Dulany. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long is this seasonal influx of the labor, and 
when does it start? 

Mr. Dulany. Well, I would say that it would spread over an 
8-month period during the year and it gets its peak in 6 months 
out of that period. 


Mr. Parsons. It begins and orows up to the highest peak and 
then tapers off, back down to normal ; is that about the way it runs ? 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. And for about 4 months of the year you would say 
that you have a population of about 5,000 in your city? 

Mr. DxJLANY. Yes, sir: and in the next 4 months it comes up to 
reach a peak population of 15,000. 

Mr. Parsons. And then in the next 4 months it tapers back to the 
normal population? 

Mr. DuLANY. It tapers at both ends and it increases up to the 
peak in the middle of that period. 

jNIr. Parsons. How do you house these ])eo])le, these miorants that 
come in there as laborers? 

Mr. DuLANY. At the ])resent time they are housed by orowers on 
their own farms and there is also some rental property constructed 
for them. 

Mr. Parsons. Are these migrants ]n"inci]-)ally colored people? 

Mr. DuLANY. They show about 3 to 1 colored. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of facilities do the owners of the planta- 
tions or owners of the farms furnish to the mig-rants? 

Mr. DuLANY. Most of the outlying farm settlements have city 
water if they are not too far out to receive a water supply from the 
municipal water-supply system. 

]\Ir. Parsons. What are the financial conditions of the people when 
they come into your town, and when did this migration begin or 
when does it begin? 

Mr. DuLANY. The only way that I could answer that question cor- 
rectly. I would naturally have to refer to the Dei^artment of Agri- 
culture figures on shipments as to the increase. Now, as to the 
town, I think that it was incorporated in 1922, and at that time the 
movement was very light, and it has increased ever}' year since that 

Mr. Parsons. With the improvement of the farming facilities? 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir ; and everything. 

Mr. Parsons. You mean that the migration to your city has in- 
creased since that time with the improvement in everything, trans- 
portation facilities, increase in the farming operations there, and 
so forth ? 

Mr. Dm^ANY. Yes, sir. In this area, we now have 80,000 acres 
under cultivation. It is muck land. 

Mr. Parsons. That is new land that has been improved and the 
cultivation there expanded since 1922? 

Mr, Dulany. Yes. sir; that is correct. 

Mr. Parsons. What are the financial conditions of these people 
when they arrive in your area? They are usually broke and 
stranded, are they not. particularly if they don't immediately secure 
work ? 

Mr. Dulany. Yes. sir : that is correct. 

Mr. Parsons. What problem does it present to your city adminis- 
tration from the standpoint of sanitary conditions and law enforce- 
ment and things like that? 


Mr DuLAXY. Our situation is about the same as other similar com- 
munities, without the influence of this great number of workers Ut 
course the question of law enforcement would be much less, how- 
ever we are of the opinion that the law-enforcement problem does 
not increase except in the ratio that it would normally increase with 
the addition of that much population to our community; by that we 
do not mean to say that these people are a lawless type of people, but 
durino- the peak period the law-enforcement problem is merely in- 
creased by the increasing numbers of population as it normally 

would be. , . , ,1 ^ • 4. „ 

Mr Parsons. In the main, are these migrants that come into your 
community law-abiding citizens, or are they law violators m the 
main, or would you say they are just about as honest and obey the 
laws as well as the rest of the people? 

Mr. DuLANY. I think that they are just as honest and law abiding 
as the rest of the people. They are not lawless. 

Mr P\ESONS. Do you have any suggestions to make to this com- 
mittee relative to the housing conditions for these migrant families i 


Mr. DuLANY. The Farm Security Administration having con- 
structed two camps at the present time— they only got started at 
the end of the last season— and they are now constructing two addi- 
tional camps in the area, and I think that will lend a great deal ol 
assistance toward the solving of our housing problem m that imme- 
diate area. The town of Belle Glade is only 12 miles from Pahokee, 
and two housing projects are being constructed there now, or are 
already constructed. 

Mr.' Parsons. I understand they will house about 2o0 families 

each; is that correct? i , • ^i ^ 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir; and that will help out considerably in that 


Mr. Parsons. I understand that with the housing already com- 
pleted and that under construction by the Farm Security Adminis- 
tration that it will take care of from 700 to 1,000 families ; is that 
correct ? 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir; that is my understanding of it. I have this 
in mind also, that the reaction of these housing projects will be that 
those people who now offer rental housing will probably, due to the 
competitive angle caused by the construction of the Farm Security 
Administration housing projects, that they will improve their prop- 
erty to a great extent. Kegular rental property in that area is m com- 
petition with the Government buildings that are being put up, and in 
order to rent their houses, the private rental people will have to 
reduce the rates and also will have to improve their facilities in 
order to obtain any occupants. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you have any complaints from the people in and 
surrounding your town about the Goveniment coming in and sup- 
plying these new facilities for the migrant workers to occupy? 

260370— 40— pt. 2 13 


Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir; we do, but we believe that the comphiints 
are from a selfish angle and it is just one of those questions of 
progress. Someone is very likely to be hurt and in doing so thej 
have to take it right along with everyone else. It will react bene- 
ficially in the long run, we think. 


Mr. Parsons. Do you have any other suggesuons to make to this 
committee in reference to the problem in your section? 

Mr. Dtjlanet. Yes, sir; I do have some, very definitely. The farmer 
in the Everglades section of Florida is doing all that he can reason- 
ably do for labor. He appreciates the problem that labor does present 
to itself and the community and to the Nation as a whole. One of 
our great problems that we have to contend with in Florida is the 
question of tariff control and making Florida vegetables directly 
competitive with the Cuban-produced vegetables, when Florida is 
trying to maintain a relatively high wage scale in competition with 
the peon labor which they have in Cuba. This reacts very seriously 
against us and against migratory labor and against destitute citizens 
because of the fact that the Florida farmer cannot market his stuff 
profitably because of the foreign competition. I think that our good- 
neighbor policy is all right in some respects and we are all Democrats 
in Florida although we have a Republican outlook. There is another 
angle that I might also mention while I am here. There was a bill 
recently introduced in Congress, and I think that it finally became 
a law, I am not quite sure about that, but what I refer to is this rural 
hospitalization bill — you gentlemen know better than I do whether 
it is a law or not — I think it is — but at an}^ rate, if it is not yet a law, 
it has not been defeated but is still in the mill, according to my 

Mr. Parsons. I don't think that the measure was passed. 

Mr. DuLANY. But it hasn't been defeated. If there is any place in 
the United States iBiat I have seen that needs such a health unit, con- 
sidering it from a national standpoint, the Everglades of Florida 
does present a crying need for such a health unit, for a hospital unit 
that this bill makes provision for. Of course, I might say for my 
people down in that section that we earnestly would solicit your sup- 
port of that bill, because after all. even though some of those tariff 
arrangements might contradict, we still insist that we are a part of the 
United States of America and that we would like to have your sup- 
port of anything of that kind to lend us a little protection in our 
vegetable field. 

Mr. OsMERS. Wliat county is the city of Pahokee located in? 

Mr. DuLANY. The city of Pahokee is located in Palm Beach 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you feel that the present tariff regulations re- 
garding the importation of Cuban vegetables are very harmful to 

Mr. DuLANY. Very definitely ; yes, sir. 


Mr. OsMERS. Do you happen to know if tliat condition exists in 
New Mexico and Arizona in regard to Mexican vegetables? 

Mr. DuLANY. I believe so, but I am more familiar with the Cuban 
situation as it relates to Florida, 

Mr. OsMERS. Naturally, you would be. In vour opinion, from your 
own observations on the ground there, do you feel that there is any 
way in which the Everghides vegetable producers there can conduct 
their business so that there will be more of a year-around need for 
labor than on the present seasonal basis? 

iMr. DuLAXY. Based ou the fact that the State of Florida has its 
mild climate, that we can produce winter vegetables when other 
States cannot, economically, it is impractical to arrange a year- 
around growing schedule unless we diversify our crops into some- 
thing that we have not yet produced. The winter vegetables are 
strictly a winter crop. The people up in New Jersey raise the same 
things that we can raise, but at a later date in the season and the 
differential between the North and the South in the freight rates 
does prohibit the Florida grower from that additional competition. 

Mr. OsMERs. As I understand it, most of Florida vegetables are 
transported to the North by truck ; is that correct ? 

Mr. DuLuANY. We now estimate that 50 percent of the Florida vege- 
tables are transported to the North by truck. 

Mr. OsMERS. So that the freight rate differential of which you 
speak is becoming increasingly less important to the State of Florida ? 

Mr. DuLANY, That is true. 

Mr. Parsons. Is Florida fruit better than California fruit? 

Mr. DuLAXY. I take it, sir, that you are trying to get me in bad 
with the chaiiman of this connnittee. You know that if I would 
tell you the tnith I would get in bad with him. 

Mr. Parsons. Does the sun shine all the time in the State of Flor- 
ida? I think they claim that it shines all but about 48 houi-s in 

Mr. DiiL-ANY. Well, in answer to that, I will say thixt there is a 
city located in the State of Florida where the newspaper publishers 
advertise each day that they give away a complete edition of their 
paj)er for every day that the sun does not shine in that city, and I 
am informed that they have only had to give away one or two editions 
of their paper since they have been in business, which is over a veiy 
long period of time. 

The Chairman. Regardless of what you -think about Florida or 
California, they all want to go there at some time or other, don't 
they ? 

Mr. DnLANY. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman; we must have something. 

The Chairman. And we are willing to advertise our sunshine and 
our climate. 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir; that is right. 

Mr. OsMERs. There is one question that is of great interest to th© 
committee and that is with respect to the health of these workei-s 
that come in there. What health facilities do you have at the present 
time ? 


Mr. DuLANT. We have a hospital. 

Mr. OsMERs. How many beds does the' hospital have? 

Mr. DuLANY. I have forgotten the number of beds that it has. but 
it IS not very many beds. It is just a small hospital. 

Mr. OsMERs. Do you have a city health department at Pahokee ? 

Mr. DuLANY. No, sir; it is handled through the countv health 

Mr. OsMERs. I am asking the question now for information : Under 
the Florida State laws are you permitted to have city health depart- 
ments ? 

Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. You are allowed to have such a set-up? 

Mr. DnLANY. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you feel that the creation of such a health depart- 
ment in Pahokee would alleviate some of the conditions that you 
have referred to? 

Mr. DuLANY. There is no question about that. All of those things 
contribute something to make the situation better. 

Mr. OsMERS. Has the governing body given any thought to that 
situation ? 

_ Mr. DuLANY. Yes, sir. And the fact is that we do make contribu- 
tions to the hospital there. The hospital is not a taxing unit or 
supported by taxes, and its upkeep is practically a matter of free will 
offerings in addition to such small revenue as it can make and the 
town subsidizes it, partly from its own budget. It is kept up partly 
by contributions from different sources. 

Mr. OsMERS. Has any thought ever been given in your community, 
or in the State of Florida, or in your county to the establishment of 
any hospitalization plan operated by private medicine such as is being 
done in the North? 

Mr. DuLANY. No, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. Where there is a per capita cost fixed. In New York, 
I think that it is 3 cents a day. 

Mr. DuLANY. No, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. Instead of imposing this great hospitalization plan 
upon the whole country, which I have so far opposed in Congress — 
it would be better to put in the hospitalization plan such as they 
are now using in some parts of the North and require the veget^able 
growers to make a contribution of 3 or 4 cents a day, while the migrants 
were there and have it on a self-supporting basis in that manner. 

Mr. Dtjlany. Well, we have tried to get such a thing started, in 
a way. We have sold to certain of the employers so many cards 
which is an admission ticket to the hospital for hospitalization and 
he in turn may or may not pass them on to his employees, we don't 
care what he does with them, if he sells them to the employees, it 
makes no difference to us, and if he sells the tickets to the employees, 
then the employees would make the contribution — we have done some 
of that, sold some of those tickets with a little success, but we have 
not established such a thing as a general policy, but probably we 

Mr. OsMERS. I would think so. 


Mr. DuLANY. The present hospital there was built by free will 
offerings; it is small and inadequate, but it was very necessary. 
When it becomes necessary, we take donations here and there to keep 
it up and going. 

At the last session of the State legislature, we created what is 
known as the Western Palm Beach County District, a special assess- 
ment district, and this district will go into operation in the first part 
of October, and naturally it is not involved yet, but at that time it is 
felt that it will distribute the cost of hospitalizatioii over the entire 
area that it serves. ; 

Mr. OsMERS. That's all I have, thank you, sir. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. 

Mr. DuLANY. Thank you very much, sir. I will see you in Florida 
some time, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. I will see you in California some time. 

(Thereupon Mr. Dulany was excused.) 


The Chairman. Dr. Weems, Congressman Osmers will question you 
and we will give you permission to offer any time today any statement 
that you want to make for the record, so don't worry about that 
part of it and it will go into the record if you will submit it at any 
time today. 

Dr. Weems. Thank you, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. You are Dr. William Weems? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. You are the countv health officer of Palm Beach 
County, Fla.? 

Dr. Weems. I am county physician, I am employed by the county 
as county physician, but we take care of the health problems, too. 


Mr. Osmers. You are the county physician and take care of the 
health problems, too? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Wliat is the population of Palm Beach County, the 
normal population, I refer to ^ 

Dr. Weems. The last census showed it to be 86,000 to 88,000; I 
forget exactly. 

Mr. Os3iers. And you are the only physician in charge of the 
public-health matters in that county ; is that correct ? 

Dr. Weems. Xo, sir; we have a citj^ physician in West Palm Beach 
that is responsible for about 30,000. 

Mr. Osmers. And that leaves about 55,000 for you to give atten- 
tion to? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 


Mr. OsMERS. As I understand it, Palm Beach County, as it has 
been developed here tlirou^h testimony, has on the coast an exceed- 
ingly prosperous and Avealthy area. 

Dr. Weems. That is correct. 

Mr. OsMEKs. And then back inland, where they have these vege- 
table-growing areas, they have some very bad living and housing and 
sanitary conditions; is that correct, Doctor? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. How long have you held your present job, Doctor? 

Dr. Weems. For 3 years, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Does that cover the entire period that they have had 
sizable quantities of migrant labor coming in there? 

Dr. Weems. No, sir ; but we know that the influx is getting progi-es- 
sively larger all the time. 

Mr. Osmers. It has increased a good deal in the 3 years of your 
incumbency ? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. How much of the health work depends upon the laws 
of the State of Plorida? I am asking you that question because I 
am not familiar with the laws of your State. Will you tell the com- 
mittee in your own words just how you go about looking after the 
public-health problem of 55,000 people with just one pair of hands? 
That is rather interesting to me. 

Dr. Weems. As I told you, I took the job 3 yeai'S ago, but it was 
only a part-time job at "that time. They appointed me full-time 
county physician later. 

Mr. Osmers. What does your official position pay you? 

Dr. Weems. It pays me $5,000 per yeai-. A^^ien I went on, I imme- 
diately established clinics in Belle Glade, Pahokee, Boca Raton, Delray 
Beach, and Rivera, which covers the county pretty w^ell, and we have 
regular clinic hours at each of those places. We were particularly 
interested then in anti-syphilitic treatment and prenatal work. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you have a staff of nurses? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; and secretaries. 

Mr. Osmers. How many other members of the county health staff 
are there? 

Dr. AVeems. Two secretaries and one nurse. We have other nurses 
in the county besides that, the school nurses, and the Red Cross, too. 
Now, this is just my individual department that I am speaking of. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you have certain allotted hours for these clinics? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. And you operate at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, we 
will say, at Delray Beach, and the people are notified to come there 
if they can't go to a private physician and obtain such treatment as 
they need? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; and every case that comes to us for a treat- 
ment is investigated. 

Mr. Osmers. By whom? 

Dr. Weems. One of my secretaries is a welfare worker. It is not 
a thorough investigation, of course, but we use our own common 


<ri)0(l judgment to decide if they are entitled to come into our clinic 
for treatment or not. 

Mr. OsMERs. In other Avords. you investigate as to tlieir means ^ 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. As to whether or not they should have private medi- 
cal attention or be entitled to receive treatment at your clinics? 


Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. We established these clinics with particular 
interest in venereal diseases and especially syphilis, and since we 
have established the clinics we have taken over 7.000 blood tests and 
we have found that about 42 percent of the colored population is 
afflicted with syphilis, and we have tried to make the treatment of 
syphilis available to everyone in Palm Beach County who wishes it. 
At the present time, with our set-up. we treat between 250 and 400 
cases a week. 

Mr. Osmers. What treatments are you giving? 

Dr. Weems. We are giving treatments accepted by the United 
States Bureau of Public Health Sei-vice. We are giving the best treat- 
ment available. 

Mr. Osmers. I presume that you are giving the arsphenamine. 

Dr. Weems We are giving the neo-arsphenamine treatment. 
Arsplienicals and bismuth is the kind of treatment that we are giving 
for syphilis. We have a clinic established at every one of these 
places that I have named, and we give the treatments there. The 
month before we left we had over 2,000 appointments in my 

I might say that during the coming year, through the cooperation 
of these different municipalities that I have just named, we hope to 
make it mandatory for every employee within the city limits of these 
municipalities to have blood tests made and to have health cards and 
to take treatment in order to work there. 

Mr. Osmers. How do you hope to make it mandatory upon the 
people to take these blood tests or treatments and have these health 
cards? Do you intend to do that by local laws in these different 
cities ? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Are you allowed under the Florida constitution to 
enact such laws? 

Dr. Weems. We thought that we would have the local laws passed 
upon that assumption. For instance, the majority of these people 
that will come under those regulations are handling food, packing 
beans, or gathering beans, and some of them are picking beans, and 
they can be considered as food handlers, I think. In doing this we 
expect to increase our clinic next year to 1,500 or 2,000. 

Mr. Osmers. And to do that you would have to have a much larger 
department, would you not? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Doctor, there are a couple of matters that I would 
like very much to inquire into. You say that you have given seven 
thousand blood tests? 


Dr. Weems. Yes, sir ; that is correct. 

Mr. OsMERS. I presume that those were the Wasserniann or the 
Kahn blood tests; is that correct? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. Now, Doctor, of these 7,000 people that you gave a 
blood test, did you have to seek them out or did they come to you 
voluntarily ? 

Dr. Weems. They came to me. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do 'you mean that they came to you for a blood test 
of their own free will? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; with a few exceptions, when the employer 
insisted that they come to us. One or two of the packing houses 
insist that all of their employees come for blood tests. 

Mr, OsMERS. Does that mean that it is a prerequisite for employ- 
ment at those places ? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; but the majority of the cases, they came to 
me for their blood tests on their own, of their own free will. 

Mr. OsMERS. If you start treating a patient in Palm Beach County 
and the patient fails to return to continue the treatment which is, 
of course, so necessary, vrhat powers do you have to bring that party 
back or remove him from society until he is cured up? 

Dr. Weems. None whatsoever unless they are employed and we have 
the cooperation of the employer. That is all the power that we have. 

Mr. OsMERS. Now, in the section of the county over which you 
have control, there are approximately 55,000 in the normal popula- 
tion; that would be on a census basis, would it not? 

Dr. Weems. That was taken from the United States census of this 

Mr. OsMERS. And that wouldn't include quite a number of mi- 
grants who come into your county during certain seasons of the 

Dr. Weems. No. sir; it would not. 

Mr. Osmers. How many migrants come into Palm Beach County, 
Fla., during the season? 

Dr. Weems. I would say not to exceed 20,000 during the season. 

Mr. Osmers. So that would be about a 40 percent increase in the 
population; is that your best estimate? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. To give you a better estimate, last year we 
had a freeze in the spring and over 5,000 families were helped there 
in that area and so we would consider that there were at least 20,000 
migrants there at that time. 

Mr. Osmers. Now, Doctor, without reflecting in any way upon j^our 
work — I think that you are doing a colossal job, an inhuman job so 
far as that goes — but it is my observation, and wouldn't it be your 
observation that the county health facilities are woefully inadequate? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir, I think that they are inadequate. I don't 
think that they are as inadequate as they were. We have hoped, and 
we have a definite idea to improve them. We had a problem there 
that I don't think it is quite so distressing in any place in the coun- 
try as there, because of the congested conditions in which they live. 


I have seen as many as 10 people in one room, sleeping in one room 
not over 8 by 1'2, and they sleep there in that little room with only 
two windows. I think as a matter of fact that we have been very 
fortunate indeed in the past, considering these tmuble conditions, that 
we have not had more sickness than we have. 

Mr. OsMERS. I should think so too. • . i vi 

Dr. Weems. The health situation is very closely associated with 
the economic situation and with the housing situation. 

Mr. OsMERS. Wliat is the financial condition ot Palm Beach 
County as a governmental unit? Is it sound? 

Dr Weems. Well, yes. we would say it was the average. 
Mr. OsMERS. They are meeting their obligations? 
Dr Weems. Yes, sir. but the problems we have are these migrants 
that are not residents of Palm Beach County and by local law they 
are not eligible for relief or assistance from Palm Beach County. 
However, we never refuse medical assistance to the migrants, although 
from a financial standpoint they are not eligible for relief . 

:^Ir. OsMERs. \Vliat is the total appropriation m Palm Beach Coun- 
ty for public health? 

Dr. Weems. For public health? 

^Ir. OsMERS. Including your salary and the expenses ot your stall 
and vour operations, the operation of your clinics and so on 

Dr. Weems. I would have to take that under a separate item, i 
would say— well, I would say roughly $50,000. 

Mr OsMERS. You would say $50,000, or maybe a little more i 
Dr Weems. They pay out of that $30,000 for hospitalization for 
the indigent, and ^20,000 wouldn't take care of my salary and my 
office force and the medicines that we use. -it u ^ 

Mr Osmers. For the purpose that we had m mmd, I would not 
consider the $30,000 that you say is spent for hospitalization of the 
indio-ent; the $20,000 is what I would consider— that is principally 
for your eif orts and for your salary and for the salary of your assist- 
ants' and your traveling expenses, medicine, and so on? 
Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. • t^ i t3 i 

Mr. Osmers. It seems to me that the problems m Palm Beach 
County will get worse rather than better. Do you believe that there 
should be established in that county a regular county health depart- 
ment on a much wider basis than a county physician's office? 


Dr. Weems. Well, we have discussed that a great deal in the past 
year, and I have not recommended one. 

Mr. Osmers. What have your recommendations been? We are in- 
terested in what these counties are doing for these migrants when 

they get there. i ., i i^i 

Dr Weems. I have made a study of the several other health units 
in the State of Florida. For instance, I have more clmics m my 
county than in any other State health unit m the State of Florida, 
and 3 months ago, from one of their workers. I learned that I was 
seeing more syphilitic cases than any other health unit m the State. 


I think that our main problem is to ^ve the medical treatments, to 
give the clinical assistance rather than the investigation. If we are 
faced with 20,000 migrants, it is impossible to investigate them and 
give them the necessary treatment and it would depend on the inves- 
tigations to a great extent. I know that with Negroes, due to their 
promiscuous nature, it is impossible to investigate each and every case 
that comes to us to determine the source of the disease and such things 
as that. We are assuming the responsibility of these migrants, and 
it is important to us to see that they get the blest health conditions pos- 
sible, and I would like to suggest after a study that I think it should 
be made mandatory for every one of them to have health cards and to 
take treatments, and make it mandatoiT to the extent that not only the 
employees but the employer be held responsible for these patients to 
take the remaining treatments as they should. 

We know from our experience that 10 percent of all heart diseases 
and 10 percent of all insanity comes from syphilis or is traceable to 
sypliilis and we know that with the spread of the disease as it is 
today, unless some emergency means are taken, that every institution. 
Federal, State, or county, or municipal, whichever it might be, will 
be filled with these complications of syphilis. 


Mr. OsMERS. Don't you think that a great many other deaths and 
illnesses are attributed to syphilis or might be attributed to syphilis 
or really should be attributed to syphilis that are not so named or 
classified ? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. I think that syphilis is the most, important 
contagious disease that we have to contend with today and we 
have fewer laws as to its control today than most any of the other 
diseases that we are confronted with." We can quarantine scarlet 
fever and typhoid fever and smallpox and put the patients in jail if 
they break the quarantine, in order to control the disease. 

Mr. OsMERS. I was instrumental when I was in the legislature in 
the State of Xew Jersey in putting the premarital health law and 
the prenatal health regulations and the premarital svphilitic law 
on the books of the State of New Jersey, and I would suggest 
that if the State of Florida does not have those three laws on their 
statute books that they should waste no further time in getting them 
enacted into laws, and in seeing that the laws are enforced. 

Dr. Weems. I heartily agree with von and I think that they should 
have those laws, but they don't have them. 

Mr. OsMERs. We have a migrant law in the State of New Jersey 
and our State department of health last year took it upon itself to 
blood test every migrant worker in New Jersey and we found, amaz- 
ingly enough, about the same percentage of syphilis that vou found 
in your investigations in Palm Beach County. 

Dr. Weems. I had at least a hundred cases referred to me from the 
New Jersey department during the past year, and I referred them 
back to the New Jersey authorities when these migrants left here. 
I gave them a slip showing the treatments that they had received 


here and I returned a slip of the same kind to the New Jersey au- 
thorities showinfr the treatments that I liad given them. 

Mr. OsMERs. Do you find much resistance on the part of the mi- 
grants to blood tests or to treatments? 

Dr. Weems. No, sir. The most disap])ointed people that I had to 
contend with are the ones that do not have syphilis, but they want to 
take the shots anyway. They are very nnich disappointed because 
they can't take the shots too. 

Mr. OsMERS. I M'onder if you would give your idea to the commit- 
tee as to the possible assistance that the Federal Government can be 
to localities like yours in the handling of the health problem for the 
migrants ( 

Dr. Weems. I would like to. In considering the health of a mi- 
grant, or of any individual, we have to consider three factors — the 
economic factor, the housing factor, and the health factor. The eco- 
nomic factor is the most imi)ortant to the migrant himself and to 
the em])loyer. It is necessary for him to make a livelihood; that is 
of prime importance ; and to give health assistance we must give our 
treatments in such a way that it will not interfere with his earning 
a living. We have to find such a time, even at night if necessary, 
or early in the morning, to give that health assistance so it won't 
interfere with the patient making a living for himself and family. 
Now, we must have the wholehearted cooperation of the employer in 
order to do that. I recommend that it might be made mandatory 
on the employer, if possible, or as near that as we can, for all migrants 
to be blood tested and where necessary for them to take the required 
treatments. I really think that they should pay a small fee; that the 
patient himself should pay a small fee of, say, 25 cents for the medi- 
cine in order to make him helj) in the carrying out of this idea of 
ours. I don't believe in pauperizing anyone that does not need pau- 
perizing. I think that there should be some Federal control or be 
under some Federal control. We have tried to work it out under 
local authority, but you can stretch these things around so that I 
believe if we had a Federal man there to enforce such regulations that 
it would be much better; that is, some man to enforce it that had no 
local connection whatsoever. 

Mr. Osmeks. I do want to bring this point out, to the committee, 
and get some information from you about it. You said that the State 
authority had no mandatory treatment laws. You start the treat- 
ment of a migrant worker and then the season ends and he goes away 
to Georgia and then to the Carolinas and then to Virginia, we will 
say — do you make any effort, or does the State of Florida make any 
effort, to follow that man along to see if he keeps up his treatments? 
You mentioned tliat you had received some reports of treatments from 
the State Health Department of New Jersey. 

Dr. Weeims. The State of Florida does not follow that up in that 
manner. I make a report of every case of syphilis that I treat to 
the State, and I make a note out showing the treatments that the 
man has had under my care, and I give it to each patient. Many 
of our patients come in from year to year for their treatments. A 
lot of them don't take any treatments at all during the time that 


they are gone, but they take them from me during the particular 
season that they are located in our area. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you think that the Federal Government should 
register these migrants, or these migrant citizens, in some way so as 
to keep some record of their travel in the course of their business so 
that they may be treated as they go along and thereby have a tend- 
ency to prevent the spread of this horrible disease through the various 
States and communities that they visit? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; I do think that some kind of an arrange- 
ment of that sort could be properly worked out to where it would 
be very beneficial. We know that with treatments for 3 weeks that 
we can make an individual noninfectious, and even though he only 
takes from 3 to 6 treatments we have made him noninfectious for a 
long period of time, and we feel that we do three things in treating 
these people. The first is we make them noninfectious, and we give 
them an opportunity of being cured, and we protect them against 
complications. I really feel that we can treat 100 or even 200 cases 
much cheaper than we can institutionalize 1 of these individuals 
who may suffer complications in the later stages of the disease that 
will keep him there during the remainder of his life. Last year I 
had a number of deaths from complications of syphilis, such as heart 
disease, insanity, and so forth, and it is a horrible death, and when 
a patient comes to you in advanced stages like that there is nothing in 
the world that you can do for him when it progresses to that stage. 
They come to you because of heart trouble, and there is nothing that 
yon can do for them but to keep them just as comfortable as you can 
when you find that they are in that condition, and every injection 
of treatment that I give I feel that I have prevented that one person 
from suffering the agonies of hell during the later years of his life, 

Mr, OsMERS. I think, Doctor, that you are doing a colossal job and 
doing it very well under a great handicap, and I wish to thank you 
very much for coming here and giving ns the benefit of your knowl- 
edge and experience. We commend you very highly. 

Dr. Weems. May I say something further? 

Mr. OsMERS. Sure, 


Dr. Weems. There is another problem that we are confronted with, 
and that is the housing problem down here, 

Mr. OsMERS. We have spent considerable time on that subject and 
have taken a considerable amount of testimony relative thereto. 

Dr. Weems. I would like to mention the fact that the housing 
problem that has been established here has done a wonderful thing 
for this area. By the way, I have another clinic at the migratory 
camp where they make it compulsory for the people living in this 
camp to take the treatments, but other than that, at a number of 
these rental camps here, they charge these migrant workers as much 
as $4 per week for a shed of one room with no facilities and with a 
rather limited water supply, if any, and such conditions as that. We 
should have some way of protecting the migrants from having to 


pay such exorbitant rental prices as they are sometimes compelled 
to pay in this area. . . 

Some of these people advertise about the wonderful opportunities 
that are existing in Florida, and these migrant laborers are influenced 
sometimes by such advertising to come here, and as a result, conse- 
quentlv you have a surplus of labor, and these people who need their 
work done can get their work done at a minimum cost, and it is my 
opinion tliat we need some protection for these migrants as to the 
amount of money that he has to pay for rent of these shacks, and we 
need some information to be sent out over the country as to what 
the migrant might expect in the way of living conditions if he comes to 
this area. 

Mr. OsMERS. You say "they advertise' — who advertises? 

Dr. Weems. I mean that some of the farmers advertise for the 
need of the labor and what conditions are and so forth. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you mean that some of the farmers advertise? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. We had a case that came to our office from 
Canada, a migrant from Canada who had come down here to work, 
and he had spent all of his resources coming to Florida ; he had 
read about the wonderful resources and opportunities in the Ever- 
glades section, and he came down to the Everglades to obtain work, 
and he had spent all of his money, and was in destitute circumstances. 
I think there should be come system set up whereby information 
could be furnished for these migrant people so they would not be 
misled into coming into certain areas and expecting employment. 
Another thing, I think that there should be some arrangements made 
where these migrant workers would not have to pay excessive rent 
or expenses. If you are going to work a man all week long and 
then take his money away from him that he has earned by charging 
him excessive rent and excessive prices for his groceries and so forth, 
he will be just as much a pauper at the end of the week after he has 
worked, and he will not have accomplisiied anything. I think that 
it is a very serious problem, and I think that some great effort should 
be used to try to bring it down to a standard to try to protect these 
migrant people. If I were to go to Bermuda and they charged me 
$20 per day for a room, I would have to pay it, because there would 
be no other place for me to secure accommodations, and so it is with 
the migrants that come here, they have to pay the charges that are 
demanded of them for these shacks. 

]Mr. Osmers. Doesn't the Florida State Government exert any con- 
trol at all over that situation ? 

Dr. Weems, I have tried to get some authority myself or tried to 
get something for some person from Palm Beach County, but I have 
been unable to accomplish anything along that line. The only group 
in Florida that has that authority is the Florida State Board of 
Health. I will cite you an example — about 2 years ago I saw 21 
sick children with acute dysentery in a camp under very unsanitai-y 
conditions and I recommended to the State Board of Health that 
they should close the place, and they have not closed it to this clay. 
It is still open, and consequently, while I have all the respect in the 
world for tlie State Board of Health, I feel such emergencies can 


therefore be handled best throiifrh local interests, people who are 
vitally interested in their homes. 

Mr. OsMERS. It is primarily a local problem and we all admit that. 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. But unless you have an alert State Board of Health 
the local people will not move because they think it is to their eco- 
nomic disadvantage to rip down the shacks and replace them with 
decent quarters, but I think that it has been well demonstrated that 
good housing conditions make for better workers and that they pay 
for themselves very quickly. Do you agree with that? 

Dr. Weems. Yes, sir; and I think that the condition of the people 
in the migratory camps has improved a great deal of late. 

It is my belief that some coordination of the needs of labor and 
the needs of the farmers, such as tKe Farm Placement Bureau, should 
be established to make a study of and to assist both the grower and 
the laborer, thereby giving a true picture to those who might want to 
come into Florida to work, that they might know what to expect in 
the way of employment. 

Mr. Osmers. That's all. We thank you very much. Doctor. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much. Doctor, and you may insert 
any other statement that you desire to make into the record at any 
time today. 

(Thereupon, Dr. Weems was excused.) 

(The following statement was later submitted by the witness and 
accepted for the record :) 

Statement by Wm. H. Weems, M. D., County Physician for Palm Beach 

County, Fi>a. 

During the past few years, as county physician of Palm Beach County, Fla., 
I have had the opportunity of seeing and becoming familiar with the conditions 
among the migratory people of the Everglades area of this county, which are 
becoming worse as time goes on. 

I feel these conditions are contributed to by three different causes, which I 
would like to set out under three different headings, and present my idea of a 
solution as a means of obtaining an ultimate improvement. 

First cause. — Economical problem. — Five or ten years ago, due to the great 
need of fisld workers and to the competition between the farmers, it was pos- 
sible for the laborers to be paid as high as 40 cents an hour for their labor and 
as much as 30 or 40 cents a hamper for picking beans. In order to overcome 
this wage being paid, the farmers have advertised in many northern new.s- 
papers as to the wonderful oppoi-tunity offered in the Everglades section and 
have consequently encouraged more and more migration to this section. 

At this time, and even in the height of the harvesting season, we have a 
surplus of labor, and consequently the farmers are paying a much lower rate 
of wages to these workers than offered before, a wage that is practically im- 
possible to live on even if the employment was steady, which it is not in this 
Everglades section. These farmers refuse to assume any responsibility of these 
workers, and at the end of the season the workers are left stranded without any 
financial income whatsoever or any means of transportation to othei- harvest 

I feel that until some law or Federal act is enacted, forcing the employer to 
assume some of the responsibility as to the care of these migrants, and their 
transportation, we will be cc»nfronted with the same problem all the time. By 
this, I mean some form of tax similar to social security or head tax while they 
are employed. 


As you probably know, it is practically impossible to get local cooperation 
for such a problem unless laws are passed to cover these problems. 

Through the sunuuer of 1941), it is estimated we have some 2,00<J more migrants 
staying in the Everglade section than we had last year, and on account of this 
some of the farmers at Belle Gla<le have consented to take up a voluntary 
collection amongst themselves to alleviate acute emergencies. 

I would like to submit the following figures indicating the emergency we 
are confronted with at tliis time: 

The State welfare board had approximately 1,000 requests in the Belle Glade 
area alone for surplus commodities, but only 500 were certified during the 
month of July, and at least 70 percent of these were colored agricultural 

There were no W. P. A. projects in the Glades area at this time. 
Forty-six i>eople during the month of July in the Pahokee area alone received 
unemployment compensation ; 198 people put in application for work ; this only 
includes skilled and clerical workers. 

Eighty-eight people received employment compensation in the Belle Glade 
area, which is among the clerical and skilled-laborers, applications from 254 
were received for jobs. 

In addition to this, the freeze added to hardship, and on account of this 
5,680 grants were given by the Farm Security Board after the freeze; this 
included 12,677 people, grants averaged $14.20, amounting to an approximate 
total of $156,000. 

l<eco)id cauKC — HouKino problem. — The migrant camps in the Everglade section 
have helped the situation tremendously ; however, as you know, it only cares 
for a small percent of the migratory element. I liave inspected the migrant 
camps, and I find the morale, the standard of life, and the health of the people 
residing therein have improved greatly, and I think it is a very important factor 
to consider in discussing these problems. 

I submit lierewith some pictures showing the conditions among some of the 
less fortunate as to their mode ()f living. There is no scale whatsoever for 
these rooms, which are inadequate, and in most instances the rent is exorbitant. 
I know of one man in this neighborhood who collects $2,000 per month for such 
substandard quarters that should not be allowed to exist. 

My solution to such a problem would be: First, have all such quarters come 
up to minimum requirements of the United States Board of Healtli. To have 
a definite limit to the number that could live in a unit. There have been cases 
where as many as 10 people have been herded and lived in a room 12 by 14 
with only two windows and have paid $4 a week rent. I would like to suggest 
that a definite scale be set as to rental on these camps to protect the migrant 
from such exorbitant rent. 

I know of one quai-ters in the Glade section that kept its water supply locked 
up except for 2 hours a day. I know of another where water was sold at a 
penny a bucket. We have no control at all over such conditions under the 
present law. The only organization that has such authority is the State board 
of health, who at all times has been hesitant to use such drastic measures. 

It seems to me that if we had proper laws and Federal supervisors above 
local political control that we could increase the standard of living and relieve 
ourselves of the housing problem and in so doing relieve the Government of 
the migration we are now confronted with. 

Third — To the r/eneral health. — This should be divided into three parts: 
First, emergency treatments, as injuries during fights and while working; care 
for surgical cases requiring immediate operations. These cases always become 
a local problem and be cared for through such provisions as they can 

Second, conditions due to the low standards of living, such as congested 
quarter.s, improper dieting, and poor ventilation. T would like to say here 
that I know of cases where as many as 8 or 10 people have lived in 1 small 
room with 2 small windows to serve as ventilation. We can naturally expect 
this to affect the general health to a great extent. At the present time the 
only solution I find is either by the establishments of migratory camps or 
else similar camps owned by the employers. 

Third, I find the most important cause is due to the control of contagion.s 
diseases. During the past 6 months we have established a tuberculosis clinic 


at Everglades Hospital at Pahokee. We are making everv effort possible in 
educating the people for necessary examinations. As to other contagious dis- 
eases, we have been very fortunate in not having epidemics, such as tvphoid 
dysentery, pneumonia, and I feel that under the present condition we 'are at 
all times in great danger of such an epidemic. I would like at this time to 
say that in 1938 I served 1 camp and saw 21 babies with an acute dytsentery 
Through proper medical nursing it was possible to control this epidemic with- 
out any casualties or any further similar epidemics. 

As to the problem of venereal diseases, I have been particulaiiy interest-^d 
in this problem since I was appointed county physician 3 years ago and have 
made every effort possible to educate the people and give "treatment to every- 
one within Palm Beach County who so desires, regardless of their financial 
status or as to whether they were local residents or immigrants. In doin«- this 
we have established clinics in six localities within the county, West Palm 
Beach, Belle Glade, Pahokee, Del Ray Beach, Boca Raton, and'Riveria Our 
primary aim in these clinics was to treat venereal diseases and to give pre- 
natal care to all expectant mothers. Since establishing these clinics 3 years 
ago we have taken over 7,000 blood tests, finding 42 percent of the colored 
population tested to have syphilis. With these figures I estimate that we have 
over 10,000 cases of syphilis in Palm Beach Countv alone today I treat 
between 250 and 400 cases each week in my clinics throughout the county and 
through the cooperation of the different local governments we expect to' treat 
as high as 1.000 to 1,500 cases each week next season. I would like at this 
time to quote some figures from the United States Public Health Servi'^e 
During the year 1939 there were over half a million new cases of syphilis 
reported. There were over half a million old cases of svphilis reported for the 
first time. When we consider that this constitutes onlv a very small perceutaoa 
of the amount of syphilis in the United States todav, I feel that unless some 
mandatory law is passed, especially for these migrant people, requirino- them 
to have blood tests, health cards, and take treatment, that it will be impossible 
for the United States Board of Health, in cooperation with the medical profes- 
sion, to ever expect improvements in these conditions. We have laws to protect 
our people against food handling from syphilis, so whv can't we pass laws to 
protect the migrants against such a disease? After all. if we are to assume 
the responsibility of these migrants, as we must do, it is to our particular 
advantage to keep them in the best of health possible. We know from past- 
records that approximately 10 percent of all blindness, ineurable heart disease^ 
and insanity come, as a complication of syphilis, and with svphilis .spreadiig 
as It IS today among the lower class of people. I believe iinless something 
drastic is done in the very near future, thar institutions in every State in ihe 
United States will be filled with inmates from complications of t'his disease ' 

I feel that if such a law could be passed making this treatment mandatory 
and holding both the employer and the employee responsible for this treatment' 
the urogram could be carried on much more successfully. Since the majority 
of these people are gardening and packing and grading vegetables, it would 
give a definite protection to the public who purchase these vegetables I 
believe, though, that these employees who are required to take treatment for 
syphilis should pay a minimum sum to cover the price of the medicine In 
many experiences with this class of people it is my opinion that charitv becomes 
a disease if it is forced upon the individual. I also believe that in the long 
run he will appreciate the chance of paying his part toward this treatment 
THie towns in Palm Beach County are willing to pass such ordinances as to 
require all workers within their limits to have health cards and these treat- 
ments in the future, which will easily increase our clinics from 300 to 1 500 
rhe important question now is the expense of such a large program allowin- 
^3 per person per year. With clinics of 1,500 to 2,000. the expense of medicines 
above equipment would cost approximately $4,500 to $6,000 for that vear It is mv 
belief that the United States Board of Health should this medicine to anv 
institution within the boundary of the United States that is willing to <^ive it's 
services for such a cause. & ,- c n.-, 

f^rJlv^c ™^*^*fals''rvices rendered have been furnished by Palm Be.nch Pountv alone The 
farmers have had none of the responsibility along this line. 


The question that has come up many times in Palm Beach County is as to 
why we have not established a State health unit there. After making a study 
of health units in the State of Florida and in other States, I hesitate to make 
stich a reconnnendation for many reasons : 

First, there would be a tendency for this responsibility to be transferred from 
local organizations to a State organization, and I feel that if such a problem 
is to be overcome, it has to be through the cooperation of all local authorities. 

Second, a skeleton health unit would cost the taxpayers of Palm Beach County 
$15,000 i)er year. In comparison a health unit large enough to treat 2,000 
of syphilis would cost the county $40,000 to $50,000 per year. We differ in our 
opinion as to investigation of cases. 

I have lived among the Negroes of the South all of my life, and it is my belief 
that it will be impossible to give a thorough investigation of any case because 
of their way of living and of their hesitation to tell the truth to 
strangers, and I feel that the approach of making this treatment mandatory 
and then having clinics to take care of the increasing number would be much 
more sensible and practical. By this, I mean in giving more actual treatment 
and doing less investigation. 

I would like at this time to say that I have more clinics in Palm Beach 
County than any physician within the State of Florida. Three months ago I was 
treating more syphilis than any county health officer, according to one of their 

Another problem that we are faced with iji our venereal-disease clinic is the 
economic factor. We can gladly get the cooperation of the employer for such 
clinic work if we are willing to do this clinic work at a time when it will not 
interfere with the individual's work, but on the other band if we can only give 
such treatment from 9 to 5 or any regular hours it would be impossible to 
expect this cooi^eration. It has been my intention during the next season to have 
these clinics at night or early morning, at the most satisfactory time for the 
employer and the employee. With this attitude I had hoped to get the coopera- 
tion of many large farmers in the area to the effect that they would insist 
on all of their employees having a health card. 

In closing I wotild like to leave this thought: 

First, that you consider the emergency and the danger of such a disease and 
the rapidity in which it has spread, and consider the enactment of some law 
to make the treatment of this disease mandatory. In some cities of the United 
States, particularly in Los Angeles, any individual having venereal disease is 
forced to take treatment at one of the county clinics. If he refuses he either 
has to leave town or is punished by the law. 

Second, that you would consider some means of Federal control of the housing 
conditions among the migrants, which will protect them against exorbitant 
prices and to insure their good health. Most of these conditions we see and 
work with could be greatly improved by higher standards of living, higher in- 
come, and better housing facilities. 

The Chairman. We will adjourn now until 2 o'clock this after- 

(Whereupon, at 12:30 p. m., a recess was taken until 2 p. m.) 


(The committee reconvened at 2 p. m.) 

The Chairman. The committee will come to order. 


The Chairman. Will you give your full name, please? 
Mr. Dunn. Eead Dunii, Jr. 

The Chairman. Whom do you represent, Mr. Dunn? 
Mr. Dunn. I repre.sent the Delta Council. 

260.370 — 40 — pt. 2 14 


The Chairman. Where is the Delta Council located? 

Mr. Dunn. The Delta Council has its headquarters at Stoneville, 

The Chairman. And I understand that Mr. Howard Stovall, 
representing the Delta Council, could not appear ? 

Mr. Dunn. That is correct. 

The Chairman. And you are taking his place? 

Mr. Dunn. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Are you going to present a written statement? 

Mr. Dunn. I have a written statement, Mr. Chairman, and I will 
do as you suggest about presenting it. 

The Chairman. We have so many witnesses scheduled for this 
afternoon and in view of the fact that we must conclude here tomor- 
row, the chairman will permit you to introduce your full statement 
in the record, and you know the problem that we are investigating, 
and if you will do that, I think that will be the better way. 

Mr. Dunn. All right, sir. 

The Chairman. And then you may proceed in your own way to 
make such additional statement as you desire. 

Mr. Dunn. All right. 

The Chairman. And at this point you may have your statement in- 
cluded in the record. 

(Statement was submitted and api)ears below. A statement by 
Howard Stovall, submitted by Mr. Dunn, appears on p. 606.) 

Progilvm to Rett-ieve a Sftuation Created by Excess Farm PopcXu\tion 

(Statement by Read Dunn, Jr., secretary-manager, Delta Council, 
Stoneville, Miss.) 

Matters of farm-labor migration and indigency are not innnediate in-oblems 
for the Mississippi alluvial area as foregoing facts and resulting opinion tend 
to prove. However, the question exceeds the bounds of the section repre- 
sented by the Delta Council, and the burdensome influence of excess population 
on agriculture in general must be recognized. 

During the years of suppressed commodity prices farmers have encountered 
great diflSculty in cutting cost of pr(Kluction to point where their products can 
sell, and at the same time maintain any accepted standard of living. Any 
extra burden of sustaining an additional population will depress further living 
standards for all farm people and impair to a great extent the efficiency of the 
system under which agricultural enterprise must operate. 

With labor demands constantly changing in every field, it is impossible, further- 
more, to adequately fit certain populations into particular fields of endeavor. To 
do so will ultimately create a static economy. 

As a natural result of the increase in oiitput per unit of labor in agi'iculture 
and industry, there has been a proiwrtionate in capacity to employ. 
However acute the problem may be, the answer cannot be found in turning back 
the wheels of progress in agriculture any more than in industry. Rather it 
seems we should observe more closely trend of employment and encourage the 
development of employment opportunities where production and consumptioii 
will be increased and progress and efiiciency will not be hampered. 

Census estimates by persons gainfully employed in various occupations in 
the United States over the past several decades show tendency of agriculture to 
employ a smaller and smaller percentage of the country's population, while 
industry increased employment to a saturation point and is now leveling off. 

For example, 70 years ago the surplus production of nine ijersons on farms 
was required to feed one person in urban centers. Today that ratio has changed 


To that of one to three. In 1870. 54 percent of gainfully employed persons in 
the United States above 16 years of age were engageti in agriculture, mining, 
and fishing. But this figure has declined to the extent that today only 24 per- 
<-ent of the gainfullv employed register in this field. Manufacturing and process- 
ing industries employed 22 percent of labor in 1870, 28.6 percent in 1910, 304 
percent in 1920. and 28.6 percent in 1930. Indications point to a further decrease 
in the last 10-year period. 

The growing field of services has been one, however, which has absorbed 
large numbers of the employed population in the past few years. Included in 
this category are transportation and communication, merchandising, retailing, 
and distributing; joersonal domestic and clerical help and various professions. 
Percentage of employed in this group has shown a gain from 23.7 percent in 
1870 to 48 percent this year. 

This trend has been observefl in histories of all nations of the Western World. 
As the state matured and achieved higher standards of living for its i^eople. 
services enjoyed by the people generally increased. Contra, we find India, 
China, and some of the more backward countries where the percentage of 
population employed in agricultural pursuits has remained static for hundreds 
of years. 

If we hold that our goal is total production in agriculture and industry it 
is necessary that thought be given to problem of increasing consuming capacity 
of those with whom we would exchange. It is evident that we cannot accom- 
plish this end by increasing the number engaged in agriculture or industry 
unless the combined index of production and price is increased. To distribute 
the same production among a greater number is to retrogress. 

If on the other hand there is an increase in the luxuries group, consuming 
capacity will increase proportionately. Such a system is dynamic, the more 
luxuries we use the greater the effective consumption capitcity, and the greater 
the effective production. There is no limit to luxuries desired by man. 

As example of effectiveness of expansion in this third group of services, we 
can cite the tourist business in the United States which has grown from noth- 
ing only a few decades ago to a $6,000,000,000 industry in 1939, the third 
largest "in the United States, employing hundreds of thousands of people. 
Certainly this field has not been exploited to its maximum. The movie industry 
is another good example. There are others that increase the enjoyment of 
leisure, and give recreational and cultural opportunities. 

Should it be necessary in the temiwrary adjustment to reemploy in agri- 
culture a portion of those now unemployed, then it is recommended that con- 
sideration he given to those programs which best develop the potentialities of 
the individual. Assistance to the farmer should be self-liquidating, and obli- 
gations should extend only for such periods as will not bind him to the land for 
life and prevent his moving to more remunerative occupation should the 
opportunity arise. It is important that the espirit de corp of the agricultural 
group and the elasticity of the system be preserved. 

To assure maximum efiiciency and greatest productivity, any progi-am should 
be supervised and directed by competent technicians. As luiit of a program 
the family size farm should be encouraged cautiously. Commercial units of 
this size are proving less economic and less productive in the technological 
process. A question also can be raised as to the need for additional agricultural 
I)roduction. and the idea of self-sufiiciency is false with little if any of the 
produce consumed on the farm. 

As further protection against hiring labor from region for illicit purjwses. 
Federal regulations controlling bidding and advertising for agricultural labor 
should be established. Reputable agencies and organizations to facilitate place- 
ment of additional labor at peak planting and harvesting seasons will assist 
in solving the immediate problem. 


Mr. Dunn. In response to the request of your chief field investi- 
gator. Mr. Georo;e Wolf, for the Delta Cotmcil to make some state- 
ment upon the labor supply and labor demand in the Mississippi 


area, we have made a survey to reveal something of the present sup- 
ply of labor and the demand for that labor and have gone as far as 
we could in predicting what might be the future requirements and 
the future demands for labor in this cotton-raising section. 

As you know, the Mississippi Delta is a highly specialized com- 
mercial farming area in which cotton is the principal commercial 
crop supplying about 85 percent of the income for the entire area, 
and that the land in the Delta is operated, of course, largelv under 
the tenant system, 85 percent under the tenant system, and the ten- 
ants are about 90 percent Negroes. As a result 'of these conditions 
the area is one of the most highly specialized commercial farming 
areas in the country with a very high percentage of Negroes and a 
high percentage of tenants, and the area is greatly dependent upon 


We find upon surveying the plantation tenants that today the farm 
population in the Mississippi Delta is just about the same as it was 
10 years ago. We have gathered these figures from the fifteenth 
United States census and also from the preliminary reports of the 
1940 census. We find, however, that the labor requirements in 
this area have been reduced on a per-acre basis by three factors: 
First, mechanization; second, the shift of acreage from cotton to 
other crops; and third, yields. For illustration, we have compared 
the influence of these various factors, and we find this, to show the 
influence of mechanization, that if we held the yields constant and 
the acreage constant during a 10-year period we Mould have a de- 
crease in the labor requirements as a result of those figures of about 
4 percent of the total labor required in 1930, whereas if we had held 
mechanization factor and yield constant the reduction in the labor 
required as a result of changes in acreage by a reduction in working- 
time would be something like 30 percent, so this is by far the most 
important factor which has influenced the working i-equirements and 
labor requirements. This has largely been offset by increasing the 
yields. Today the area plants 60 percent of the cotton that it for- 
merly planted, but the yield per acre has increased from the 4-year 
average from 1929 to 1932 amounting to 215 pounds to an average 
yield of 412 pounds per acre over the 4-year period 1935 to 1939. 
This increase in yields has taken more labor per acre, because more 
labor has been required to harvest it. 

The Chairman. What is the Delta Council? 

Mr. Dunn. The Delta Council is a federation of the 18 counties in 
the Mississippi Delta. We think of it in terms of a regional devel- 
opment boarcl, studying those problems of flood control and agricul- 
ture and other general and economic problems that confront the peo- 
ple of the Delta area. It is largely supported by public taxes in the 
18 counties. 

The Chairman. Thank you. Because of the density of the popu- 
lation, the Mississippi Delta is looked upon by many as one of the 


prime potential sources of migration. Do you agree with these 

Mr. Dunn. No, Congressman; we do not. The Delta, we know, 
does have a population greater than any other agricultural area of 
its size, but at the same time the cultivation is more intensive in this 
area than it is in any other area. The production per square mile is 
greater than it is elsewhere. The average yields and the greater 
amount of labor required for the production of the cotton requires 
the denser population per acre or per square mile, and we feel that 
this population will be required in the future if our cotton acreage 
is to remain as it is now. 


The Chairman. What will the mechanical cotton picker do to you 
on that point? 

Mr. Dunn. There is no mechanical cotton picker on the market 
and I think that the speaker who will follow me from the experiment 
station at Stoneville has some figures that show some interesting facts 
about the cotton picker. We feel that its influence upon labor will 
be very little in oiu" section. 

The Chairman. Cotton has resisted mechanization longer than any 
other major crop. What, in your opinion, is the reason for that? 

Mr. Dunn. I believe that Mr. McNamara can answer that question 
for you better than I can. 

The Chairman. All right. What is the average income of the 
average sharecropper family? How does it compare with that of 
the wage hand family ? How does it compare with the income of the 
share cropper, say. 5 years ago? 

Mr. Dunn. That question is a hard one to answer and the aver- 
age annual income is very difficult to ascertain. I have some figures 
here on one of the large plantations that we regard as typical. 

The* Chairman. If you have those, insert them in the record. 

Mr. Dunn. All right. The average income per farm family on 
this plantation, according to these surveys, which in our opinion 
are quite authentic, is about $495. That is an average per year for 
7 years. 

The Chairman. The Delta employs a great number of cotton pick- 
ers from outside its boundaries. How many are white ? How many 
are Mexican? What provisions are made for housing? How are 
they recruited ? 

Mr. Dunn. As far as I know, no survey has been made to show 
what percentage of these people are white and black and Mexican, but 
I would say that 10 percent are Mexican and that at least 80 percent 
are colored. 

The Chairman. What are your housing conditions? 


Mr. Dunn. There are very few of these extra pickers used in the 
Mississippi Delta over a long period. In the peak years more are re- 
quired. We never know when those peak years are going to come. In 


1937 we increased our cotton production about 40 percent, which 
required additional labor during the latter part of the season. 

The Chairman. Where do you recruit the workers from, what 

Mr. Dunn. Thei-e is not much recruiting done. It is more an as- 
tablished system where laborers from cotton fields and vegetable 
areas in southern and eastern Mississippi, after laying by their own 
crops which mature several weeks earlier than ours, usually come 
each year to assist in the picking of the cotton during the season. 
In regard to the recruiting, we have enlisted the facilities and 
assistance of the Mississippi Employment Service as the agency for 
locating available labor and in assistance with the transportation of 
and placement of that labor. 

The Chairman. Do they send you more of that labor than you 

Mr. Dunn. No, sir; they find out what the requirements are 
and then they attempt to locate that labor in other sections of Mis- 
sisvsippi and it has worked rather successfully. There is a small per- 
centage of additional labor used in the area because the planters 
prefer to allow the tenants to pick their own cotton. 

The Chairman. Has there been any increase in gardens and sub- 
sistence livestock among the tenants ? Do the planters encourage such 
efforts ? 

Mr. Dunn. Yes; quite a substantial increase. The livestock popu- 
lation has moi-e than doubled in the last 5 years. The poultry and 
hogs and so forth has probably quadiiipled and I would say at the 
present time at least 80 percent have gardens and poulti'y. 

The Chairman. Do the planters encourage those efforts ? 

Mr. Dunn. Yes, sir; they do. 

The Chairman. The individual planters, are they making any ef- 
fort to improve the health and educational facilities on their planta- 
tions ? 

Mr. Dunn. Yes, sir; the individual planters are, and they are 
using facilities and assistance of the county health department. At 
the present time each county in the Mississippi area maintains a 
full-time county health department, and the larger plantations have 
their own physicians who attend the tenant families on those planta- 

The Chairman. Well, Mr. Dunn, if you will pass Mr. StovalTs 
statement to the reporter it will be made a part of the record here. 

Mr. Dunn. All right, sir. 

The Chairman. This entire statement will be made a part of our 
record and we wish to thank you for your appearance here before us 

(Thereupon Mr. Dunn was excused.) 

(Statement of Howard Stovall, referred to by the witness, reads 
as follows:) 

Statement by Howard Stovall, Director, Delta Council, Stonevilu':, Miss, 

My name is Howard Stovall. I speak for the Delta Council, an economic 
federation of the 18 counties in the northwestern section of the State of Mis- 


slseippi known as the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, representing agricultural and 
other business interests in that region. As preface to the discussion <'f the 
labor situation in the area, I will, with your permission, first describe briefly 
the general economy of the section in order that our comments may be inter- 
preted more clearly. ^ . ^ , ^. 

The Delta's economy is founded upon agriculture. Approximately three- 
fourths of the basic income in the region is derived from production and 
ginning of cotton and crushing of cottonseed, while the remaining forth is 
derived from forest products and wt)od-using industries, miscellaneous crops, 
and production of livestock. The population of the Delta is 85 percent rural. 
More than 75 percent of the people are actively engaged in farming. 

With an alluvial land area of 41/2 million acres, 2,000,000 of which are now 
in cultivation, tlie section produce* annually near 1,OOU,000 bales of long-staple 
cotton and supports a population of better than half a million people. Approx- 
imately 85 percent of the land is oiierated under the plantation system, culti- 
vated by tenants, 90 percent of whom are Negroes. As a result of these 
conditions the Delta ranks tirsr among other agricultural sections in production 
per square mile, in dependence upon cotton, in density of population, in ijer- 
centage of tenancy, and in percentage of Negroes. 

The plantation is the unit in the Delta's highly specialized system of 
commercial farming on which the section's economy is based. In the operation 
of these farms the principles of specialization, mass production, and expert 
technical supervision have been employed on much the same basis as in the 
modern industrial plant. Since cotton has always produced a higher net 
return per acre than any other agricultural crop, plantations have concentrated 
on this production planting, previous to the Agricultural Adjustment Adminis- 
tration program, approximately 78 ix^rcent of the land to cotton, 10 percent 
to corn, 3 percent to hay and legumes, and 9 percent to other crops. The 
size of the farms are large as result of the efforts of the plantation owners 
to realize tlie full capacity of available managerial abilities and achieve the 
lowest unit cost of production. Near 70 percent of all the land in the Delta 
is farmed in large-scale tracts of 500 acres or more, and 20 percent is in farms 
of 2,000 acre.-^ or more. For efficient supervision the larger plantations are 
first divided into managerial units, a common scale being 1,000 acres and 
then further divided into production units in sizes that can efficiently be farmed 
by one family, varying from 10 to 40 acres dei)ending upon the size of the 
family and the producing capacity of the land. 

All phases of the operation are closely directed by technical supervisors who 
are responsible for the efficiency of the various producing units. Most managers 
of modern plantations now employ heavy machinery in preparing and planting 
the land for all crops and also in harvesting small grains and hay. But hand 
labor exlusively is used in the cultivation and harvesting of cotton. For this 
purpose tenants are maintained the year round on 95 percent of the plantations. 

By applying these principles of industry to agriculture the plantations have 
done much in making the necessary ail.iustment to the new conditions forced 
by drastic decline in agricultural commodity prices since 1930 when the average 
basic price for cotton dropped to less than half of what it had been in the 10- 
year period before 1930. In an effort to bolster prices the plantations reduced 
cotton acreage in compliance with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration 
production control program and intensified operations by using winter cover 
crops, commercial fertilizers, insect poisons, improved varieties, and better cul- 
tivation practices. As a result the average yield of cotton per acre in the entii-e 
Delta almost doubled, stepping up from 215 pounds for the 4-year average, 
1928-32. to 412 for the period 1936-39. 

With higher yields these Delta plantations have been able to sustain practi- 
cally the same farm population during the 10-year period on approximately half 
the cotton acreage. 

Since this condition may be unusual, I would like to offer as substantiation 
of the fact, statistics from the Fifteenth United States Census for 1930 and es- 
timates from the preliminary population returns for the 1940 United States 
census. I shall use the 10 counties lying wholly within the Delta; namely, 
Tunica. Coahoma, Quitman, Bolivar, Sunflower, Washington, Leflore, Issaquena, 
and Sharkey. The population of the other 8 part-Delta counties is difficult to 
divide correctlv because of the indefinite demarkations. 


The aforementioned counties in 1929 had a total cultivated acreage of 1,816,725 
of which approximately 78 percent or 1,417,089 were planted to cotton. In 
1939 complying with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration program these 
same counties planted an average of 45 percent of their total cultivated acreage 
to cotton, in amount of 879,475 acres, which is just 60 percent of the cotton 
planted 10 years earlier. 

The farm population of these same counties in 1930 was 294,145 and in 1940, 
according to the preliminary estimates, is 292,210. which is only 1,935 or 6 per- 
cent under the number of people on the farm when almost twice the cotton 
acres were planted 10 years befoi'^. 

It is interesting to note that a smaller iiercentage of the population accord- 
ing to Department of Commerce figures has been on the Federal relief rolls 
in this section than in any other rural area of the Nation except two small 
regions which had oil booms ; one of these known as the southern Pa<'ihe region, 
a small area in southern California, and the other in southern Louisiana. For 
the last few years the average number of persons certified for relief in these 
counties totaled only 6,000 to 7,000 a month which is approximately 1.6 percent 
of the total population. The persons actually receiving relief only average 
2,500 to 3,000. In the smaller counties of Tunica, Issaquena, and Sharkey there 
have been too few certified applications regularly on the relief rolls to inaugurate 
full-time Work Projects Administration projects. 

The principal reasons for the constant population despite technical improve- 
ments and acreage reduction, in our opinion, are both humanitarian and eco- 
nomic. Foremost is the fact that the total production of cotton in bales has 
remained about the same through increased yields and therefore as many peo- 
ple are needed for picking as formerly. Since cotton deteriorates in quality and 
hence in value the longer it remains in the field after opening, farmers en- 
deavor to pick the crop as soon as possible. To assure an adequate supply of 
labor for this purpose every effort is made to maintain as many tenants as 
possible. Planters have always been distrustful of becoming too dependent 
upon migratory labor for the harvesting and prefer that tenants pick their 
own crops. It is a fact that cotton picked by tenants who have an interest 
in the crop is usually of a better grade than that picked by disinterested 
migrants. To maintain these tenants it has been necessary, of course, to reduce 
the number of cotton acres each family and each worker operates. However, 
the average tenant actually produces as much cotton now as he did formerly 
and in addition receives half the Government benefit payments which in the 
area amounts to approximately $6 an acre to him. 

Another reason for the constancy in the farm population is the low birth 
rate and high death rate which in 1930 resulted in an excess of births over 
deaths of only 2 per 1,000, giving this section the lowest rate of increase and 
the fewest number of children per family of any agricultural section in the 
United States. 

This reproduction and the immigration increase has, of course, been offset 
by the natural migration of laborers to the smaller towns within the area where 
they find employment in the growing light industries and other business opera- 
tions, and to the industrial areas of Memphis, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, and 
Cincinnati. While a small percentage of new farm land has been opened to 
cultivation by immigrants principally from other sections of Mississippi, the 
total newcomers who have found livelihood on new ground represent only a 
small portion of the total population. The new lands, found principally in 
Sharkey, Issaquena, Humphreys, Washington, and Quitman Counties, have 
totaled only about 100,000 acres in the last 10 years, amounting to approxi- 
mately 5 percent of the 1,900,000 acres now in cultivation in the 10 counties. 

Mechanization and similar improvements have caused little or no labor dis- 
placement and have had no appreciable effect on the population in this area, 
in our opinion, since labor requirements have been reduced very slightly by 
these innovations. For example, labor requirements in producing cotton have 
been reduced only in one department of the operation, preparation and plant- 
ing, to an extent of 3.2 hours per acre or 2.8 percent of the total labor re- 
quired to produce an acre of cotton in 1930. In corn, the total reduction in 
all operations has been 2.3 hours per acre or 6.7 percent of the total time 
required. In the production of legumes there has been a reduction of 2 hours 


per acre, or 9 percent of the total time, and there has beeu no perceptible de- 
crease in time required in other crops. In other words, assuming the same 
division of acreage today and the same yields per acre as 10 years ago, farm 
operations on a typical 10()-acre farm would require only 270 hours less man- 
labor as a result of mechanization. This is a decrease of only 2.8 percent 
under the total 9,334 man-hours required in 1930 on a 100-acre farm with 76 
acres to cotton, 10 to corn, 3 to legumes, aud 11 to other crops. A change in 
labor requirements, of course, has taken place in the acreage shifts from 
cotton to the production of other crops which require less labor. The total 
effect of this shift has been a reduction of approximately 12 percent in the 
working time. These figures are derived from a report of H. C. McNamara, 
superintendent of the Delta Experiment Station, at Stoneville. Miss. 

While it has been estimated that at least 50 percent of the farms employ 
heavy equipment in preparing and planting land, tractors have not replaced 
mules entirely in the Delta except in a few instances notably in the lower 
counties of Sharkey and Issaquena, where plantations have been forced to 
mechanization by the frequent floods and backwater from the Yazoo and Mis- 
sissippi Rivers which make tenantry hazardous. A few other isolated opera- 
tions using all tractor and no mules have been established in other areas for 
peculiar reasons. For example, planters found it diflicult to secure labor after 
the major flood of 1927 and the labor migration to industrial centers of the 
same period. However, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the land in 
the Delta is cultivated under this system. 

There has also been a slight change in the labor pattern in the Delta which 
is evidenced by a decrease in the number of production units referred to by 
the census as farms. In the 10-year period the census indicates a reduction 
of 19 percent in the number of farms in the Delta. This is explained by the 
fact that many of the smaller family-size farms after the depression were 
foreclosed or "forced to sell out, this laud area having beeu consolidated 
aud made a part of larger tracts. After this consolidation and following 
the inauguration of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration program the 
plantations for greater efflciency divided their new cotton acreage into produc- 
tion units among better tenants for the purpose of intensive cultivation and 
farmed in one unit the remaining acreage planted to soybeans, corn, hay, oats, 
and so forth. These large units of other crops are cultivated largely on a day- 
wage basis and persons formerly classed as tenants are now employed in the 
production of these crops by the day. Hence they are not listed in the census 
as farm operators since they do not have crops of their own. Tenants, of 
course, have corn land and garden plots for their own needs in addition to 
cotton allotments. A recent survey indicates that a number of the plantations 
today employ from 10 to 25 percent of the people on the farm as day-wage 
operators rather than as tenants. These day-wage persons are housed and 
given garden plots on the farm and furnished if necessary during the winter 
in the same manner as tenants. There has been no reduction in the farm 
population notwithstanding reduction in the number of farms. 

Since there have been many erroneous impressions about population trends 
in the last few years in the Delta, probably a result of statements made on the 
basis of the 1935 agricultural census estimates, we wish to offer one further 
explanation. We feel that estimates made from the 1935 census figures show- 
ing a decrease in farm population of about 14 percent are not comparable 
since the 1935 enumeration was made in January when tenants ordinarily 
employed in farming were either living in town or visiting, a general custom 
in the section during the winter mouths, whereas the 1930 enimieration was 
made on April 1 when all farm operations were in progress. Tlie 1940 census 
was taken in April and compares with the 1930 figures. This change in popu- 
lation during the winter months is further attested by the fact that Work 
Projects Administration relief rolls which are relatively heavy in the non- 
farming months of November, December, January, February, and March, show 
a drop of more than half during the farming season. 

In the light of our experience and investigation we believe there has been 
no appreciable labor migration from the Mississipjii Delta and likewise there 
is no surplus of labor on the plantations today. In fact many plantations need 
more tenants than they are able to secure. 


In addition to sustaining the former population ,on these plantations the 
Delta also supplements the income of thousands of people from the agricultural 
areas of South and East Mississippi each year during the harvesting season. 
Most of these people who find temporary employment are farmers in their own 
section who work on a wage basis in the Delta following their own harvesting 
period whicli is several weeks earlier. Through the Mississippi Employment 
Service a permanent labor agency is being established which will facilitate 
transfer and placement of this additional labor needed during the seasons of 
heavy production, with a minimum of disturbance and without the dithculties 
presented by surreptitious Uxbor agents. Last year when the employment 
bureau operated for the first time more than 7,0(X> cotton pickers from South 
and East Mississippi were successfully placed in the 18 Delta counties. 

During the next 2 or 3 years there will undoubtedly be a definite shortage 
of labor on all plantations as a result of the demands created under the national 
defense program. 

Prospective labor demands in the Delta in the more distant future i<H most 
difficult to predict at this time since no one of us knows how the international 
situation may affect our economy. The outcome of the war, future world 
markets for agricultural products and general economic conditions at home will 
have a great bearing on labor requirements. If world consumption of American 
cotton is increased and if adjustments should be made in the production control 
program to allow greater cotton acreage, there will be undoubtedly increased 
demand for labor in the Delta. On the other hand, if we should be forced to 
follow an isolationist program with further acreage reduction employment 
operations on the farm will naturally be less. In the face of uncertainties 
we are unable to make a prediction. 



The Chairman. Your name is James Hand, Jr. ? 

Mr. Hand. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. And you are the president of the Deka Council? 

Mr. Hand. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. You have a statement to offer, do you, Mr. Hand? 

Mr. Hand. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Do .you de.-^ire to have your statement entered into 
the record? 

Mr. Hand. Mr. Chairman, I am here today to otfer the statement 
of Mr. Oscar Johnston, president of the National Cotton Council of 
America. It was impossible for Mr. Johnston to be present here 
today. Mr. Johnston is the president of the National Cotton Council, 
and is the manager of the largest cotton fann in the world. 

The Chairman. Pass the statement over to the reporter and it will 
be made a part of the record, and we thank you for being present 
Avith us hei-e today. 

(Thereupon Mr. Hand was excused.) 

(Statement of Oscar Johnson, presented by the witness, reads as 

Statement on Behalf of the National Cotton Council of Amk.bica, Prepared 
and Submitted by Oscab Johnston. President 

Your chief tield investigator, Mr. George Wolf, has invited the National 
Cotton Council of America to appear through a representative or representa- 
tives, or to tile a statement or statements, with respect to the subject matter 
with which the members of your committee are engaged. 


' For the iiivitatitni and resulting opportunity, we are grateful, and wish to 
express our thanks. 

For your inforBuition, and for the benefit of the reeord, you wdl permit me, 
1 am sure, to make a brief statement regarding the National Cotton Council 
of America, its comi)osition, and its objectives. 

The council is an industry organization representing the various groups 
engaged in production, initial processing, handling and marketing of cotton and 
cottonseed. There are five so-called raw-cotton interests which together com- 
prise the raw-cotton industry. These groups, or, as they are normally referred 
to, interests, are : 

Producers, of whom it is estimated there are some 2,500,000 families, or 
approximatelv 10,000,000 persons. 

Cotton ginners. who first process the cotton by separating the lint and seed. 
It is estimated that there are in the Cotton Belt in operation some 12,000 cotton- 
gin plants or operations. 

Cotton warehouses and compresses, where the cotton is stored until marketed 
and by whom it is compressed to facilitate transportation. All warehouses do 
not perf<irm functions of compresses, but all compresses do perform the func- 
tions of warehousing. There are in the Cotton Belt approximately 3.000 ware- 
housing establishments, of which approximately 350 operate compresses. 

Cotton mei'chants or shippers who purchase the cotton from producers 
and sell same either domestically or abroad to consuming establishments. It 
is estimated that there are approximately 750 persons designated as shippers, 
and handling 90 percent or more of the annual crop. The figures given do 
not include several thousand persons usually referred to as "country buyers," 
who are in the nature of middlemen between the i>roducer and the larger 
merchants or shippers. There are no available data from which to make an 
estimate of the number of these. 

Cottonseed crushers. There are approximately 460 cottonseed-crushing 
plants in the belt. Members of this group purchase the cottonseed, and 
process it by breaking it into its component commercial parts as oil, linters, 
meal, and hulls. These several products of the seed are then marketed. 

It is rather rotighly estimated that there are approximately 15,000,000 persons 
directly engaged in the operations covered by the 5 divisions of the industry 

There are a numlier of interest organizations within the industry. For 
example, producers in many of the States are organized into State divisions 
of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Grange, and other 
farm organizations. Within the several cotton-producing States there are asso- 
ciations of ginners, and there is also a belt-wide national ginners' as.sociation. 
Similarly the other interests are organized. interest organizations deal 
primarily with sijecific subjects matter directly affecting the persons identified 
with each of these interests. 

The five interests are combined in the National Cotton Council of America, 
the gftvernment of which is vested in a representative body made up of dele- 
gate members from each of the interests, from each <^f the cotton-producing 
States, these representatives being selected by interest organizations. 

Cotton is produced in 19 of the 48 States. For administrative purposes, 
the council has divided the 19 States, generally referred to as the Cotton 
Belt, into 14 States, or State grcmp. units. Five of the States, in each of 
which the production of cotton is less than 20.000 bales annually, are severally 
combined with Jidjacent States in which cotton is prodviced in considerable 
quantities, as for example, Virginia is combined with North Carolina, etc. 

The primary objective of the National Cotton Council of America is to 
promote and expand the consumption of domestically produced cotton, cotton- 
seed, and the products thereof both at home and abroad at prices that will 
return to the industry an equitable share of the Nation's annual income. 

Representing, as it does, some 15.0110,000 persons engaged in the raw-cotton 
industry, the council is vitally concerned with and interested in each and 
every problem which bears directly or indirectly upon the welfare of the persons 
engaged in any phase of the cotton industry. 

We note that the primary objective of your committee is to investigate 
"migration of destitute citiz^-ns."' We assume from the language of the 
resolution authorizing the establishment of your committee, and from the title 



of your committee, that you are primarily interested in the problem presented 
by the seasonal migration of thousands of destitute iiersons from one section 
or State of the Union to another in search of employment in agriculture. We 
assume that you are primarily concerned with the problem so dramatically 
represented to the American people in the book Grapes of Wrath, which 
drama has been so vividly pictured before the people of the United States in 
our motion-picture theaters. 

Fortunately, the cotton industry has felt very lightly, if at all. the evils 
of "migratory, destitute labor." Insofar as we are advised, there has been 
no mass migration of destitute persons from one section to another to engage 
in any of the activities embraced within the industry. 

A relatively small percentage of the 25,000,000 acres of land now planted 
to cotton is farmed by day wage labor. More than 75 percent of the cotton 
produced in America is produced by families operating from 10 to 20 acres 
planted to cotton, producing annually from 3 to 10 or 12 bales of cotton 
per family. Virtually 100 percent of the cotton produced must be harvested, 
that is, picked or gathered in the fields, by hand. No mechanical device 
has yet been perfected and put into operation which can be. or has been, sub- 
stituted for human labor. No altogether satisfactory substitute has been 
found for manual human labor for "chopping" the cotton, that is, cleaning 
from the fields noxious grasses, weeds, and vines. With the exception of 
tobacco and possibly sugar beets, no large-scale farm operation I'equires as 
much manual labor per unit during the season of its production as does cotton. 
Because of these factors, the employment of human labor in the produc- 
tion of cotton has not been seriously affected by the general trend toward 

Mechanization has foiand its chief expansion in west Texas, New Mexico. 
Arizona, and California. In these States the process of mechanization did 
not displace any substantial amount of human labor because the production 
of cotton in these sections has developed within recent years, and from 
the beginning has developed through the use of mechanical equipment. These 
are irrigated areas relatively free from noxious grasses and weeds. For 
this reason mechanical preparation of soil for planting, planting of the seed, 
and ctiltivation of the crop can be accomplished in a satisfactory and 
economical manner with mechanical equipment. In these areas, particularly 
southwest Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, the crops are harvested largely 
by Mexican labor, of which there is apparently an abundance, and which 
is imported for the purpose. In these areas there may be some voluntary 
migration of indigent labor, but insofar as we liave been able to learn, there 
has either been none of this, or so little as to have escaped observation — 
certainly no serious results or consequences have followed. In other areas 
of the Cotton Belt the cotton is harvested by tlie families by whom ir was 
produced, with the aid of labor brought in by landowners or by tenants them- 
selves from nearby cities, towns, and villages. During the harvest period, 
that is, August 15 to November 15. thousands of domestic servants, persons 
otherwise on relief, persons engaged in doing odd jobs and having occasional 
employment in tlie cities, towns, and villages go to nearby cotton farms and 
pick cotton for which they are paid by the hundredweight. In some instances 
these persons go to the farms, are provided with housing facilities, and remain 
until the major part of the crop has been harvested. In other cases they 
go out from their homes Monday morning and remain until Saturday evening. 
In a majority of cases, however, they are transported from their homes, 
morning and evening, to and from the farms in automobiles, trucks, and 
busses by the landlord. A common practice is for farm tenants and small 
landowners working their own farms to import one, two, or three persons to 
pick cotton, usually relatives or close friends of the tenant or farmer. These 
persons live in the home of the tenant or farmer, are boarded by him, and 
paid for their picking by the hundredweight. During the harvesting season 
several thousand persons from the cities, towns, and villages earn from two 
to four and six dollars a day picking cotton. There is not involved in this 
operation any "mass migration" or any general migration of indigent migra- 
tory labor. There is no interstate movement except in a limited sense where 
labor goes out from a city or town near a State line, as for example, thou- 


sands of cotton pickers are transported daily from Memphis, Tenn., to farms 
in eastern Arkansas and northern Mississippi. Similarly, some pickers are 
transported from Helena, Ark., into the western section of Mississippi. But 
in all of these cases, the cotton pickers are provided with transportation 
to and from the fields in which they work. Reports to the United States De- 
partment of Commerce indicate that in the Cotton Belt there is an enormous 
decrease in the number of persons working for Work Projects Administration 
or on relief during the harvest period. It is customary for relief and Work 
Projects Administration agencies to aid their ''clients" in finding employment 
in picking cotton. 

The type of migration disclosed in Grapes of Wrath presents a serious 
economic problem and throat, and is a problem that can and should be imme- 
diately solved and disposed of once and for all. The National Cotton Council 
of America recommends as a solution for this problem Federal control of 
interstate migratory labor. Unemployed persons, asking seasonal employment 
in agriculture, should not be permitted to migrate from one State to another 
unless such persons are able to furnish satisfactory evidence of — 

(a) Sufficient finances to maintain themselves until employment is obtained, 
or to return them to the places from which they migrate. 

(6) Satisfactory evidence of definite employment at adequate wage levels. 

Persons needing seasonal labor in agricultural pursuits should not be per- 
mitted to advertise generally for such labor, nor should they be permitted 
to cause labor to migrate across State lines without adequate guaranty of 
employment at stated wages. 

Federaly employment agencies should handle interstate agricultural labor, 
that is to say, labor migrating from one State to another for agricultural 

Persons wishing to import from another State seasonal labor should do 
so through properly established Federal and State agencies, and in accordance 
with prescribed regulations which should operate to insure employment of 
labor imported at stipulated wage levels. The seasonal migration of labor 
from the citrus groves of Florida to the cranberry bogs of the East should 
be investigated and controlled. There should be appropriate cooperation 
between State and Federal authorities in handling the problem. It is our 
judgment that the aggravating problem as it was depicted in Grapes of Wrath 
can be satisfactorily handled. 

There is another problem, however, not so simple, that is, the inevitable 
shift in agricultural population which will be brought about by a more 
serious economic and technological development. We have reference to several 
phases of the problem — 

(1) The tendency of the more intelligent and highly skilled farm boy or 
farm laborer to leave the farm for industrial centers where greater than farm 
income can be realized. The result of this is a tendency to overpopulate indus- 
trial centers, making it more difficult to maintain satisfactory industrial wage 
levels because of the supply of surplus wage labor ; then in periods of industrial 
depression the throwing of laborers into bread lines, soup kitchens, and 
putting them on relief and W. P. A. rolls, thus imposing a serious burden upon 
the taxpayers of the Nation. The lack of balance between financial returns 
from labor on the farm and labor in industry presents a far more serious 
problem than mere "migration of indigent agricultural workers." It is essen- 
tial that this inequitable relationship of farm income and industrial income be 

(2) The loss of export markets for cotton, unless restored, will inevitably 
result in a gigantic shift in agricultural production. Prior to 1930 we were 
annually planting in the Cotton Belt approximately 40,000,000 acres to cotton 
We were producing an average of approximately 13,000,000 bales annually. 
Of this we were consuming annually between five and six million bales domes- 
tically, and exporting approximately 8,000,000 bales. The acreage planted to 
cotton has been reduced from an average of approximately 40,000,000 to a 
present level of approximately 25,000,000. Fifteen million acres of land have 
been taken out of cotton production. To date this has been accomplished 
without serious labor displacement. We do not have access to preliminary 
figures from the 1940 census for the Cotton Belt as a whole, but using the 
10 counties of the Delta as an example, and regarding it as typical, we find 


that in 1929 the acreage planted to cotton in this area was l,r>(t(J,<XXt ; thut in 
1939 this had heen reduced to 775,000, an acreage cut of 52r),U()0 acres, or 40 
percent. The 1930 census gave the fai'iu population of this area as 294,14.>. 
Preliminary estimates from the 1940 census indicate a farm population in the 
same area of 292,201, a decline of only 0.(> percent. The ability (jf such reduced 
acreage to support sulistantially the normal farm population is accounted for 
by the fact that in 1929 the average production of lint cdtton in this area was 
2i.5 pounds; the production in 1939 was 4<I0 pounds per acre, ;in increase of 
46.3 percent. In addition to this the lands that were taken from cotton had to 
be cultivated to soil-building, soil-improving, food, and feed c-rops. This culti- 
vation required labor, for which landowners were recpiired to pay cash, thus 
supplementing the tenant's income from cott(»n. 

Still further tliis income has been supplemented by soil conservation and 
cotton price-adjustment payments. Prior to the application of the farm pro- 
grams of Agricultural Adju.stmeut Administration, the Cotton P.elt had bought a 
large part of its food and feed for man and beast from other sections of the 
United States. As a result of the progran> the Cotton Belt is at an annually 
increasing rate becoming more self-sufficient in the matter of feeding itself. The 
cotton-farm people have benefited under this program substantially, but the pro- 
gram is costing the taxpayers of the Nation annually m<u-e than $150,000,000, and 
notwithstanding the program, the problem has not been solved. During the 2 
depression years 1931 and 1932 there were exported from the United States an 
annual average of, in round figures, 8,600.000 bales. During the next years, 1983 
to 1938, both inclusive, there were exported an annual average <jf 5..500,000 bales. 
From the 1939 crop, with The aid of an export subsidy, a cotton-rubber barter 
deal with Great Britain, and the stimulus of a threatened war, the exports 
were increased to approximately 6,300,000 bales, an increase of but 800,000 
bales above the previous 6-year average, thus bringing the 7-year average to 
5,600,000 bales. On August 1. 1933, the carry-over of cotton in America was, 
in round figures, 8,000,000 bales. By August 1, 1939. this figure had been 
increased to approximately 13,(K)0.000 bales, and as of August 1, 1940, is, in 
round figures, 10,000,000 bales, or 2,000,000 bales more than was the carry- 
over prior to the application of the crop-control programs. Of the carry-over 
August 1. 1940. approximately 8.000,000 bales are l)eing carried at the expense 
of the taxpayers by the Conunodity Credit Corporation, a Federal agency. This 
is not intended as a criticism of the crop-control program: it is merely a frank 
statement of an existing condition which cainu)t be (piestioned and illustrates 
the necessity for more serious etforts to increase both domestic consumption 
and exports' of cotton. The problem presented by the facts quoted may not 
directly affec-t the migration of indigent labor, which is the matter imme- 
diately before you, but I assume that you are looking into the lu'oader aspects 
of the problem! that you are interested in determining, insofar as you can, the 
danger which lies ahead as a residt of agricultural policies and programs or 
the lack of such programs. The Bureau of Crop Estimates on August 8 
estimated that the crop of 1940 would be ll,42<.t.0OO bales. I>omestic consump- 
tion for the preceding year, approximately 7.750,000 bales, was the second 
highest on record. If we can step this to S.500,000 for the next year, and 
produce the quantity indicated by the Government estimate, we will have from 
the current crop 2,929,000 bales to dispose of. What part of this we can exiwrt 
is problematical. The amount of this that will find its way into the hands of 
the Governmenr through the 1940 loan will depend directly upon the amount 
we can consume domestically plus the amount we export. To remedy this 
situation the National Cotton Ciuuicil of America recommends that every con- 
ceivable effort be made, first to expand domestic consumption and, second, to 
develop export markets. The alternative will l)e further reduced production. 
To us a further curtailment of cotton acreage is unthinkable. 

Without the slightest fear of contradiction, we make the statement that a 
further curtailment of cotton acreage cannot be effected without serious labor dis- 
placement and without an enormous increase in the cost to the (iovernment. 
A further decrease will not only affect labor in the Cotton Belt, but will disrupt 
and disturb labor conditions throughout agricultural America. Of necessity, the 
lands taken frcmi cotton will be put into the production of dairy cattle, beef 
cattle, wheat, corn, oats, rice, tobacco, and numerous other ci'ops which will 
comi>ete with pi-oducers of the same crops in other sections. If driven out of 


lottoii. niiiiiy sections of the Cotton Belt tan produce dairy cattle and snpiwrt 
dairies at an infinitely lower cost than can the farmers of Wisconsin, Iowa, 
Minnesota, and the Dakotas. The farmers of the Cotton Belt are today cus- • 
tomers of the farmers of the xMiddle West and Northwest. Further curtailment 
of cotton acreage will convert these customers into competitors, who will have 
the advantage of better climate, cheaper food and feed crops, and cheaper labor, 
and who have, through years of necessity, accustomed themselves to lower living 
standards. This switch from cotton to other ci-ops will not only injure farmers 
in other sections of the United States, but will increase the labor pi'oblem in 
the Cotton Belt, since, as is elsewhere stated in this presentation, less human 
labor is required in the prodiu-tion of other agricultural commodities than in the 
production of cotton. A further cotton acreage reduction will result in hundreds 
of thousands of families in the Cotton Belt being thrown on relief, or becoming 
indigent, migratory, agricultural labor. "An ounce of prevention Is better than 
a pound of cure." An old Negro, whom the writer knows, once advised that 
the best wav, and the least dangerous way, to kill a sn^ke is to step on the egg. 
W'e hope that Congress, in its wisdom, will develop some method of solving the 
serious cotton problem that will make unnecessary further acreage curtailment, 
one that will permit an expansion of the acreage now planted to cotton, and at 
the same time relieve the taxpayer's of the Nation of the burden involved In 
providing payments for price adjustment. I'ayments for soil conservation are 
economically sound. The Covernment should properly defray a part of the an- 
nual cost of preserving and conserving the fertility of the soil upon which 
generations yet unborn will have to depend for a livelihood, but there is some- 
thing radically wrong with an economy which necessitates the subsidizing of 
any group either agricultural, industrial, or "migratory." Our economy and our 
policies, both domestic and foreign, must be so adjusted that the returns to the 
landowner and the factory owner, the agricultural worker, the day laborer, and 
the industrial laborer will bear an equitable and fair relation, the one to the 

With respect to the cotton problem. We respectfully urge intelligent and in- 
tensive activil^ to increase domestic consumption of cotton to the end that 
there may be be a mattress on every bed in America, at least a change of sheets, 
towels. l>edspreads, etc., in every home, adequate clothing for every man, woman, 
and child, and an economic situation which will permit the citizens of the 
United States to earn wages sufficient to enable them to pay for all of the 
necessities and some of the luxuries of life. With a proper distribution, the 
United States can consume domestically ten or eleven million bales of cotton. 
We must then develop a foreign i)olicy, backed by power to enforce that jwlicy. 
which will permit American agricultural commodities to be sold in the markets 
of the woild on terms satisfactory to us. The American farmer, whether he 
produce cotton, wheat, corn, tobacco, rice, cattle, or hogs will not submit to the 
development of a foreign policy which will provide markets for American indus- 
trial commodities if to do this we must sacrifice foreign markets for American 
agriculture. Industrial and agricultural commodities must be given equitable 


The Chairman. Mr. McNamara, I believe that you are the next 

Mr. Sparkman. Give your name to the reporter, please. 

Mr. McNamara. Homer C. McNamara. 

Mr. Sparkman. And what is your position. Mr. McNamara? 

Mr. McNamara. I am superintendent of the Delta Experiment 
Station. Stoneville. Miss. 

Mr. Sparkman. Will you please proceed with such statement as 
you care to make? We will be ^lad to hear from you. 


Mr. McNajnjara. I prepared a brief outline, and I will be glad to 
read it if you wish me to do so. 

Mr. Sparkman. I believe that we have been supplied with copies 
of that statement, have we not? 

Mr. McNamara, Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. It will be entered in the record at this point. 

(The statement mentioned appears below.) 

Statement By Homer C. McNamara, Superintendent Delta Experiment 
Station, Stoneville, Miss. 

trend in labor requirements in delta agriculture 

Any consideration of recent trends and labor requirements affecting Delta 
agriculture might very well be considered under three different heads: (1) 
Labor requirements as affected by shift in acreage of the various crops grown 
and increased cotton yields, (2) labor requirements as affected by mechaniza- 
tion, and (3) an appraisal of the total effect of both of these factors. 

In comparing farm practices in the Delta between the years 1929 and 1939 
we find that in 1929, 76 percent of the cultivated land was planted to cotton as 
compared with only 44 percent in 1939. In 1939, 24 percent of the acreage was 
planted to other crops, and in 1939, 56 percent was so planted. Therefore, in 
1939 the Delta farmer was working 32 less cotton acres out of every 100. which 
were planted in other crops. These other crops require considerably less labor 
than cotton, but in the aggregate this acreage has absorbed a great deal of 
the labor that was formerly expended on cotton. 

The 4-year average Delta yield from 1929 to 1932 was 215 pounds of lint 
per acre. During the past 4 years that average has increased to 411 pounds of 
line, or an increase of 193 pounds of lint per acre, which is nearly double that 
produced in the 1929-32 period. Based on hibor requirements that have been 
obtained by the Delta Experiment Station on plantations for various crops 
over a period of 5 years, and applying these hours of labor to the acreages 
grown in 1929 and 1939, a fairly accurate estimate can be had. 

With 76 acres out of every 100 acres planted to cotton in 1929, 673.4 hours 
of man labor were required to prepare and plant this land: 3,534 hours of man 
labor were required to cultivate, hoe, chop, and poison; and 4,453.6 hours were 
required to pick, weigh, load, and haul to the gin. making a total of 8,661 hours 
for the 76 acres of cotton. The 10 acres out of each 100 planted to corn in 
1929 required 339 hours of man labor. The 2 acres of summer legumes planted 
required 44.2 hours of man labor ; the 1 acre of alfalfa grown in 1929 required 
40 hours of man labor ; and the 11 acres of other crops required a total of 220 
hours of man labor, making a grand total for all 1929 crops of 9.304.2 hours 
to farm 100 acres of land. 

The situation was quite different in 1939, when only 44 acres were planted 
to cotton, requiring 361 hours of man labor to prepare and plant; 1,870 hours 
to cultivate, hoe, and poison : and 4,171 hours to pick, weigh, load, and haul to 
the gin, making a total of 6,402 hours to grow 44 acres of cotton. In the mean- 
time, however, 26.4 acres of corn were planted, requiring 834 hours of man 
labor. Legumes had increased from 2 acres to 14.3 acres and now required 286 
hours. Alfalfa land increased from 1 acre to 3^2 acres, requiring 140 man hours. 
Other crops had increased to 11.8 acres, requiring 236 hours, or a grand total 
of 7,898 hours. In 1939 the planter had 588 more pounds of seed cotton to 
pick from every acre than he had in 1929. 

Subtracting the total amount of man hours required to operate 100 acres of 
land in 1939 from the number of hours required to operate that same 100 acres 
in 1929, we have a difference of 1,406.2 hours less required to make the crop, 
or a difference of 15.1 percent. Assuming no change in population, this would 
be equal to about 10 working days per worker. 

Each worker in the Delta who was growing over acres of cotton in 1929 
was growing less than 4 acres in 1939. The size of family farming these units 
averages a little better than 3% persons. These changes have c(nue about as 
a result of shift in acres and increased yields, together with some expansion 
in mechanized methods. Therefore tenants are producing about the same 
amount of cotton now as in 1929, with 10 days' less labor per worker. These 
same tenants are also enjoying a more varied diet and probably better health as a 
result of greater diversification of crops. 


rain. It is hoed out from three to four times livestock program 

f SmIs wth IB rSrs per m About 5 percent of the p antafons 


oiierations susceptible to mechanizations : preparing and planting and cul- 
??vatlL TheScally, a labor saving on these two operations of about 
14 mrhoiispe? acres could be made through mechanization. I^ preparing 
and plantTig! 9.3 hours per acre are required for 1-row equipment as com- 
mred with 4.9 man-hourVfor 4-row tractor operation. For ^^^ .^Jf ^^^f ' 1|2 
man-hours would be required with 1-row equipment, as conipared with 3^2 
man-ho rs wSh 4-row ttactor operation. Chopping is still done almost en- 
Hreh bv hind although some few planter.s are now beginning to cross- 
cumvatJ the crops instlad of chopping them out in the old way There is 
some evidence to indicate that cross-cultivating of the crop is likely to result 
in a somewhat lower yield, although it is considerably less expensive and less 

^""MechSi^fotton choppers are now on the market, which are moderately 
nrS although they have been used in the Delta only in a very liinited way. 
K equipment is more likely to find ready acceptance in areas where grass 
isnotT prevalent and persistent, since it is necessary to re-chop the cotton 
bv hand where the mechanical operation is hrst made, in the Delta. These 
machines might be successfully used to block out the crop, but according 
JJ preliminary figures obtained by the Delta Experiment Station there is 
likelv to be no verv large labor saving in the use of the mechanical chopper. machines are made in single-row, horse-drawn types, as well as 2-row, 
tractor-drawn types. A one-row mechanical chopper will block out 1 acre 
of cotton in 0.7 of an hour, as compared with 12.7 hours' labor required on buckshot 
land to do the same job bv hand. If subsequent hoeings are unnecessary, this 
would represent a tremendous saving. It is quite possible that some saving m the 
labor of chopping can be effected in particular cases by the use of the mechanical 

^ If^4-row equipment is used in cultivating an acre of cotton, a saving of 10 
hours per acre can be effected. Some of the units in the Delta that are com- 
pletely mechanized today were probably mechanized in 1929. Some Delta 
planters are saving 10 man-hours per acre on cultivation by using 2-row or 
4-row equipment. ^ , . 

Harvesting of cotton must be done by hand, just as it was twenty centuries ago. 
It requires the greatest single item of labor entering into the production of the 
crop It takes 7 to 12 full-time days to pick 1 acre of cotton with yields of 400 
pounds of lint, or more, per acre. Since weather at picking time may be unfavor- 
able 3V. acres of cotton requires approximately 30 days of steady labor for each 
worker " Counting out Saturday afternoons and Sundays, this would amount to 
more than 6 weeks of steady picking, granting that the weather was favorable for 
picking during that time. Otherwise, it may be extended over a much longer 
period and even find people picking cotton in December or .January. 

In recent years much has been heard in regard to the mechanical cotton picker. 
As yet there are no machines on the market, and insofar as we know, there 
are none in use on Delta plantations or elsewhere. From the complex nature 
of them, they will undoubtedly be rather expensive. Operating costs for 
mechanical harvesters are undetermined. While in many cases the mechan- 
ical pickers will do a fairly good job of taking the cotton off the plant, the 
resulting seed cotton is usually one to three grades lower than hand-picked 
cotton In the Delta, where long-staple varieties are grown, a lowering 
of more than two gi-ades would mean a loss tljat could not be sustained. 
260370— 40— pt. 2 15 



The rank, vegetative growth of cotton plants, together with vines, grass, 
and weeds that grow in the field after the crop has heen laid by, would 
indicate that mechanical harvesters will be successfully employed in other 
sections of the Cotton Belt before they are generally accepted in the Delta, 
Under ideal conditions, mechanical harvesters have done an excellent job 
of picking cotton from the plant late in the season after the leaves have 
fallen. The grade, however, of this cotton was too low. On moist, heavy 
land, which is a common thing in the fall, hand picking can be accomplished 
where it is not possible to use a machine. New inventions or processes 
that would clean the seed cotton and remove trash would do much, of 
course, to accelerate mechanical harvesting. 

The Delta Experiment iStatiou has tested all makes of mechanical har- 
vesters in tlie past 6 or 8 years and feel that a great amount of work is yet 
to be done on both the cotton plant and the macliines before a satisfactory 
solution to the problem has been acliieved. 

SiniiDiation of all factors. — We have shown briefly the shift in acreage from 
cotton to otlier crops in tlie Mississippi Delta and the resulting liigher yields 
through more intensified methods of farming. Sucli mechanization as has 
taken place has greatly reduced the ntimber of mules on that plantation. Indi- 
rectly, it may also have reduced the labor necessary to use that mule and to care for 
liim. On the other hand, mec-hauization has created many new jobs in the way of 
maintenance and repairs of various types of farm equipment which will partially 
offset this loss. Plantations have added shops and employed people on a monthly 
basis at a substantial rate of pay to maintain the mechanical farm equipment. A 
question of importance, theu, would be hov/ much further is the Delta likely to mech- 
anize its operations'; It seems that the answer to this question would depend 
upon a number of different factors, including: (DA continuance of the present 
soil-conservation program; (2) the price of farm conunodities in relation to 
the price of farm machmery : (3) inertia: planters are not quick to make 
changes involving a large amount of money required foj- purchasing mechan- 
ical equipment and the sale of their mules and horse-drawn equipment 
without a full complement of mechanically trained labor: (4) investigations 
indicate that few, if any, people have changed to tractors to reduce labor, 
but that it has come about through necessity after losing labor or being 
unable to obtain sufficient farm labor: (5) the harvesting of cotton must still 
be done by hand, and a limiting factor of the amount of cotton that anyoiie 
can produce is very largely gaged by the amount of cotton that can be 
harvested. Many planters interviewed on this subject indicate that they do 
not expect to further mechanize their operations and that tractor and power 
eqtiipment are required only for the heavier farm work — summer breaking 
and other conditions that mule-drawn equipment could not withstand. 

The highest numlier of completely mechanized farms are in the lower Delta 
or backwater area, where in times of higliwater livestock has to be moved out, 
as well as the people living on the land. This number, however, is very small 
compared with the Delta as a whole. 

From experiments conducted on the Delta Experiment Station, in which 
various types of equipment from i^-row to 4-row units were iised, it has been 
found that the %-row equiinnent always i-esults in a higher yield per acre 
than can be obtained from the 4-row equipment. Practical planters have dis- 
covered this and prefer to use the smaller unit of equipment, which represents 
a very small investment as compared to the larger motorized equipment. In 
such cases they choose to put their money into labor rather than into equip- 
ment. Probably the greatest resistance of all to further mechanization of Delta 
plantations lies in the fact that 56 percent of all cultivated land must be planted 
to crops other than cotton. In this case the operator can grow his own feed 
and produce his own workstock. He can grow his feed, and when prices are 
low avoid a large cash outlay for fuel, oil, and repairs. So long as this condi- 
tion prevails there will not be the incentive to completely mechanize the plan- 
tations that there would have been under the old system of a single crop — cotton. 


Mr. Sparkmax. And now suppose yon digest it or give the high 
points of it. 


Mr. McNamara. Mr. George Wolf, your chief field investigator, 
asked me to come before this committee and discuss briefly a number 
of things which, summed up, might reveal the trend m the labor 
requirements in the Delta agricultural section, and this I have tried 
to do In stuilying the labor requirements or in making statements 
of the labor requirements affecting Delta agricuhure, it seems to me 
that this subject should be considered under three heads: Labor re- 
quirements as affected bv shift in acreage of the various crops grown 
and increased cotton vields in the past few years ; secondly, the labor 
requirements as affected by mechanization; and, thirdly, an appraisal 
of the total effect of these two factors. 


In comparing the cotton acreage in the Delta section, between the 
years 1929 and 1939, in 1929, 76 out of every 100 acres of land were 
planted in cotton, and a 4-year average showed us to have an actual 
yield of 215 pounds of liiit cotton per acre, while in 1939 we had 
only 44 out of every 100 acres planted in cotton, but we had increased 
the' yields throuah "intensified methods to where we now, in the past 4 
years, show an average of 411 pounds of lint cotton per acre or 196 
pounds more during the past 4 years- than the 4-year average from 
1929 to 1932. Therefore, in 1939 we have produced practically double 
the amount of lint cotton per acre that we grew in 1929. In other 
words, in 1939 with only 44 acres out of every 100, as compared with 
76 acres out of every I'OO in 1929, our planters have had to pick an 
additional 5S8 pounds of seed cotton from every acre. Or, putting 
it another way. in 1939 Ave are growing 32 acres less cotton out of 
every 100 acres on the plantation, and these 32 acres have been taken 
up with other crops. Now. these other crops have absorbed quite a 
lot of tlie labor that formerly went into cotton. 

Mr. Sparkman. Right in "that connection, if my calculation is cor- 
rect, on the 44 acres now planted to cotton you are growing 18,084 
pounds of lint, as compared with 16,340 pounds on the 76 acres 
planted to cotton in 1929? 

Mr. McNamara. That is right. And that has taken up a lot of 
the slack right there as to the cotton lands. 

We have increased our yields. Each worker in the Delta who was 
growing over 6 acres of cotton in 1929 was growing less than 4 acres 
in 1939. The size of family farming these units averages a little 
better than 31/0 persons. 

These changes have come about as a result of shift in acres and 
increase in yields, together with some expansion in mechanized 
methods. Therefore, tenants are producing about the same amount 
of cotton now as in 1929 with 10 days' less labor per worker. 

I have all the figures in my written statement here that you gentle- 
men will have the opportunity to examine, but subtracting the total 
amount of man-hours required to operate 100 acres of land in 1939, 
as shown in my written statement, from the number of hours required 
to operate that same 100 acres in 1929, we have a difference of 1.406.2 
hours less required to make the crop, or a difference of 15.1 percent. 


Assuming no change in population, this would be equal to about 10 
working clays per worker. This tenant will work 10 less days to 
produce about the same amount of cotton plus these other crops 
than he did in 1929. 

Mr. Sparkman. As you know, we are j)rimarily interested in the 
migrant problem. Will you just tell us in what way and to what 
extent those changing conditions are contributing toward migration 
of farm labor? 

Mr. McNamara, I don't know that I can tell you about the effect 
these changes in the conditions are having on the migration of labor 
from the Delta. Possibly we are not as seriously affected by it as 
other areas, but I wouldn't venture an opinion. It would be a guess 
if I made it and that would do you no good. I presume that you 
gentlemen do not want guesses. 

mechanical improvements in cotton raising 

T'rom the standpoint of mechanization, which Mr. Wolf asked me 
to discuss here, I would be glad to mention something in regard to 
the mechanical methods of chopping and picking cotton. The chop- 
ping and the picking of cotton require the great bulk of labor necessary 
for the cotton crop. 

To make my statement very brief, a one-row method of cultivation 
will require 150 man-hours a year to be spent in the growing of a cot- 
ton crop, and with a four-row tractor equipment, it cuts the hours 
down to 135, and that is due to the fact that the preponderance of 
the labor in connection with the cotton crop is in the chopping and 
picking, particularly the picking. 

I have discussed this rather in detail in my written statement. 

Now, the mechanical cotton chopper may be something that you are 
interested in. 

Mr. Sparkman. To what extent has that been developed ? 

Mr, McNamara. The mechanical cotton chopper has been developed 
to the point where we have a fairly good mechanical chopper. It is 
not being used in the Delta but will probably find use in other areas 
where weeds and grass in the cotton rows are not so prevalent as they 
are in the rich, alluvial Delta soils and where it is necessary to have 
cotton choppers with hoes go in and dig out the grass and weeds. We 
can use a mechanical cotton chopper to block out the crop, but we 
ihave to follow it up, as I have stated, with hoes in order to get the 
■gi'ass and weeds out. A one-row mechanical chopper will block out 
;an acre of cotton in seven-tenths of an hour as compared with 12.7 
hours' labor required to do the same job by hand. If subsequent 
hoeings were unnecessary, this would represent a tremendous saving. 
It is quite possible that some saving in the labor of chopping can be 
effected in particular cases by the use of a mechanical chopper. 

Mr. Sparkman. What about the mechanical picker? Have you 
experimented with that ? 

Mr. McNamara. We have experimented for the last 7 or 8 years 
with every type of mechanical cotton harvester that has ever been 
brought forth. Today, there are no mechanical cotton pickers on 


the market and due to the complexity of these machines they are 
naturally very expensive. Nobody is offexmg a mechanical cotton 
pickei for sale at this time, but when they do put them on the 
market as I have stated, they will be rather expensive There are 
medianical cotton pickers that will pick about 90 percent or possibly 
95 percent of the cotton from the plant, but it will leave say 5 percent 
of the cotton on the ground and 5 percent m the bolls. The grade of 
the lint cotton that is picked by the mechanical cotton picker is from 
one to three grades down, and in the Delta, where we specialize on 
staples, a loss in the grade in the staple cotton is much more severe 
than it is with the shorter staples. Cotton Imt that is down one or two 
trades will cause such a loss that we could not afford to sustain it. 

Mr Sparkman. Are we iustified in drawing the conclusion trom 
what you say that vou do not regard the mechanized cotton choppers 
and pickers as a very great threat to farm labor? ^ ^i . • 

Mr McNamara. I do not. We do not have a picker yet that is 
on the market, and according to my opinion, we have a long ways to 
eo from the standpoint of plant breeding and mechanical development 
in order to make the picker work successfully. Of course, if some- 
one can develop a new method of removing trash, dirt and stems 
from the cotton that would make a staple satisfactory to the mills 
and to all concerned, then I think that the mechanical flicker has 
more possibilities than it does at the present time. There is another 
thing to be considered, when fields are wet and soggy and muddy, the 
hea^T mechanical equipment cannot operate m such fields. And m 
the Delta where the cotton is tall and rank and weeds and grass are 
very prevalent, I think the mechanical picker will find more use m 
other areas where the cotton is not so tall, much more quickly than 
it will in the Delta for the very practical reasons that i have ]ust 


Mr Sparkman. Your ideas as to the lowered man-hours necessai^ m 
the production of a small acreage of cotton are that it is brought 
about through more intensive or more mtensifaed tarmmg, is tnat 
correct ? 

Mr. McNamara. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Getting a bigger yield per acre i 

Mr. McNamara. Yes, sir. ^,,..1,19 

Mr. Sparkman. And the development of better breeds? 

Mr. McNamara Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And that is the big thing that your station does 
or is engaged in doing? 

Mr. McNamara. Yes, sir; that is what we specialize m. 

Mr Sparkman. It is your idea that the better seed that you are pro- 
ducing down there is having a greater effect on farm labor, by the im- 
proved breeds and more intensified farming, than mechanization m 
the cotton fields ? i n j 

Mr McNamara. Yes, sir; in the manner that we have handled 
the situation, we believe that the mechanization that has taken place 
in the Delta has not resulted in throwing people out of employment 
because we have had to set up a higher standard of wages to operate 
and to maintain this mechanical equipment that we have put into use. 


Most plantations that have mechanical equipment now maintain a 
shop and they have these people employed the year round on a 
monthly basis to maintain this mechanical equipment. Another thing 
is that since the decrease in the cotton acreage and the increase in 
other acreage, other crops have been planted and livestock in that area 
has increased tremendously in the last 5 years, and just how nuich 
more employment people have gained in caring for this livestock and 
feeding it and building fences and houses and so on. I don't know, 
but it is appreciable. 

Mr. Sparkman. It has given you a diversified crop system at least ? 
Mr. McNamara. Yes, sir ; and it keeps people more nearly employed 
the year around than with just the one crop. 

The Chairman. Do you have much outgo of labor in your com- 
munity, say from the Delta into the migrant class ? 

Mr. McNamara. That would be just a guess on my part, but I would 
say from what I know personally that the labor that had migrated 
from the Delta has gone to the large cities. What I do know about 
it is, I know that lots of them go to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, and 
Detroit. That is the path out of the Delta. 

Mr. Curtis. How much has your corn production increased in the 
last 5 years? 

Mr. McNamara. Our corn production has not increased as much 
as we would like to see it, but we think we are on the threshold of in- 
creasing our corn production very greatly. 

Mr. Curtis. What amount have vou increased vour hoo- Droduc- 
tion? ' ' *" ^ 

Mr. McNamara. .That would be another guess on my part, but I 
would say at least 100 percent. 

Mr. Curtis. I was very much interested in what vou had to say 
about the increased production in s])ite of the fact that there had beeii 
a reduction of your acreage. In relation to the crop control program, 
do you feel that it would serve the general good to make the reduc- 
tions not on an acreage basis but on a unit basis, such as a bushel of 
corn or a pound of cotton and so on. 

Mr. McNamara. That is too deep for me. I am not sure which I 
would say, but here is what has happened. We did the practical 
thing in the Delta that folks would do anywhere else in the country. 
We had 7G acres out of every 100 in cotton in 1929, and they told us 
we could grow 44, and so, naturally, we put our cotton on our good 
land — cotton was our money crop, so we put it on our good land — 
and I think that practice has happened all over the United States in 
relation to the crop control regardless of whether it was corn or wheat 
or whatnot; I assume that you have the right to plant your best 
land to your money crop. 

Mr. Curtis. It has happened very markedly with corn. The Iowa 
people are planting fewer acres m corn and^ they are raising nnich 
more corn. IVIy State of Nebraska is not as good a corn State, and 
we can't find enough corn to feed our chickens and pigs, and I won- 
dered what you thought about the restrictions in the farm control 
plan to make it units instead of acres. 


Mr. McXamara. AVell. tliat is just the way it has worked out, and 
I think all the fanners all over the coiuitry have followed out that 
general idea that I have spoken of. 

Mr. Sparkmax. What if our cotton crop were reduced to nnie 
million bales as sufitzested by Dr. Vance on yesterday — what would 
happen in your section? t, . 

Mr. McNamara. AVe would have trouble, and I would not like to 
predict what it would amount to. Cotton is and always has been 
our major cash crop, and when vou take that away from the people, 
you will have trouble, and it would be a very serious thing indeed 
with us. 

Mr. Sparkiman. That is all. 

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. McNamara, and we 
will have vour full statement inserted in the record. 

The Chairman. All right, sir; we thank you. 

(Thereupon, ;Mr. McNamara was excused.) 


Mr. Curtis. State your full name for the record, please. 
Mr. MiTCHEix. H. L. Mitchell. , 

Mr. Curtis. And you represent the Southern Tenant Farmers 
Union? , 

Mr. Mitchell. Yes, sir ; I represent the Southern Tenant 1^ armers 


Mr. Curtis. How many members do you have ( 

organization of southern tenant farmers' union 

Mr. Mitchell. We have approximately 40,000 members located in 
Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee. 

Mr. Curtis. Speak a little louder so that the committee can hear 
you. When was your organization started? 

Mr. Mitchell. In July of 1934. 

Mr. Curtis. Is it a labor union or a farmers' union? 

Mr. Mitchell. It is a kind of a cross between the two. I would say. 
Our work is largely of an educational nature among these groups of 
people who are badly in need of it. 

Mr. Curtis. Are you affiliated with any other organization ? 

Mr. Mitchell. We are not at the present time affiliated with any 
other group. AVe are independent. 

Mr. Curtis. And who is the president of your group? 

Mr. Mitchell. Mr. J. R. Butler, formerly of Arkansas, is president 
of it. Our headquarters are located at Memphis. Tenn. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, what type of people are in your organization? 
Please tell us where they are'from and what these people do. 

Mr. Mitchell. These people are sharecroppers, tenant farmers, 
and farm laborers. In the early days when we first started this 
organization, some 90 percent of the members were tenant farmers 


or sharecroppers. Today over 75 percent are day laborers ; there has 
been a considerable change in the character of our membership. 

Mr. Curtis. What brought about the formation of your organiza- 
tion ; what were the reasons back of it ? 

Mr. Mitchell. It was largely due to the starting of the acreage- 
reduction program under the A. A. A. in 1934. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, Mr. Mitchell, I have carefully read and reread 
your statement,^ copies of which you have submitted to the committee, 
and it seems that you have some good suggestions and that you have 
given thought to your statement. Wliat governmental activities do 
you feel there should be in order to relieve the situation in regard to 
the people that you represent ? 

Mr. Mitchell. I think that the most helpful thing to the people 
that our organization represents is the program of the Farm Security 
Administration, and I would like to see that program extended and 
developed along the lines of perhaps the establishment of labor 
homes in and near large agricultural and industrial areas where 
people could get some seasonal employment in either industry or 

Mr. OsMERs. If I may interrupt at this point, what is a labor 
home, in your opinion? 

Mr, Mitchell. The idea is a small house with perhaps a little 
tract of land where they could raise some subsistence food crop to 
supplement whatever income they could get. 

Mr. Curtis. I notice in reading your paper that you state that the 
A. A. A. program, as it operated, has moved your people from the 
soil. Will you explain in detail just a little bit about that? 

Mr. Mitchell. Originally the A. A. A. program was to provide 
benefits to all who are interested in the crops. The tendency has been 
to get away from sharecropping and tenant farming and to adopt 
a wage-labor system, particularly on the larger plantations in and 
near industrial centers or large centers of population. 

Mr. Curtis. You are speaking of cotton plantations? 

Mr. Mitchell. Yes, sir; in particular. 

Mr. Curtis. Please be more specific. What features of the pro- 
gram have tended to eliminate sharecroppers or farm tenants and put 
it on a basis of the farm laborer working for wages and deprive 
them of their homes? 


Mr. Mitchell. Increased mechanization has gone hand in hand 
with this new program. The Government payments, in some meas- 
ure, have provided capital to buy the machinery and the machinery, 
of course, deprives a large number of these people of labor. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you mean to say that the Government payments 
coming to a certain sized plantation so fit into the picture that it 
was to the financial advantage of the owner to do all of the farming 
and hire help rather than rent his land and share the Government 
payments? Is that what you meant? 

1 See p. 626. 


Mr Mitchell. I think so. And I think, too, that it might be 
said on the part of the landowner that it is more economical and 
makes for efficiency to operate under a wage-labor system. 

Mr Curtis I am sure that all of us connected with that program 
had no intention of working a hardship on the sharecroppers or the 
farm tenants— at least, that is my feeling. Do you have any specihc 
recommendations to make about the administration ot the farm pro- 
gram that would tend to eliminate that situation? 

Mr Mitchell. Particularly I think that the minimum wage law 
should be applied to all of these various crops that the (jovernment 
is placing subsidies on. For instance, I don't think that a tiat mini- 
mum wage would be applicable to all types of agricultural labor 
throughout the country, but I think that it would have to be on the 
basis of crops and regions; I think that hearings should be held on 
each crop or in each region and after such hearings that a rate ot 
pay be determined in each area as a prerequisite for the sharing m these 
Government benefit payments. 

Mr Curtis Is the purpose of that recommendation to make an 
inducement to rent the land to the tenants, or is it primarily to raise 
the wages, or both ? 1-4.1 

Mr Mitchell. It might have the effect of doing either, but the 
entire trend is toward day labor, and I think it would raise the 
standards of living by providing a little higher wage. We heard 
one witness here during this hearing testify relative to wage rates or 
with reference to rates of pay for agricultural workers, to the effect 
that in a certain locality in the South that they were paying 40 to 60 
cents a hundred for picking cotton. In my particular territory the 
wage rates have been considerably higher. About the lowest that 
has been paid for cotton picking is 75 cents, with a dollar as the 
maximum rate. . . 

Mr. Curtis. Now, you understand, of course, that this is an investi- 
gation on the migration question ? 

Mr. Mitchell. Yes, sir. 


Mr. Curtis. The movement from one State to another of destitute 
persons, and many of them are comparatively homeless and Stateless. 
Can you say something of your membership % 

Mr. Mitchell. In addition to the 40,000 members that we have 
now, during the past 6 years, there have been over 100,000 enroll- 
ments in the organization, and many of them have migrated to other 
States— we have heard from them as far away as California. 
Another source of migration of our membership is from the farm to 
the town or the city where they live in the slum sections of the town. 
I know that is particularly true in the city of Memphis, Tenn., where 
there are some 30,000 former farm families who each year get a little 
work in the fields. 

Mr. Curtis. Can we infer then that perhaps about 60,000 people 
who have at some time belonged to your organization are gone from 
your territory and at least that many of them have contributed to this 
problem of people wandering around trying to get located ? 


Mr. Mitchell. I think that is quite true. As I said in my state- 
ment, however, not 1 out of 10 that has })een displaced has made it 
to California. Man}' of them are wandering up and down the high- 
ways in the South, particularly in the State of Texas; there is a 
large number there. 

Mr. Curtis. I assure you that youi' full statement will be given 
full consideration and that it will be a valuable contribution to the 

Mr. Mitchell. I Avould like also to present a statement on behalf 
of Mr. John Rust, the inventor of the cotton-picking machine, who 
had intended to be at this hearing but who regrets that he is unable 
to attend. I would like to read it into the record, if I may. 

Mr. Sparkman. How long is it? 

Mr. jNIitchell. It is a very short statement, about 3 images. 

JNIr. Sparkman. You are going to furnish a copy of that statement 
to the reporter to be incorporated into the record, just as jour written 
testimony, aren't you? 

]Mr. Mitchell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you think it is necessary to read it. under those 
circumstances ? 

Mr. Mitchell. Well, it is up to you gentlemen. 

Mr. Sparkman. Is there any i)articular point that 3'ou want to 
get over? 

Mr. Mitchell. I wanted to give 3^011 his viewpoint. 

Mr. Sparkman. How long is it? 

Mr. Mitchell. It is 31/2 pages. 

Mr. Sparkman. Without any discourtesy to you and to Mr. Rust, 
we would prefer to have your statement and his statement in- 
serted in the record without the necessity of your reading them at 
this time, particularly in view of the fact that we are crowded for 
time to conclude this hearing today. 

Mr. Mitchell. All riglit ; I have attached Mr. RusCs written state- 
ment to my own written testimony. 

Mr. Sparkman. And it will be incorjjorated in the record by the 

(Whereupon Mr. Mitchell was excused.) 

Statement By H. L. Mitchetx. Soxtthern Tenant Farmers" Union. 

Memphis. Tenn. 

During the 10 years there has been a prondunced trend toward meehani- 
zatioti of cotton farming throughout the Southern States. In the Delta region 
along the Mississippi River, where the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union was 
first organized and has operated for the past 6 years this south-wide trend 
has become the order of the day. This is reflected in the changing status of 
our memliers. In 1934. 9;» percent of the members of this organization were 
either tenant farmers or sharecroppers, but by 1937, 60 percent of the members 
had become day laborers, and today over 75 percent are working for wages on 
the cotton plantations of eastern Arkansas, southeast Missonri. and in the Delta 
of Mississippi. 

Tractors have displaced both men and mules. For every tractor put in use 
on a cotton plantation, 2 to 4 sharecropper families are displaced. Only a 
small portion of these dispossessed farmers have the means of transportation, 
the inclination, or the energy to take to the highways and head for the west 


coast. F«ir 1 family that lias nii^a-ated westward there are 10 who remain 
wirliiii a few miles of their former homes. They have moved into the crowded 
slums of the cities and towns, there to join the ranks of the unemployed seeking 
to get on Work Projects Administration. During the chopping and picking 
season some employment is found on the cotton plantations nearby. In centers 
such as the city of Memphis thousands of these workers are transported by 
truck to and fi'oni the fields daily during the rush season. 

Some plantation owners, especially those in more remote areas where this 
abundant supply of labor is not available, have found it advisable to maintain 
a numlier of fjunilies on the land who work a .small crop on the shares and are 
employed by the owner for wages when needed. 

Another important factoi' making for displacement of farm lalior is the I'e- 
strictioii of cotton production nnder the Agricultural Adjustment Administra- 
tion. Theoretically, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration was designed 
to operate in such a manner that the benefits of limiting the number of acres 
planted to cotton would be shared equally by sharecroppers and tenants as well 
as the owners of the land. However, it has had an opposite effect as far as 
farm labor is concerned. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration has en- 
couraged the expansion of the holdings of land by coriwrations, absentee land- 
lords, as well as individual operators. Ir has operated to throw out addi- 
tional thousands of tenants and sharecroppers, and the Government subsidy 
payments have proved a means of enabling owners to purchase more tractors 
and other improved farm machinery. 

Besides the migration of these displaced sharecroppers and tenants from 
the rural areas to the towns and cities of the South, there has been another 
decided trend away from the rich fertile lands to the poorer mountainous 
sections. In a special study made in early 1939 by Mr. Bruce Melvin of the 
Research Division of the Work Projects Administration, it was shown tliat an 
almost exact ratio of the decline in farm population in the coastal plains 
counties was accounted for in the increase in population in the mountain 
counties of western North Carolina. This is also true of the hill sections of 
Arkansas. People who formerly came down from the Ozarks to the eastern 
Arkansas Delta are finding it impossible to secure land upon which to make 
crops. They are going back to their former homes, there to make subsistence 
crops on worn-out lands supplementing their living with an occasional odd job 
01- a shift on Work Projects Administration. 

There are many other special areas in the Southeastern States where the 
displacement of farm labor has become particularly acute. In the black belt 
of Alabama landowners are going in for livestock raising, turning their former 
cotton fields into pasturage, all of which may be desirable as a means of con- 
serving the natural resoiirces but is working a terrific hardship on the man at the 
bottom of the agricultural ladder. On August 2, I received a letter from a man 
in a town in the Tennessee River Valley who wrote me as follows : "The 
tenant farmers here in Lauderdale County, Ala., want to organize a tenant- 
farmers' union. We are being tractored off the farm by the wholesale, and we 
can't do anything about it unless we are organized." Here again the opera- 
tion of a Government program of great benefit to the Nation as a whole is 
working a hardship on the tenant farmers and sharecroppers. The Tennessee 
"Valley Authority bought up thousands of acres of the richest farm land in the 
Tennessee Valley. Tlie owners were well paid for their land but the people 
who worked it on the shares lost out. Recently I was talking to a young farm 
boy from this same area who told me he had been working on Work Projects 
Administration. He said he didn't like AVork Projects Administration — that 
when he asked for a private job, even when one was available, he could not 
get it because employers didn't want men who had been working for W^ork 
Projects Administration if they could get others. He said he would like to 
farm even though he might make less money than on Work Projects Admin- 
istration, but it was imposible to get land because some 20 men in his county 
owned all the land that the Teimessee Valley Authority didn't own and that 
they were farming it with tractors. 

This boy had never had a regular job other than Work Projects Administra- 
tion. He wanted to get a place where he could settle down and raise a 
family, but there was no place for him and there are thousands of others like 
him in the South who are rapidly becoming disillusioned with a democracy that 


offers no hope for the future. The most tragic figure in the South today is 
the displaced Negro sharecropper who often finds even relief jobs denied to 
him. In common with the poor white, he faces the same economic forces over 
which neither have any control and has the added disadvantage of belonging 
to a minority race subject to all of the disadvantages that have been his lot 
since he was given freedom without land upon which to earn a living. 

The rural social structure is breaking up, a new system of agriculture is 
emerging, and there is no place on the land for hundreds of thousands of 
farmers. There are many dangers for all America here. Potentially this is 
a fertile breeding ground for a real fifth column. There have been attempts by 
followers of European dictators to gain a foothold in the rural South and to 
take advantage of a desperate economic situation to spread their ideas, and 
I would not discount this menace. There have been many indications in the 
past that our people will follow a native demagogue who promises a measure 
of security. The promise of making every man a king found a ready response 
a few years ago, for the real source of the power of Huey Long in Louisiana 
and throughout the South was among the insecure farm people. 

In this time of world crisis the best defense that America can offer is a 
democracy that works. Here in the South, both whites and Negroes are dis- 
franchised by the poll-tax laws, there are no means of political expression open 
to the vast majority. Elections are decided by a small minority of the citizens 
and, contrary to the commonly accepted belief, these poll-tax laws were not 
enacted just to prevent Negro domination. These laws were adopted long 
after the days of reconstruction, and were placed in the State constitutions 
as a means of stemming a tide of revolt at the ballot box by the poor white 
farmers who were finding expression of their hopes and desii-es in the Populist 
movement in the nineties. 

In the present crisis another great danger lies in the suppression of civil 
liberties by local and State vigilante organizations or groups who may seize 
this moment to suppress any attempt to correct social injustices and thus aid 
the enemy by destroying the essentials of American democracy. The revival of 
the Ku Klux Klan as a weapon to fight labor organizations in certain sections 
is an indication of what may happen all over the South if intelligent people do 
not maintain a spirit of tolerance that will permit individual freedom of thought 
and action. 

The greatest need in the South today is education of its citizens. The measure 
providing Federal aid for education is a step in the right direction and should 
be extended. The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union considers its organization 
primarily an educational force, and a new understanding of problems its members 
face in a changing world have been inculcated during its years of organization. 

The program of the Farm Security Administration of rehabilitation of farm 
families is a ray of hope for the dispossessed. The model written contract, such 
as has been developed by this agency for the protection of its clients as well as 
the owners of land upon which they live, needs to be put in use by private indi- 
viduals working and operating farm land throughout the South. Likewise, the 
right of self-organization among farm laborers ought to be protected just as this 
right is guaranteed industrial workers. We are witnessing the development of 
the factory farm in the South and ultimately the establishment of collective 
bargaining between farm operators and wage workers, with contractual relations 
entered into between representatives of the workers and employers, must come 
if we are to continue a free democracy. 

Likewise, Congress should enact a measure providing for the payment of mini- 
mum wages as prerequisite for sharing in Government benefit payments under the 
crop-control measures. Such a minimum wage for agricultural labor should be 
based on a wage scale to be set in the various crops and regions after public hear- 
ings with representatives of owners and workers representing their views. Obvi- 
ously, no flat rate of pay applicable to the entire country would be practical. 

In reestablishing people on the land we have to recognize the economic factors 
and trends and realize that there is no permanent place in agriculture for hun- 
dreds of thousands of farm families who have been or who will be displaced by 
mechanization and restriction of crop production. The process of social readjust- 
ment cannot be overcome by a panacea, and the problem must be attacked on 
many fronts. There is great need in the South today for both urban and rural 
slum clearance. As a part of our national defense, a program for the construe- 


tion of needed labor homes ought to be undertaken. Thousands of the displaced 
farm laborers could be put to work building their own homes in locations adjacent 
to agricultural, as well as industrial, centers where they might secure seasonal 
employment. Also, if small tracts of land were available to each family, sub- 
sistence crops could be raised to supplement income earned in factories or fields. 

Hand in hand with such a construction program of labor homes, provision 
should be made for the development of small industries in rural towns and com- 
munities that would provide jobs for farm people and thus prevent the break-up 
of community life. There are many small industries for whose products there 
is a market that local, public-spirited citizens and cooperative associations could 
develop if capital was made available. In advocating the development of local 
industries I have no intention of supporting the subsidy of fly-by-night industry, 
such as has been undertaken in the State of Mississippi under that program of 
balancing agriculture with industry. 

As a part of national defense, there should be more coordination of both 
Government and private agencies who are seeking in their various fields to aid 
in the solution of the pressing problems. The ultimate objective of all is the 
development of a sound social economy that will demonstrate effectiveness of 
American democracy over any form of dictatorship, native or foreign. 

Statement bt John Rust, Co-inventoe of the Cotton Picker 

In the last few years there has been considerable comment in the press 
concerning the possibility of the cotton picker disrupting the southern economy. 
My brother and I feel that this danger has been overemphasized. Nevertheless, 
our position is that we are willing to do whatever we can within reason to 
help bridge the transition from the sharecropper system to mechanized cotton 
growing ; and in fact we have set up a foundation for this purpose. 

In view of the tremendous saving of machine harvesting over hand picking, 
especially in heavy-yield territory, it appears that the cotton grower will be 
compelled by economic pressure to go in for completely mechanized farming at 
the earliest opportunity if he is to withstand the competition from foreign 
growers and substitute fibers. 

Even so, it seems that the addition of the cotton-picking machine to the 
present equipment for power farming will not have a sudden effect on the 
situation unless economic conditions should demand quick mechanization of 
cotton production as a part of the defense program. In that event the problem 
of unemployment would not be involved. 

Aside from the possibility of such demands by our national-defense program, 
it probably would take a period of 10 to 15 years to more or less complete the 
transition to mechanized cotton growing. Tractors are already being sold in 
larger and larger quantities to cotton growers throughout the south, and we 
have found that our best prospects for cotton pickers are planters who have 
already tractorized their farms and abandoned the sharecropper system in favor 
of the wages system of farming. Therefore, it appears that the cotton picker, 
instead of upsetting the economy of the South, will simply fill in the gap of 
mechanized production which is already taking place on a wide scale. 

It is generally known that power machinery, when applied to the farm, 
tends to eliminate the necessity for migratory labor as witnessed by the tractor 
and combine equipment in the wheat belt. Before the advent of the combine, 
the wheat harvest was one of the principle jobs looked forward to by the 
migratory workers. Now that is practically a thing of the past. 

John Steinbeck, in his Grapes of Wrath, has given us a graphic picture of 
the tractor turning sharecroppers into migratory workers. After the share- 
cropper is tractored off the land, cotton picking will remain largely a job for 
migratory workers until the cotton harvester fills this mechanical gap as the 
combine did in the wheat fields. Wherever cotton is already being grown 
with day labor, the cotton picking machine will simply eliminate the necessity 
for additional (migratory) labor during the picking season. 

Inventions are not designed primarily to create jobs, but to save labor. How- 
ever, inventions as a whole have created more jobs than they destroyed. In the 


case of the cotton-picking macliine. labm- will be needed to manufacture, sell, 
service, and operate this new equipment. But it is not claimed that all the 
sharecroppers and day laborei-s who will eventually l»e replaced by the machine 
in the cotton fields will be absorbed in the mamifacture and distribution of these 

There is the possibility of unemployed sharecroppers getting together in co- 
operatives and acquiring machinery to grow cotton on a cooperative basis as is 
already being done under suiiei-vision of the Farm Security Administration. 
However, if the tremendous national-defense pre gram just now beginning ab- 
sorbs as many meti as anticipated, we will probably have a shortage of labor 
and the cotton picker will be needed more than ever before. We may soon be 
crying for these machines to harvest our cotton lest it waste in the fields. In 
view of this, we expect now that the cottoji picker will be received by the entire 
Nation with enthusiasm rather than with misgivings about a possible economic 
disruption. It seems to me that it is just a matter of time until practically all 
the cotton grown on land suitable for tractor use will be mechanized the same 
as wheat and other basic crops. 

Our machine will reduce the costs and make possible the production of cotton 
in greater abiuidance. The distribution of this abundance is something else. It 
is a part of the general condition of widespread poverty in the midst of plenty. 


Mr. Parsons. AVill you state votii" nanie for the record ? 

Mr. Snell. Ben Snell. 

]Mr. Parsons. What is your address? 

]Mr. Snell. 107 Kansas vStreet. ^lontoomerv, Ala. 

Mr. Parsons. Where were you born ? 

Mr. Snell. Prattville, Ala! 

Mr. Parsons. When ? 

Mr. Snell. 1894. 

Mr. Parsons. How larae a town is Prattville. Ala., and what is the 
nature of the industries there? 

Mr. Snell. A town of around 2.r>0(). cotton mill and textile work 
and Continental Gin Co. 

Mr. Parsons. They bring- the cotton in and it is ginned there and 
milled there, and do they then spin it there ? 

INIr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Did you go to school in Prattville? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. Did yon gTaduate from the eighth grade? 

Mr. Snell. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. When did you start to work? 

Mr. Sneil. When I was around lo years old. 

Mr. Parsons. About what grade were you in then ? 

Mr. Snell. I reached w'hat you might call the fifth grade, I guess. 

Mr. Parsons. Why did you go to work at that time ? 

Mr. Snell. We had a large family and my people had to have 
me work to help them along. 

Mr. Parsons. And you have several brothers and sisters, do you? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Are you married? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Have you any children? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 


Mr. Parsons. How many? 

Mr. Snell. Six. 

Mr. Parsons. Are they all living? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long did you work in the cotton mill? 

Mr. Snell. Do yon mean all told? 

Mr. Persons. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Snell. Around 28 to 30 years, I imagine. 

Mr. Parsons. And you started when you were 13 years old? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons, How nuich did you make when you first started 
working in the mill ? 

Mr. Snell. The first work I did in the mill I made 35 cents a 

Mr. Parsons. When did vou quit working in the mill? 

Mr. Snell. Around 1935,' I think. 

Mr. Parsons. What were you making then per day? 

Mr. Snell. Around $2.50.' 

Mr. Parsons. How many days' work in. the year would you get at 
$2.j)0 per day? 

Mr. Snell. Well, sometimes it varied; sometimes you would get 
about two-thirds time and sometimes you might not get that much. 

Mr. Parsons. Was that two-thirds of a year? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Pars( Ns. That was S months? 

Mr. Snell. Something like that. 

Ml-. Parsons. And you had fairly good earnings if you worked 
that many months out of the year? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Why did you quit the mill? 

Mr. Snell. I got disabled. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of disability? 

Mr. Snell. I had heart trouble and high blood pressure, and I 
believe that was in 1935. 

Mr. Parsons. What did you do when you quit the mill? 

"Mr. Snell. When I quit the mill, I went on the R, F. C. when it 
first came in. 

Mr. Par-ons. On the what? 

Mr. Snell. The mill had practically shut down, and I was doing 
just most any kind of work that I could get to do, and after I quit 
the mill and went to work on the R. F. C. when it came in, I went to 
work on it in Autauga County wdien it came in. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you mean the R. F. C? 

Mr. Snell. Yes. sir ; it w^as the R. F. C. ; I think that is what they 
called it when it came in. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you mean relief? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What did they pay you ? 

Mr. Snell. Seventy-five cents a day. 

Mr. Parsons. What were you required to do for that 75 cents a day ? 


Mr. Snell. We worked on the public roads, loaded dirt, and would 
dig ditches and do things such as that. 

Mr. Parsons. Were those projects made up by the local, municipal, 
city, county, and State governments? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir; I think they were, and I think that they would 
put up so much money and then the Federal Government would put 
up so much aid. 

Mr. Parsons. You think that the local governments would put up a 
certain amount and the Federal Government would then put up so 
much aid? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How many days a week did you work? 

Mr. Snell. Four. 

Mr. Parsons. Four days per week ? 

Mr. Snell. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. How many hours per day did you work? 

Mr. Snell. Eight hours, I think. 

Mr. Parsons. 32 hours per week ? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How long were you on relief ? 

Mr. Snell. I worked at that until the C. W. A. came in, about 1936, 
I imagine it was, and then I went to work on it then. 

Mr. Parsons. At what wage? 

Mr. Snell. At $9 a week. 

Mr. Parsons. At $9 per week? 

Mr. Snell. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. You were working out what relief checks or funds or 
groceries were given you? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. You got this in cash or in kind ? 

Mr. Snell. We got it in cash to start with, and later on we would 
get grocery orders, and later, when the C. W. A. came in, that was cash, 

Mr. Parsons. Which do you think is better for the relief clients over 
a long-range program, to pay him in cash or groceries or the things 
that he needs ? 

Mr. Snell. Well, it is according to the way that they spend it. If 
they would spend it rightly, the cash is better, but some people would 
not spend it rightly. 

Mr. Parsons. You have a wife and several children. How are 
they getting along ? 

Mr. Snell. I am on relief now. 

Mr. Parsons. You are on relief now ? 

Mr. Snell. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. Are any of the other members of your family work- 
ing anywhere ? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You said that you had several brothers and sisters, 
did you not? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What has been their record for work in the mills or 
upon relief, or in private employment; will you explain to the com- 
mittee about that? 


Mr. Snell. I have one brother that is at present working in the 
cotton mill at Prattville, and he has worked there practically all the 
time when the mill runs; and I have another brother at Prattville 
who is at present working on the W. P. A., and I have two brothers 
living here that work on the W. P. A. as truck drivers. 

Mr. Parsons. So for other members of your family, mcludmg 
yourself, of the original family, four are on relief or on W. P. A., 
and one on millwork? 

Mr. Snell. Yes. 

Mr. Parsons. Are they qualified to do any other work besides 
millwork or W. P. A. work? 

Mr. Snell. They can do carpenter work. 

Mr. Parsons. Carpenter work? 

Mr. Snell. Some of them can ; and truck driving. 

Mr. Parsons. Has there been any building in the vicinity where 
you have lived or elsewhere? 

Mr. Snell. Not so much until recently. 

Mr. Parsons. I understand your wife has some brothers and sisters 
also. What are thev doing at the present time ? 

]\Ir. Snell. She lias one brother that is working in the cotton mill 
at AVetumpka, Ala., and one brother working at the Selma Manu- 
facturing Co. here— that is a cotton mill— and she has one brother on 
the W. P. A. here, and one brother in Ohio, and I don't know what 
he is doing up there in Ohio. 

Mr. Parsons. They have had very much the same experience that 
you have had? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You are receiving direct relief? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You are not working on the W. P. A. ? 

Mr. Snell. No, sir. 

JNIr. Parsons. Are any of the direct members of your family work- 
ing on the W. P. A., sons or daughters? 

Mr. Snell. Not of my immediate family; no, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. With the experience that j^ou have had with the mill 
and your family, do you feel that other work besides millwork must 
be provided for your section of the country here if the population is 
to be retained or stabilized? 

Mr. Snell. Now, if the cotton mills could arrange to run full time, 
they could live all right, but the way they are running; no. Some- 
times they pick up and run pretty well, and then they go on short 
time again, or shut down entirely, and you have to then go some- 
where else or do something else. The mills would have to run regu- 
lar for us to make a go of it. 

Mr. Parsons. You would have to have a considerable increase in 
the cotton consumption here in the United States to provide full- 
time work for the mill ? 

Mr. Snell. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. That's all, Mr. Chairman, 

The Chairman. That's all. Thank you very much. 
(Thereupon Mr. Snell was excused.) 

260370— 40— pt. 2 16 


Mr. Parsons. That is a typical family, in this territory, it seems 
to me, and I think it was rather valuable to iiet a rather complete 
picture of it. 


Mr. OsMERS. Give your name to the reporter. 

Professor Patterson. F. D. Patterson. 

Mr. OsMERS. You are head of the Tuskegee Instituted 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. OsMERs. You have furnished us with co])ies of your state- 
ment, and would you mind reading that statement to the committee — 
it is short. 


Professor Patterson (reading). Assuming there is available to the 
committee all of the necessary data to indicate the numerical signifi- 
cance of Negro migration. I shall confine this brief statement to opin- 
ions bearing on some of the socio-economic aspects involved. These 
opinions are based in part on personal observation and in part on dis- 
cussions of the subject appearing in the literature and the public 

It may be said at the outset that Negro migration from rural to 
urban centers is in part related to those general causes which have 
seen this Nation change from a predominantly rural to predcmii- 
nantly urban one since 1880. In the South this movement on the 
part of the Negro people is closely tied up with those conditions 
which have made farming increasingly unpopidar for the tenant 
and small operator. Some of those factors have been increased 
mechanization, loss of soil fertility, and loss of world markets for the 
South's main croj), cotton. 

Those causes which have been specifically identifiable with Negro 
migration have been periodic invitations from the West and North 
to Negro laborers during times of shortage, and more recently, seasonal 
demands for migratory workers. 

It seems safe to say that although this migration has gone in waves 
it has never completely stopped since the major movement which 
occurred in the decade between 1920-30. 

Once Negroes were introduced into other sections in numbers, many 
have foiincl advantages even on relief and W. P. A. to what they have 
experienced in the remote rural areas. Some of these advantages have 
appeared in a wider occupational spread, higher w^ages, superior edu- 
cational facilities for their children, greater freedom to enjoy recre- 
ational facilities such as parks, playgrounds, and theaters; greater 
security through freedom from mob violence and justice in the courts. 
All of these factors have, in my opinion, figured in the constant move- 
ment from the South to other sections. Young men especially have 
been encouraged to migrate in search of employment and higher wages. 


Obviously many liave been disappointed diu-ing the last few years. 
This has caused a return of Ne<jroes to the South m small numbers. 

Anv action which is taken to improve any or all of the above con- 
ditions will, in my opinion, decrease the desire to migrate out of the 
South I^Ianv Negroes prefer to remain in the South if conditions 
under which they live will offer them increasingly the opportunity to 
live normal lives. Manv no doubt do remain because of uncertainty 
as to what they mav expect elsewhere. The tendency to strive con- 
stantly to better their lot should be met by attempts to provide the 
Neo-ro people with these aspects of living which democracy has taught 
all'^to expect and which are guaranteed by the Constitution. Ihe 
Neo-ro, as Odum, of the University of North Carolina, puts it, desires 
to be treated as "normal, integral, and continuing" parts of the South. 
When so treated they shall become assets of great value. _ . 

Too many are now permitted to remain or become liabilities be- 
cause of their ignorance, high death rates, and low productive capacity. 
These are the inevitable outcomes of few and inadequate educiitional 
facilities, poor housing, and insanitary environment. 1 Reading 


^Ir OsMERS. Thank you very much. This committee, as you pos- 
sibly know, has been appointed by Congress to investigate the inter- 
state migration of destitute citizens. Now, we have found that m 
the South, particularly, and to some extent in the North, the Negro 
miorant is a very important part of the problem, if not the most im- 
portant part, in the eastern part of the United States. That brings 
us up to the quetsion of what to do with them, where they start, and 
whether they should go and where they should go, and I wonder it 
you had any remarks that you would care to make along those lines— 
where the Federal pressure should be put— should it be put at where 
they are originally or should we encourage migration ? 

Professor Patterson. I don't feel that it should be encouraged. I 
doubt very seriously if there can be an effective immediate remedy to 
stop it. I think that it may be slowed up by improving some of the 
things which I have tried to indicate that probably play an important 

positive role. . ,, i xt 

Mr. OsMERS. Would you say that the basic reason tor the Negro mi- 
gration from the South" to the' North was economic ? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir; I would say it was economic. 

Mr. OsMERS. It has been noted in New York City, for example— 
this committee has just come from hearings there— that a considerable 
mimber of destitute Negroes in New York City are migrants. 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr, Osmers. Who have been looking for the gold-lined streets ot 
the big city: and, of course, they didn't find them. In what way, 
in your opinion, could we best help, practically, these people to stay 
on the land where they are— through public assistance or instructions 
or through tenant-purchase programs, or what I 

Professor Patterson. I think it is going to require a C()ml)ination 
of efforts and certainly education is basic, and anything which makes 


the ladder an easy one to climb from tenancy to ownership and will 
safeguard these farmers, particularly while they are trying to become 
owners, will be very helpful. 


Mr. OsMERs. Now, the health problem has been under discussion 
here today at some length. Do you have any views on the health 
problem particularly as it affects the Negro? 

Professor Patterson. The health problem among Negroes is one 
of the most serious problems confronting them, involving the high 
death rate, particularly in tuberculosis. That, I think, can be ex- 
plained in a number of ways. The general inadequacy of health 
programs as regards prevention, conditions of housing, state of nu- 
trition, all of which are predisposing factors to disease, and inade- 
quate incomes to afford medical services even when they are available. 

Our own institution has the only hospital in a radius of some 
fifty-odd miles which is available to Negroes, and most of those who 
come to us are absolutely unable financially to afford the treatment 
which they are seriously in need of, and you can see that many of 
them do not come, many of them die in the rural areas without the 
benefit of physicians. Fully 90 percent of the Negro mothers are de- 
livered in the tural areas by ignorant or untrained midwives so there is 
a very serious health aspect to the problem. 

Mr. OsMERs. Would you care to tell the committee anything about 
the work of the Tuskegee Institute, your institute, toward develop- 
ing the kind of leadership that will help us? 


Professor Patterson. Of course, the philosophy of Tuskegee In- 
stitute through the years has been that of improving conditions par- 
ticularly in the remote rural areas and among the little skilled classes, 
looking toward mass adjustments and for that reason our program 
has concentrated on the training of agricultural workers and home 
demonstration people in the economic field and in rural education, 
and in nurse training, with a large number of trades to integrate the 
graduate into the community. 

Mr. Osmers. You say a large number of trades — do you mean 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir; mechanical, manipulation trades 
largely, about 23 of them. 

Mr. Osmers. I am interested in these mechanical and manipula- 
tions or manipulative trades — have they found employment and been 
productive ? 

Professor Patterson. We have had a rather varied experience. 
In the smaller areas and in the small towns they have been par- 
ticularly successful, because frequently they have constituted the 
only skilled labor, like plumbers, and mechanics, and brick masons, 
in those comnumities. In the larger cities, while they have been 
successful in the main, they have had labor union competition or ex- 
clusion from certain unions that has made it difficult. 


Mr. OsMERs. But, in the metropolitan New York area, where I live, 
it is a rarity to find a Negro cairying a union card regardless of his 
attainments, and it is a situation that might need some attention from 
the Federal Government in their laws. 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir ; it is very important. 

Mr. OsMERS. The entire Negro farm population of the South up to 
within very recent memory has depended upon King Cotton. Cotton 
has been the mainstay. Has your institution, or have you in your own 
travels, have you noticed any areas where diversification has been 
tried successfully? I believe that a great deal of time has been spent 
by your institution in developing some new uses for farm products? 
' Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. There have been no great results in 
that direction in the immediate area which we serve. I think it is veiy 
definitely true that a system like that advocated by the Farm Security 
Administration has grown rapidly in the last few years as a supple- 
ment to the cotton production, but cotton has still remained the main 
cash crop. Livestock raising is increasing in consideration, and there 
are some possibilities in that direction. How great they are, we don't 
know. It inevitably throws this section in competition with the other 
livestock-producing sections of the country. 

Mr. OsMERS. The cash income is still largely derived from cotton, 
but they are getting better subsistence through the use of other crops; 
is that right ? 

Professor Patferson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. And through the introduction of livestock and other 
such things? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir; I think so. 

Mr. OsMERS. If the Federal Government should cease a program of 
subsidizing the cotton growing in the United States, what would the 
effect of that be upon the economy of the South, in your opinion ? 

Professor Patterson. Well, I think it would possibly be disastrous 
if it were suddenly discontinued without the opportunity to develop a 
substitute which would require a period of years. 

Mr. OsMERS. I mention that because with unsettled world conditions 
as we have them today, the future of American cotton is very uncertain, 
and I think that we might all see a day when cotton will not be the 
mainstay in the South. 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. In which direction would you say that southern agri- 
culture should go if cotton fails as the mainstay ? 

Professor Patterson. That is very difficult. I think that it could 
hardly expect to move in the direction of a one-crop substitute such as 
we have had in the case of cotton, but I think there is some hope with a 
number of such crops, along with some small, decentralized industries. 
I am thinking particularly of small slash-pine industries where you 
could have agriculture and industry working in rather close coopera- 
tion, and possibly starch mills, from the sweet potato, would be another 
type of thing, and then with some chemurgic development, by which I 
mean with the Farm Chermurgic Foundation's encouragement in the 



Mr. OsMERS. You would say that the first effort shouhl be directed 
to the keeping of the possible migrant near his original home or his 
original place of birth or where he has spent his life? 

Professor Patterson. I think that is basic. 

Mr. OsMERS. Before we go back we hope to have an opportunity 
to see your institution at Tuskegee and we are trying to arrange our 
schedule in that way. 

Professor Patterson. Well, you are cordially invited. 

Mr. Curtis. In connection with your discussion of cotton. I am 
very much interested. It has been Estimated that if we double the 
price of raw cotton that is used in this country that we would increase 
the cost of a shirt about 5 cents. If something could be worked out 
on the basis of domestic consumption of cotton that would double 
your price, would it be a good thing for the South? 

Professor Patterson. Double the price to whom? 

Mr. Curtis. Double the price to the grower. 

Professor Patterson. By that, you mean that it would cost him 
twice as much to put it on the market ? 

Mr. Curtis. No; that we would pay him twice as much for it as 
he gets today. 

Professor Patterson. I should think that it would be worth while. 

Mr. Curtis. But that price would be confined only to that portion 
of the cotton used in this country. 

Professor Patterson. I think that is important because I don't 
believe we have anything like reached the peak of cotton consump- 
tion in this country. For instance, the cotton program announced or 
the program by which one cotton mattress is allowed for one rural 
family with 9 or 10 people, where as a matter of fact they need 10 
such mattresses to properly equip their home, would indicate a large 
use to be in existence for cotton and I hope that some plan may be 
worked out to that end. 

Mr. Curtis. I think that I made the statement at this hearing that 
the average family in my district needs $500 of cotton goods and 
can't buy it. 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. What is your enrollment in the Tuskegee Institute? 

Professor Patterson. Fourteen hundred is the college enrollment 
with 2,200 on the grounds. 

Mr. Parsons. Do vou conduct any extension schools elsewhere in 
the South? 

Mr. Patterson. We do not. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you bring these boys in from the various States 
and give them work there on your farm and so forth ? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir ; as far as it will go. 

Mr. Parsons. And you have some who will pay tuition ? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you get any aid from the State of Alabama? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir; Ave get a small appropriation from 
the State. 

Mr. Parsons. In your agricultural or economic work, do you get 
anything from the Federal Extension Service? 


Professor Patterson. Yes, sir; we get a small appropriation from 
those sources. . , . . , 

Mr. Parsons. Do you have any endowments from any nidividuals 
or from foundations? 

Professor Patterson. Our income comes chiefly from endowments 

and gifts. • • m <? 

Mr. Parsons. Are those gifts and endowments prnicipally from 

colored people? 

Professor Patterson. No. sir ; they are not. 

I^Ir. Parsons. What is your amnial budget per year? 

Professor Patterson. About a half million cash budget and about 
$900,000 gross. 

:Mr. Parsons. And the remainder of it is in the work budget ? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. I have never had the pleasure of going to your in- 
stitution, but I hope someday I can go over there. 

Professor Patterson. It is just 38 miles from here. 

Mr. Parsons. That is all. 

Mr. Sparka[An. Where were you reared? 

Professor Patterson. In Texas. 

Mr. Sparkman. Where were you educated? 

Professor Patterson. In Texas and Iowa and New York State. 

Mr. Sparkman. You were not a student at Tuskegee? 

Professor Patterson. No, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. I was interested in your discussion of the work 
at Tuskegee Institute. The country as a whole recognizes the fine 
program that it has carried on. I believe that it was the teaching of 
Booker T. Washington, wasn't it. that the Negro should seek to 
adjust himself to the best advantage, wherever he found himself? 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. He used to sav, "Let down vour bucket where you 

Professor Patterson. Yes, sir. He was talking to the white people 

Mr. Sparkman. That is what he told the Negroes, too. 

Professor Patterson. He was speaking in terms of the supply of 
the Negro labor available in the South in his Atlanta Exposition 

Mr. Sparkman. That's all I care to ask him. I think that he made 
a fine statement. 

The Chairman. Thank you for your contribution. It is very fine 

(Thereupon. Professor Patterson was excused.) 


The Chairman. Commissioner of Public Welfare of the State of 
Alabama — is that your proper designation? 
Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 


The Chairman. Do you have a written statement, and do you 
desire to read it or what are your wishes in the presentation of your 
testimony here today? 

Miss Dunn. I should like to make certain comments on my writ- 
ten testimony and also comment on the previous testimony and then 
to read a few extracts from my statement and interrupt myself to 
comment, if I may, and I hope to be interrupted by the committee 
as I go along. 

The Chairman. Suppose we say that you present your testimony 
here as you see fit. 

Miss Dunn. I am going to direct what I have to say to the relief 
and the welfare aspects of this problem of migration because you 
have had witnesses and will have others who are far better prepared 
to discuss the economics of the situation than I. 

Mr. Parsons. Were you connected with the F. E. E. A. when it was 
first introduced into the State of Alabama when first brought here by 
the Federal Government? 

Miss Du^"N. Yes, sir. I particularly want to make the observation 
that it seems to me that there has been a case made for continued migra- 
tion, the desirability and the advisability of it, but not necessarily for 
the migration of the destitute. If we are to have a balanced economy, 
it is well for us to think of our people moving on to other frontiers 
economically, but not necessarily that the migrant should be destitute 
when he moves. I remember that Di\ Vance particularly commented 
on the fact that migration is necessary for the South and if we 
are to migrate successfully, shall I say, so far as our participation 
in a national economy, greater efforts should be put into the training 
of those people who do migrate to other sections. [Reading:] 

In considering the problem that is in this region, which I might say 
is in many ways different from the New York region from where you 
came from your last hearing, I should like to point out two factors 
which should be considered which contribute to the seriousness of the 
migratory problem in this region. First, the States included in this 
hearing had few public welfare agencies State-wide in scope before the 
Federal Emergency Relief Administration extended its activities into 
this area. Most of the public-welfare departments are new, and in a 
sense, a byproduct of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. 

The second factor to be considered, and an important one, is that 
these States fall into the low-income group. Four States — Alabama, 
Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina — have the lowest per capita 
income in the United States (under $250), and the per capita income 
of the remaining five States included in this hearing along with other 
Southern States have the next lowest (between $250^ and $500). 

When the program of the Works Progress Administration was ini- 
tiated in 1935 to provide work for the able-bodied unemployed the 
responsibility for direct relief formerly granted through the Federal 
Emergency Relief Administration was returned to the States. This 
same year the Federal Social Security Act was passed providing grants- 

^ Reprint from Survey of Current Business, April 1940. Income Payments Per Capita. 


in-aicl to States for particular categories, namely, Old-Age Assistance. 
Aid to the Blind, and Aid to Dependent Cliildren. State departments 
of public welfare, created through the impetus of the Social Security 
Act, usually included legislation broad enough to permit the payment 
of relief to needy people who did not fall within these special federally 
matched categories. It is not surprising, however, that State and local 
exj^enditures liaA^e been confined largely to assistance matched by the 
Federal Government- It was only natural that these States first should 
direct their expenditures to those relief activities for which the Fed- 
eral Government had agreed to pay a part of the cost. And that, I 
think, is very basic to any consideration of our migratory problem in 
this section. 

Together with the recent development of public-welfare services 
the low per capita income in this section of the country must be con- 
sidered in measuring the progress that has been made in meeting the 
needs of our resident as well as nonresident population. A decade 
ago, it would be safe to say, none of the Southern States was putting 
as much as a million dollars of State and local funds into public out- 
door relief. Today, State and local expenditures for public out- 
door relief in most of the Southern States exceed the million dollar 
mark. For example, during the fiscal year 1938-39, Alabama spent 
for public- we] fare purposes $4,087,356.50, of which $1,358,516.04 was 
Federal; $1,595,080.93, State; and $1,123,759.53, local. And there I 
should like to call attention to the difference in the story that Com- 
missioner Adie told this committee and the one I must tell. His brief 
cited the fact that New York State spent $3,000,000 alone for the 
care of nonresidents. I say we spent practically that much for all 
types of relief. That does not mean that we are negligent of our poor 
as it might sound, but if I direct you again to the difference in the 
per capita wealth of the State of New York and the State of Alabama, 
I think that the deduction is evident there. New York per capita 
wealth runs over three and nearly four times that of Alabama but I 
do think in considering how far our Ioav income State has gone and 
can go in meeting the problem of relief to nonsettled persons it is 
important to watch the difference in expenditures by the States in 
the various areas. 

In spite of increased expenditures there is wide variance in the 
ability of States and localities to meet relief needs. This is further 
indicated in the inability of our Southern States to take advantage of 
the full amounts available to them from the Social Security Board for 
public assistance. I cite the following figures relative to the average 
payments for April 1940 - : Alabama, total average monthly payment, 
$10.43 ; social-security groups, $10.47 ; general relief, $9.93 ; for the nine 
Southern States represented at this hearing, total monthly average 
grant of relief of $10.88; social-security groups, $11.26; general relief, 
$8.29; the United States as a whole, total monthly relief grant, $22.88; 
social-security groups, $21.84 ; and general relief, $24.45. You will note 
that for the nine States you are considering in this hearing the aver- 
age grant of monthly relief is shown as approximately $10.88, whereas 

2 Averages based on figures from Social Security Bulletin, June 1940. 


nationally the fioure is $22.88, so you see it is just al)out double. Per- 
liaps it is well for me to pause to cite the problem that low-income 
States would present in a consideration of this kind by recalling- that 
when the Old Age Assistance Act was amended by Congress to make 
it possible for the Federal Government to match as much as $40 per 
month for those entitled to it. few States in the Union were able to take 
advantage of that increase from $30 to $40. So far as the South was 
concerned, the change was purely academic because we are now paying 
approximately $10 per aged person. More about that later. 

It is not surprising that States have usually limited their assistance 
to legal residents since general relief has been considered a State and 
local responsibility. 

Perhaps I should pause here to say that of this $4,000,000 that we 
spent last year in this State, less than 10 percent of it went to general 
relief other than our Federal assistance categories, and that 10 percent 
payable to both residents and nonresidents. 

Mr. OsMERS. Four hundred thousand dollars ? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. Community sentiment limits expenditures 
of local funds for relief to nonresidents when its own residents are cared 
for inadequately. Consequently, most of our Southern States admin- 
ister relief restricted primarily to people eligible for public assistance 
which is matched by the Federal Government. Even when general 
relief payments are made the nonresident is usually the last person 
aicted. It should be pointed out that this spread of public-relief ex- 
penditures does not mean that welfare administrators do not recognize 
the need of the nonresident as well as the resident. Every tax dollar, 
however, can be spread only so far. Obviously, the spread of the 
first dollar is to the resident. 

And again, I would like to reiterate that I do not think that you will 
find State welfare relief administrators resistant to nonresidents except 
as they are forced by the limitation of tax funds and the pressure of 
public sentiment to make the first expenditures to residents. 

This limitation of expenditures means that a person who leaves his 
own place of residence often has no legal claim on the public for as- 
sistance if he becomes destitute. Naturally this presents a serious 
problem not only to the individual but also to the community where 
he finds himself. 

We have had figures here at this hearing to show that the South has 
a large unsettled population and that it will possibly grow. 

Facing the problem in a broad sense, we must recognize that in a 
free nation so long as there are differences in economic opportunity 
from one part of the country to another, people will continue to move 
in an effort to better themselves. 

The courage and determined effort of the ])ioneer have always been 
considered the very essence of the American character. I would doubt 
that we are prepared now to say that since our physical frontiers are 
gone that these old virtues which made it impossible for an individual 
or a family to accept economic defeat passively, are no longer desir- 
able. Rather, must we recognize that the traditional impulse to find 
economic opportunity, wherever it may exist, is still a force for 
progress in this country. 


The trajzedy of tlie situation is that persons who find their former 
sources of income "one, either because of the exhaustion of a natural 
resource, a shift in the market for a particular product, a change in the 
system of land tenure, a too rapid increase in the population, or what- 
ever the reason may be, have either no place to turn or no intelligent 
direction in finding such opportunities as may exist. It is certainly to 
be hoped that out of the work of this connnittee there may come an 
understanding of the nature of the problem which will point the 
way to its solution. In the meantime, it seems to me that it is a step 
in the right direction that Congress has recognized, by the api)ointment 
of this connnittee the fact that there are many thousand families who 
have been forced by economic circumstances into the tragedy of aim- 
less Avandering on the road and many more whose present basis of live- 
lihood is so precarious that they may at any time be forced to become 
wanderers. The existence of such a group of aimless wanderers is a 
menace not only to the future of the individuals, especially of the 
children living such a life, but to the health, labor standards, and social 
institutions of any stable community. The problem will only be reme- 
died when there is a job for every able-bodied citizen and stable mar- 
kets which will give the farmer a fair price for his products. When 
that time comes these problems will tend to solve themselves just as 
they did in a measure during that period when our undeveloped 
w^estern lands absorbed those people wdiom the economy of the older 
areas could no longer support. 

In the meantime, we are faced with an immediate problem of 
individual and community welfare. Fiist, what measures can we 
take to reduce to a minimum the wandering of people without desti- 
nation with all of its attendant evils of hunger, ill health, inter- 
rupted education, and social disorganization? Second, what meas- 
ure can we take to relieve the need of those who have, despite such 
effort, been forced to leave their former homes? These are the two 
questions which people in the welfare field constantly ask themselves. 
Even though they recognize that the final answers rest with the 
economists, they believe, in this field as elsewhere, it is their respon- 
sibility to see that the burden of economic readjustment does not fall 
too heavily on innocent individuals who only ask a chance to make 
a living. 

And there I would, like to pause and emphasize a point. I do not 
believe that the average social worker thinks that he or she has the 
answer to the economic aspects of the problem, but I do believe that 
we should be and are committed to the necessity of seeing that the 
individual who is caught between the wheels of this changing economy 
does not suffer too seriously. I think that all through the testimony 
we have had * * * testimony to the inadequacy of opportuni- 
ties, particularly from the witnesses who. through their own stories 
of moving from State to State, have made a better case than I could 
possibly make. 

On the first point of discouraging the aimless migration of needy 
people, enormous strides have been made in the past several years. 
In 1931 and 1932 in many States a person who lost his job or 
his farm or his savings had nowhere to turn to keep his family 


from starvation except to beg charity from liis neighbors. Rather 
than admit defeat many a proud American preferred to take to the 
road in the hope that somewhere a job might be found. In these 
recent years the States and the Federal Government have initiated 
proirrams of public employment, insurance against the hazards of 
unemployment and old-age dependency, loans, and other forms of 
aid to farmers, assistance to widows with young children and othei-s 
who should not work, and some general public relief. 

Yotmg people coming of age in a time characterized by widespread 
unemployment have also found an outlet for their desire to make a 
place for themselves in the community through the Civilian Conser- 
vation Corps and the National Youth Administration programs, 
where formerly they were driven to the road by the boredom and 
frustration of dependence carried beyond ' the normal period of 
childhood. This further has served to reduce one of the largest 
groups of wanderers — the unattached young man. 

Even though we can take pride in certain achievements thei-e are 
still needy people in many States for whom no assistance is avail- 
able and many others who. while they are receiving sufficient aid to 
prevent starvation, are far from the objective described in the terms 
of '"decency and health. "" All forms of public assistance for the 
able-bodied should be temporary in nature, tidmg over the individual 
imtil the opportunity for self-support is agam available. If the 
job. the opportunity to farm, or other means of support is too long 
delayed, the individual either falls into a state of passive acceptance 
of an unsatisfactory world or sets out on the road in a last desperate 
effort to find that opportunity somewhere else. 

Perhaps Alabama's experience with the transient bureau financed 
by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in the early 1930*s 
wHll serve as illustrative of some of the existing problems. In 1933 
large niunbers of migratory workers were concentrated arotmd 
Muscle Shoals and the Wilson Dam area because of Govermnent 
activities in that section of the State. Following an intensive survey 
the Alabama Transient Bureau was organized as a division of the 
Alabama Relief Administration. 

In the order named the following divisions of the Alabama Tran- 
sient Bureau were set up : Muscle Shoals. Birmingham. Mobile, Mont- 
gomery, and Fort Morgan. The average relief given to families 
cared for in these centers was $20 per month and $14 to lone persons. 

Total transient cases registered Angust 1933 to November 1934 106,069 

Total individuals registered August 1933 to November 1934 121, 7-53 

Analysis of registration 

Total Total in- 

cases dividuals 

Federal transients; i 

Lone individuals 81,320 81,320 

Families 4,531 I 14.497 

State transients: 

Lone individuals IS. 123 IS. 123 

Families 2,095 I 7. S13 

Total... 106,069 i 121.753 

1 Two Years of Federal Relief in Alabama, Alabama Relief Administration pp. 74-77 (Wetumpka- 
Wetumpka Printing Co.). 


111 September 1935 when the Federal Emergency Eelief Adminis- 
tration discontinued its aid to transients, no public agency in the State 
was financially able to grant relief to nonresidents. In spite of the 
efforts of the newly created State and local departments of public 
welfare distressing situations arose in those sections where transient 
bureaus had been located. Since March 1938 the comity departments 
of public welfare have been authorized by the State department to 
assist sick and disabled transients in need of assistance. Despite this 
authorization relatively little assistance has been given to those per- 
ons passing through the State during the last few years because there 
are many umiiet needs of residents. In Alabama, general relief, 
financed by funds equally shared by State and local governments, is 
given to persons who do not fall within the Social Security categories 
under the classification of "Temporary aid and aid to handicapped." 
This relief is limited, however, and does not permit the granting of 
adequate aid either to residents or nonresidents. 

Xow, I should like to comment briefly on the fact that the chief 
migratory factors noted by the Department of Public "Welfare of this 
State are economic with search for employment the prevailing cause 
of migration. Seasonal employment, particularly in farming and 
packing industries, contributes to migration between States and 
within States. There are numbers of agricultural workers attracted 
to southern counties in Alabama during the potato-packing season. 
As soon as employment is no longer available, these wanderers move 
on to other parts. Corresponding to this group, a number of Ala- 
bamians from the southeastern counties migi'ate into other States 
to work in the sugarcane fields or on truck and fruit farms. 

The so-called extra hands who follow textile work represent a 
fairly large group of migrant workers. As a rule, these people travel 
in family groups from mill village to mill village seeking employment. 
I think we had an excellent illustration of that type of migrant prob- 
lem yesterday. They typify the unskilled, poorly paid workers, and 
usually have low standards of living. Some of these families find 
employment, while others return to their place of residence or, all too 
often, to their place of former residence, after having made the rounds 
without finding work. Some of these families operate or work on 
small farms and migrate to the factory centers during the winter 
months, returning to the farm in the spring. 

The "through transients." that is. those people passing through the 
State or county, are a significant factor in migi'ation. in that they are 
kept on the move like a ball tossed from one to another ad infinitum, 
often without seeking or being given an opportunity to tell their story, 
much less to take root. 

In a sense, transiency is a symptom of an economic problem far 
deeper and more fundamental than that of the migrant population. 
During this period of economic readjustment we are faced with the 
immediate problem of individual and conmiunity welfare. 

I should like to pause to make this observation. I think one of our 
migrant problems in this State is those persons who do not migrate 
but who live in the economically stranded community, such as the 
mining or mill commtmity where the source of employment is lost. 


These families, until they are relocated or retrained, become subjects 
for continuous public relief or public work. I am ronvinced, in 
connection with the problem of destitute migrants, that it is impor- 
tant for this committee to consider those people who live in these 
isolated communities. I think of several in this State — one a mining 
community where practically the whole conmiunity is on public relief 
because the mine has been closed and the people know no other type 
of work. Sometimes I think the people who do not migrate are just 
as important to consider * * * as the migrants in channeling our 
economy so that it becomes more nearly balanced. 

The lack of action by the Federal Government in providing a 
national framework of legal and financial assistance to unsettled per- 
sons is increasing the health and welfare problems as well as increasing 
the unsettled population. 

A welfare program, wdiich is going to act as a deterrent to transiency, 
must provide assistance for all who are actually in need and without 
other possible sources of su])port ; must provide adequately for such 
persons so that they may live in the comnmnity on a basis of self- 
respect ; and, above all, must be geared to programs of ))ublic employ- 
ment, placement in private industry, and agricultural aid. so that these 
factors will lead surely and with a minimum of delay to economic 

We are still far from achieving this objective and people are still 
leaving home in the belief that their opportunity lies elsewhere. Even 
in the ideal economy with a job for everyone, it may be assumed that 
there would be many persons who wotdd find themselves in need of 
temporary assistance away from their ])laces of legal residence. Per- 
sons going to a new job miglit need help in meeting transportation 
costs or living expenses until their first pay day, or they might fall ill, 
or a mother with small children might lose her husband and need help 
before she acquired legal residence, or a family of newcomers might 
find their breadwinner unemployed for unexpected reasons. In a 
highly mobile nation like ours we will always have at least a small 
transient relief problem. At the present time, during a ]3eriod of eco- 
]iomic readjustment, we have a serious one. We have undertaken steps 
to assist tliose who remain at home ; it seems to me only fair tliat Ave 
should find some way to assist those Avho have had the misfortinie to 
become destitute in a place where they have no claim on existing 
public-welfare programs. 

The problem of transiency is national in scope and the responsibility 
for taking the initiative in establishing a pattern of relief grants to 
States should, in my judgment, be assumed by the Federal Government. 

I do not believe the need of resident, as well as nonresident groups, 
can be met until the Federal Government first recognizes the need for 
general relief on a grants-in-aid basis to States. It would seem, there- 
fore, that the Federal Government, through the Social Security Board, 
should grant funds to States for general relief in which nonresidents 
would be included. Those grants to the States should in no sense be 
thought of as a substitute for the Federal works programs but should 
serve to underpin them in order that they may be better titilized in 
meeting the needs of the truly "employable unemployed." I want 



very much to enipliasize the fact tliat I am not proposing a general 
relief grants-in-aid program as a substitute for the works program. I 
feel ver}^ strongly about that, 

These^ grants should further be on a variable matching basis to allow 
for differences in the ability of States to finance such programs with 
their participation based on standards of performance defined by the 
Federal Government. The importance of State and local administra- 
tion in a transient program should be emphasized as past experience 
has indicated that a federally administered transient program tends to 
aggravate the segregation of these families and individuals and is not 
conduci^'e to sound administration. 

Mr. Spakkman. Miss Dunn, I am very much interested in that state- 
ment you made, that these grants should further be on a variable 
matching basis to allow for differences in the ability of the respective 
States to finance such programs Avith their participation based on 
standards of i^erf'ormance defined by the Federal Government. That 
is in keeping with the recommendation of the Social Security Board on 
tAvo diiferent occasions, isn't it? 

Miss Dunn. Yes. sir. 

Mr. Sparkmax. And you have related the facts and circumstances 
that show that in the State of Alabama the $3,000,000 that you spend is 
probably a heavier burden upon the revenue of the State than a much 
larger amount Avould be on some of the States, have you not? 

]Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And even with that, you can't much more than touch 
the problem in this State. 

Miss Dunn. Yes: I think that is xerj true. 

Mr. Sparkman. I believe that you showed that you were paying out 
$10 and something per month. 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And that a great many are entitled to it that you 
can't get anything to pay them with, isn't that right? 

Miss Dunn. That is very true ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. I remember last year, or a year or so ago, that I made 
a survey in my own home county and I learned at that time that only 
about one out of three was getting anything, and those that were get- 
ting it at that time were getting $9.88. 

Miss Dunn. That figure has remained pretty constant, that $10. 


Mv. Curtis. I have heard a number of witnesses refer to the per 
capita wealth of Alabama. Where does it rank in the order of the 18 

ISIiss Dunn. I think it is second lowest; it is right down with the 
four very lowest anyhow. 

Mr. Curtis. What are the four lowest ? 

Miss Dunn. Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Alabama, 
I think. 

Mr. Curtis. Could you give us Avhat the lowest 10 are? 



Miss Dunn, I think the lowest 10 are these 9 that you are con- 
sidering here phis one other, but I am not so sure which one that is. 
I have the map and will furnish it to you for the record if you like. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you think that it might be Nebraska? 

Miss Dunn. I wouldn't say. 

The Chairman. What is the average income in the first four 
States that you mentioned, the lowest four States — do you have 

Miss Dunn. Yes; I do. It is under $250, I think — around $220. 
I can get it for you. 

The Chairman. Per capita? 

Miss Dunn. That is the per capita income. 

Mr. Sparkman. $220; isn't it? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir; it is under $250, but I don't seem to have 
the exact figures before me right now. I have it here somewhere in 
my figures. Shall I go on to residence now ? 

The Chairman. Yes, ma'am. 

Miss Dunn. Which is equally as important. 

The Chairman. Yes, ma'am. 


Miss Dunn. There is need for national planning for more nearly 
uniform settlement laws and interstate agreements in the handling 
of nonresident cases. In my opinion, the Federal Government should 
also recognize that it has a logical responsibility for those persons 
who do not have a claim on the State or community where they are 
applying for assistance. 

There is strong argument for the idea that States should have 
uniform requirements for acquirmg or losing legal settlement so 
that no person could, as is not now the case, be without legal settle- 
ment in any State. Moreover, the period of time required for ac- 
quiring legal settlement might logically be limited in all States to a 
reasonable period, so that families who actually settled in a new 
community would be entitled to the benefits and obligations of citizen- 

Steps taken by the Federal Government to meet the immediate 
relief needs of unsettled workers should be accompanied by long- 
range planning. Special consideration should be given to areas in 
which whole communities are stranded. 

In closing, I should like to stress again the importance of intelli- 
gent direction of available labor to places where opportunities exist. 
It seems to me that this becomes particularly important in this period 
when the defense program is resulting in new construction and the 
expansion of existing industrial plants to meet defense needs. Un- 
less this is carefully controlled and directed, it may cause the worst 
type of transiency, the rush of Inmdreds of thousands of families to 
a new community or to a small established coimnunity which is 
wholly unprepared to meet the problem of a huge, surplus, destitute 
population. On the other hand, I would hope that the industrial 
development resulting from the defense program might absorb work- 


eis from those areas where there is unemployment and need. I be- 
lieve it is more important than ever before that the Federal Gov- 
ernment recognize its responsibility to the nonresident and that it 
take steps with the States to meet this responsibility as another line 
of defense against the hazards of unemployment which are destruc- 
tive to our finest civilization. 

I would like to illustrate with some information that has been 
coming to my desk. Alabama, as Congressman Sparkman knows, 
has some large defense projects getting under way. I have one 
report from Mobile where a big naval air base is being constructed, 
that literally hundreds of families are pouring in there primarily 
from States nearby but also from almost every State in the Union, 
because of the word that has gone out about the possible opportunity 
for employment. I understand the Army officers at the base and our 
employment service and our welfare office are very much concerned 
with the quick change that may result from unemployed people com- 
ing to these focal points that are so highly publicized as defense 

AVe have a similar one, but not so large, here at Montgomery where 
we have construction going on at Maxwell Field. 

I have word from the W. P. A. administrator that during the last 
few weeks his requests have more than doubled from one State for 
W. P. A. workers coming into Alabama hoping that they may get 
work on these defense projects. 

Mr. Curtis. Is it your conclusion that Alabama is getting more 
than its part of the defense works? 

Miss Dunn. No; I think not. I think Congressman Sparkman 
woidd never agree to that. 

Mr. Sparkman. This is the logical place to pttt it. 

Mr. Curtis. It is rather lean up in our part of the country. 

Miss Dunn. I draw my best illustration of the dangers which I 
have cited in my statement to you in the increase in transiency which 
I think is very fully inherent, unless we can set up some adequate 
control. Perhaps one of the ways is that we may have larger oppor- 
tunity for the improvement of our employment service. I think 
much of our transiency is created by lack of opportunity for direc- 
tion to where the employment is which results in aimless wanderings. 

The Chairman. That is a very fine contribution to the committee 
and is a very, very fine statement. 

Mr. Osmers. I was interested in the statement cited by Miss Dunn 
right here in Alabama where a mine closed down in a certain town 
and nearly everyone of that town went on relief, quite naturally. 
You did cite that instance? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. OsMERS. It would appear to me that there was a place where 
there was a necessity for some directed migration. What is the 
future of the people in that ex-mining community? 

Miss Dunn. I think unless they become directed migrants they 
become a liability to the taxpayer. 

260370 — 40— pt. 2 17 


Mr. OsMERS. I presume if nothing happens that they will stay 
there if you will continue to give them relief, and that they will stay 
there forever, and their descendants, too. 

Miss Dunn. I wouldn't think that they could subsist comfortably 
on the $10 a month that we give them. 

Mr. OsMERs. They could subsist better on the $10 there than they 
can on nothing at some other place — except California and Florida, 
of course. 

Miss Dunn. I think that we have two problems there; maybe 
the}' are all tied up together. I don't think that we need to expect 
too much initiative on the part of people who have lived to their 
middle years woidving at the one skill that they knew, and if that 
suddenly disappears, and maybe it has given them a very low means 
of livelihood at that — I don't believe that we will have much initia- 
tive on the part of the heads of those families to move out. 

Mr. OsMERS. We had a witness at the New York hearing; he was 
a miner and in about the same position as the miners in your Ala- 
bama community are, and he said that he didn't know anything but 
mining and that he wasn't going to raise any vegetables or anything 
else, but wait for mining to open up again. Is that the attitude of 
your people here? 

Miss Dunn. I don't think that it is a conscious attitude, but I 
think it might be related to the story that one of the witnesses told 
yesterday where she had been a textile worker and said all she knew 
Avas textile work, and that she moved from place to place hunting 
that type of work. I don't think that they can honestly conceive 
of what else they can do for themselves, and I think that our Govern- 
ment, at some point, from the standpoint of a changed economy, 
should move into those communities and take the initiative with the 

Mr. OsMERS. What comes to your mind in connection with this 
mining community, since we have discussed it in some detail? 

Miss Dunn. One thing might be a family study to see if a mem- 
ber of the family could be found who could be trained and placed in 
some other type of industry. I think that it is a very long and slow 
process and that the hope lies in the youth of the family. 

Mr. OsMERS. The roots are deep, no doubt. 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. In making a comparison of a grant-in-aid program 
and a work program, and I believe you expressed the opinion in your 
statement that you would very much oppose the substitution of a 
grant-in-aid program for a work program — is that correct ? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. Maybe I should amplify that. I believe 
that the Federal Government must get into the business of matching 
general relief to both the resident and the nonresident who is not now 
cared for in any matching category undertaken by the Social Security 
Board. In other words, we have in this State something less than 
10 percent of the people who are provided for with that $4,000,000 who 
fall into the group of people who need assistance as much as the 65- 
year-old person or the blind person, but they get less because the Fed- 
eral Government is not sharing in the cost. And I believe further that 
if the Federal Government is to make a contribution to the nonresi- 


dent migrant problem, it must first recognize that needs of residents 
have not been met. In doing that, I don't think the work pro- 
gram should be eliminated. 1 think that the Federal Government 
should go on with a Federal work program but in addition to 
everything else it is doing to aid people who are in need of Federal 
assistance, it should take o"ne step more and set up a grants-in-aid plan 
to assist the States with those people who do not fall within the three 
categories now matched by the Social Security Board. 

Mr. OsMERs. Not entirely. I thought that you made a general state- 
ment in respect to the local relief partly financed by Federal aid and 
a Federal works program. 

Miss DuxN. No, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. I thought that you were expressing favor for one over 
the other. 

The Witness. x\s you go from hearing to hearing, I expect that 
you will find a number of public-welfare people discussing this yery 
point. It is something of a pt»int under discussion in adminis- 
tering public relief — whether, if the Federal Government went into 
a matching arrangement for general relief, which would include relief 
for the nonresident, that matching would tend to destroy the work 

Mr. OsMERs. And in many cases the Federal works programs are for 
the relief of the unemployed. 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. Has it caused a great deal of competition betAveen State 
and local relief and Federal relief? The Federal Government has 
offered the reliefer a better proposition in New Jersey than the State 
and the local government has been able to offer and the favored ones are 
en the Federal program and the unfortunate ones are on the State- 
administered and local program. 

Miss Dunn. That situation is far from being true here. The State 
gives 10 percent to the general relief cases and only a few of those are 
employable. The only relief to the employable needy person in the 
South anywhere is through the work program whereas in New Jersey 
and New York and some of your States where you have had longer 
established public-relief agencies, you give relief to the employable 
needy person just as you do to the unemployable. 

Mr. OsMERS. Yes. 

Miss Dunn. And that makes the difference. Here, there is no over- 
lapping ; there is a place in which a whole group of people here fall that 
get neither. 

Mr. OsMERS. In the State of Alabama, you appropriate $4,000,000 
a year for all of your relief and you participate in the payments 
of the Federal program? 

Miss Dunn. In the public-assistance program. 

Mr. OsMERS. And $400,000 of that goes to assist the communities 
with their general relief problem? 

Miss Dunn. In this State the counties or the local government 
put up the first dollar to match public relief, whether old age 
or to aid the blind or to aid dependent children or other relief, and 


the State then puts up the second dollar to match the Federal Gov- 
ernment. On general relief, the localities or communities and the 
State share equally. 

Mr. OsMERs. What is the total amount of general relief in Alabama 
13er year? 

Miss DuNx. It is about $400,000. 

Mr. OsMERS. That is the total local and State? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. I know that my State spends something like $20,- 
000,000 a year for general relief. 

Miss Dunn. Yes ; I know it does. 

Mr. OsMERs. That is why they migrate. 

Mr. Parsons. I am interested in this discussion on that score. You 
were in charge during the old days of relief when the Federal Gov- 
ernment was giving aid to the State of Alabama for direct relief 
needs ? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Xow, how much were you spending at tlie peak of 
the load in Alabama for direct relief at that time? 

Miss Dunn. I am sorry that I can't give you that figure, but it was a 
vast figure, larger than what we are spending today. 

Mr. Parsons. That includes the relief before tlie W. P. A. came 
along ? 

Miss Dunn. That is right. 

Mr. Parsons. I would like to have you comment, if you will, upon 
the reduction or the difference of the relief in Alabama inider the 
F. E. K. A. and under the program as it is now constituted. 

Miss Dunn. I am not sure that I get your point. 

Mr. Parsons. It is getting back to the original question that I 
asked you. You are spending $400,000 now for direct relief, county 
and State? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

]Mr. Parsons. How does the amount ]ier capita or per family com- 
pare now with what it was under the F. E. R. A. when the Federal 
Government was contributing maj'be one-third or one-half of it? 

Miss Dunn. I expect it would be one-third. I am reasonably 
sure it wouldn't be more than one-third. I think the only time that 
we have ever had a measure of our relief problem was when we did 
have F. E. R. A. spending money in the State here to meet as nearly 
as possible the total relief needs. And in 1935, we separated the 
programs, the W. P. A. taking the employables off, and the State 
being required to create a department of public welfare and to ap- 
propriate money to match Old Age, Blind, and Aid to Dependent 
Children, and then we began to find the old people and the blind and 
the dependent mothers, but since there has been so little general relief 
available to your residents and nonresidents, I do not believe that any 
figures that we have would give a true picture of those people who 
actually need the service. 

Mr. Parsons. In the State of Illinois, for the State, the Federal 
Government granted aid to the State for direct relief until July 1, 
1936, and during that period the Federal Government contributed 


$72.000,(M30 which was given away without 1 penny's return. The 
State of Illinois added to it enough to make $112,000,000 from April 
of 1933 to July 1, 193G. Up until July 1-/940, the St ate^has spent 
on its direct relief, $144,000,000, which makes a total of $2o6,000,000 
that the State of Illinois has given away to its citizens m the 
form of direct relief without 1 penny return whatsoever. That is all 
that 12.000 miles of 18-foot highway has cost the State of Illinois. 

:Miss Dunn. Does that mean— that does not include your old age 
and blind and aid to dependent children? 

Mr. Parsons. Nor W. P. A. 

Miss Dunn. It is purely general relief other than your public 
assistance categories? -no ^ 

jNIr. Parsons. Yes, sir. We have a sales tax in the State ot 
Illinois, 3 percent. 1 cent of which goes to direct relief, which returns 
between 36 and 39 million dollars annually. Noav, I think— of course, 
Ave have a population of approximately— I suspect in 1940 of 
8,000,000, divided about half in the metropolitan area in Chicago in 
Cook County and the other half in the remaining portion of the 
State. I think that is entirely too much money to be given directly 
away. It should be put upon some kind of work program. 

Miss Dunn. I don't know anything about the proportion of the 
people that are employable, but I think so far as this region is con- 
cerned, I would like to reiterate I do not believe that we can get 
anything like an adequate service to the migrant population until 
there is action by the Federal Government in dealing with the in- 
adequacy of relief to residents. The figures I have cited illustrate 
similar situations in the other States in this region, as well as others 
that have low per capita income rates. Equally important with the 
financial side is the inequality of the residence laws. I think that 
one of the witnesses here yesterday made that very vivid. Some 
States have a requirement of several years' residence, some have 1 
year and some have 2 years required to obtain residence. The diffi- 
culty generally is that one loses his residence in one place before he 
gains it in another. That all tends to force public-relief agencies, as 
well as people with adequate funds to finance them, to "shop around." 

Mr. Parsons. Would you repeal all settlement laws, or do you ad- 
vocate a uniform law? 

Miss Dunn. I would hope that we might work first toward uni- 

Mr. Parsons. What would be your suggestion as to the length of 
time for residence for citizenship from one State to another ? 

Miss Dunn. People that are smarter than I suggest a year as per- 
haps the best working basis for all of the States. I don't believe that I 
could argue against that. 

Mr. Parsoxs. One year is what it is in the State of Illinois. 

Mr. Curtis. I think that if there are smarter people that the com- 
mittee should have their names so that we might call them as witnesses. 

Miss Dunn. Thank you, sir. 

The Chairman. Miss Dunn, the more you study this migrant prob- 
lem the more one comes to the conclusion that it is a very involved one. 
There is no single answer, is there ? 


Miss Dunn. I don't think so. 

The Chairman. For instance, you mentioned about the settlement 
laws. You say a 1-year residence. Actually, what are you going to 
do if he is a migrant citizen before the expiration of 1 year? 

Miss Dunn. I would put it on a gaining and losing basis, 
I think one of the horrors for our migrants today is that they may lose 
in one place before they gain their residence elsewliere, and as one of 
the witnesses pointed out yesterday, there is not any sign indicating 
the State line; they may not know when they are crossing a State 

The Chairman. You are speaking now to the representatives of the 
Federal Government, as you well know, and as you are well informed. 
Could you tell us how the Congress could pass a law to tell the State 
of Alabama how long a time that certain persons should live within the 
State before they were settled ? Yon don't think that we would have 
jurisdiction to do that, do you? 

Miss Dunn. I don't think that it would be that simple, possibly, 
but I have seen some very satisfactory goings on between the Federal 
Government and the State. 

Mr. OsMERS. That would be placed under the heading of the well- 
known "bait." 

Miss Dunn. I figure that it would have to be the dollar. 

Mr. OsMERS. I think that is demonstrated. 

Miss Dunn. I don't think that the total answer would be uni- 
form settlement. I think that it would have to be coupled with the 
dollar. I don't think the question will be settled until the National 
Government gets with the States on this migrant problem. 

The Chairman. The proposition that you advance certainly could 
be covered like the Social Security Act. 

Miss Dunn. I think so. 

The Chairman. You can't stop migration here, but listening to your 
testimony here and others — always back of this migrant problem is the 
problem of unemployment, isn't that true ? 

Miss Dunn. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. I don't know of many Americans that want to 
pull up and leave their farms if they have jobs at home, do you? 

Miss Dunn. No ; I don't. 

The Chairman, It is on the increase in this country and while 
we have 48 States belonging to 1 union, in a way, they are 48 na- 
tions and they have barriers, and those barriers exist today. 

Mr. Curtis. Miss Dunn, I have been impressed by the number of 
welfare workers and so-called social workers that appeared before 
our comniittee here and in New York, and I liave been impressed by 
their social-mindedness and their spirit of uplift and that sort of 
thing, and I think that they are doing a fine piece of work, but do 
you feel that the social-worker profession has the answer to the 
basic problem of unemployment, economic conditions, and agri- 
culture and so on that makes this migration necessary, or must they 
confine their activities to caring for the victims? 

Miss Dunn. No; I think, Mr. Congressman, that they do not 
have the total answer. I tried to bring" out in mv brief that I think 


the answer o-enerally rests with the economists, but I do think that the 
social workers, in clealing with the byproducts, sha 1 we say, of an 
economically unadjusted nation, have the responsibility of brmgmg 
to the attention of the economists and committees like this, what the 
human equation is, in a situation like this. . , „ ,. ^ 

Mr Curtis Is there ever a time in a period o± adjustment m our 
human experience that is not a period of human transition? 

Miss Dunn I wouldn't think so, but I listened to some of these 
agriculturists and economists yesterday and I was easy to persuade 
that this was an unusual period in which we are trying to adjust 

Mr. Curtis. But hasn't it always been thus i 

Miss Dunn. Yes; I think so, to a certain extent, but we are a 
growing nation; we don't have those western frontiers any longer; 
it is easier to find the physical frontiers. . ^ i ^ 

Mr. Curtis. You are not advocating the taking of Canada and 
Mexico, are you ? 

Miss Dunn. No ; I am not. 

Mr. OsMERS. I ask this question that I was about to put to you in 
tlie best of spirit. Tell me what tlie State of Alabama did with 
their public-assistance program before the P. W. A. and F. E. R. A 
and the A. A. A. and the C. C. C. and the F. S. A. and the Social 
Security and the N. Y. A. and so on— how did they handle the prob- 
lem before the alphabet was explored? 

Miss Dunn. Well, Mr. Congressman, I don't suspect they handled 
it. The historv of relief in this State, and I think a great many 
other States, will indicate too frequently we had almshouses, better 
known as our old poor farms, crowded with the most deplorable 
evidence of too long neglect in communities and families. I think 
we found our institutions more crowded with evidence of genera- 
tions of failure to provide some of the types of care that you are 
speaking of. I think many of the people made a poor shift for 
themselves which we are gradually being willing to say is not con- 
ducive to producing the kind of people we need if we are to have 
the kind of Nation we should have. 

Mr. OsMERs. You have referred to almhouses, the so-called poor 
farms we all know about, and we still operate them so far as I Imow 
all over the United States. Do they still operate in Alabama? 

Miss Dunn. One of the best results, I think, of the Social Security 
Act in this State, and in a good many other States, has been the 
opportunitv to close most of the almshouses. We have closed all but 
11 in this* State which has 67 counties; and the Social Security 
Act, affording the Federal money, has provided for these old people 
outside of these institutions. I believe that the American Public 
Welfare Association can furnish you some excellent figures to show 
tliat there is a very constructive movement going on over the country 
in closing the almshouses as a result of the Social Security Act. 

Mr. OsMERS. We have not been able to close ours in New Jersey be- 
cause the taxes are too high to keep some of these others going, but 
we are thinking of expanding them. But we have transferred some 
of the people to private dwellings rather than enlarge the almshouses. 


Keference lias been made so often, and I want to question some wit- 
ness about it, and you have mentioned it — so I presume that I may 
just ask you the question — that there are no more new frontiers in 
America,' and I would like to challenge that statement for the record 
and for the benefit of those who have been making the statement. I 
think that in the 40 years since the turn of the century, when the 
frontier has closed, we have developed the automobile industry, the 
motion-picture industry, the communications industry, and the air- 
plane industry, one after the other; and so, for the sake of the 
record, I would like to say that that constitutes a new frontier in 
America, to my mind. 

Miss Dunn. I should like to state that I think that you are right. 
T intended to make reference to the fact that there are no new physical 

Mr. Parsons. Just right, in part only. It doesn't constitute a new 
frontier by any means. 

Miss Dunn! I think that it gets involved in what is the definition 
of the word "frontier." 

Mr. Parsons. It opens up a great number of jobs in a certain line 
of industry, and that line of industry takes out other jobs, and a lot 
of other things that used to consume the surpluses that we raised upon 
the farm; so, after all, when it is all summed up, it does not constitute 
a very large portion of a frontier. 

Mr. OsMERS. That is only true in a replacement industry, but in 
the instances of an entirely new industry, like the phonograph or the 
automobile or the radio, that is not so. 

The Chairman. We thank you very much. 

(Thereupon Miss Dunn was excused.) 

The Chairman. We will take a 5-minute recess. 

(Short recess.) 


The Chairman. Mr. Bryan, will you take the stand, please? 

Mr. Curtis. Please state your full name and your position for the 

Mr. Bryan. My name is John E. Bryan ; I am State administrator 
of the National Youth Administration, Birmingham, Ala. 

Mr. Curtis. Mr. Bryan, are you a relative of the illustrious Wil- 
liam Jennings Bryan, late of Nebraska? 

Mr. Bryan. No ; not that I know of. 

Mr. Curtis. Mr. Bryan, I have carefully gone over your contribu- 
tion to this committee, your discussion and your recommendations, in 
connection with the National Youth Administration program. It will 
be incorporated into our hearings, and in our Washington hearing we 
will also hear further testimony from the national office of the N. Y. A. 
in regard to this matter. 

Now, as I understand your paper, you have pictured the migration 
in the South as it relates to you primarily and your recommendation 


deals with a continuation and expansion of the N. Y. A. as well as 
explaining- some of the things it has accomplished. 

Very briefly, will you summarize and give to the committee your 
conclusion and not to cover the entire paper ? 

Mr. Bryan. Mr. Chairman, I have not only tried to approach this 
from the standpoint of the National Youth Administration but from 
the standpoint of rendering remedial work and remedial legislation 
for the youth in general, and I have attempted here to give as a sum- 
mary, to first provide employment opportunities by the expansion and 
increase in the National Youth program and to create useful public- 
work jobs for the youth and provide adequate educational opportuni- 
ties and so forth. 

I believe in accordance with your suggestion that I will just give a 
summary and our recommendations for remedial legislation, and I 
ask that my whole paper be made a part of the record here, even 
though I do not take the time to read it. 

The Chairman. That will be done. 

(The statement and summary are as follows:) 

Outline of Ixtekstate Migration As It Relates to the Youth of the 
Southeastern Region 

I. extent and character of migration 

A. Introduction : 

1. Geographical extent of Southeast. 

2. Population. 

3. Fundamental economy. 

B. Exodus from Southeast : 

1. Ages of migrants. 

2. Related intrastate migration. 

3. Residual population. 

C. Congestion in rural areas. 

D. Probable trends : 

1. Mechanized farming. 

2. Increase in rate of migration. 

II. causes of youth migration in southe:ast 

A. Increase in youth population in area. 

B. Number of youth in Southeast certified and awaiting assignment on National 

Youth Administration out-of-school work program. 

C. Reasons for lack of economic opportunities of rural youth: 

1. Eroded lands. 

2. Smallest per capita wealth and money wage. 

3. Highest birth rate. 

4. Most difficult tenancy situation. 

D. Educational status of region : 

1. Lack of tax resources for education. 

2. Inadequate school facilities : 

(o) Lowest per capita expenditure, 
(ft) Shortest school terms. 

(c) Inadeiiuate vocational training. 

(d) Lack of library facilities. 

E. Environment factors : 

(a) Poor housing. 

(ft) Insuflicient food and clothing. 

(c) Inadequate health facilities. 

(d) Lack of wholesome recreation. 




A. Number of youth aided by Government work programs : 

1. Civilian Conservation Corps. 

2. National Youth Administration. 

3. Work Projects Administration. 

B. Main objectives of National Youth Administration. 

C. Major programs of National Youth Administration. 

1. Out-of -school work program: 

(o) Types of projects. 

(&) Related training. 

(c) Distribution of funds to Southeastern States. 

2. Student work program : 

(a) Earnings of students. 

(h) Administration of program. 

(c) Types of work projects. 

(d) Allocations to Southeastern States. 

D. National Youth Administration reesident centers and rural youth. 

E. Need for larger Government appropriations. 


A. Recapitulation of facts causing youth migration. 

B. Proposals for remedial legislation. 

1. Deal with problem at source : 

(a) Provide employment opportunities. 

1. Expand and increase National Youth Administration 


2. Create useful public-works jobs. 
(&) Provide adequate educational facilities: 

1. Extend Federal aid to schools. 

2. Extend Federal aid to libraries. 

3. Extend Federal aid for vocational training. 

4. Expand National Youth Administration student work 

(c) Provide adequate health facilities: 

1. Extend Federal aid to health programs. 

2. Expand Federal housing program to rural areas. 

2. Provide remedial legislation for unemployed migrants. 


The southeastern region consists of the 11 States of Alabama. Arkansas, Florida, 
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, and Virginia, comprising approximately a half million square miles, or 
17.2 percent of the Nation's area. In this region at the time of the 1930 census 
lived 25.000,000 people, or 20.9 percent of the population of the United States. 
The population density of the Southeast is thus slightly greater than that of the 
country as a whole. Only the Northeast and the Middle States exceed the south- 
eastern region while this region is from 21/2 to 5 times as densely populated as the 
Southwest, the Far West, or the northwestern regions. 

The Southeast is a rural region, the "most rural" region in the Nation. Nearly 
three-fourths of the people of this section live either on the farms or in towns 
and villages.^ In 8 out of the 11 States under consideration more than 40 percent 
of the people live on the farms and in 5 of these more than .50 percent. Approxi- 
mated one-half of the Nation's farm population is in the Southeast quarter of 
the United States.^ 

There are 170,508,000 acres in farms in this region, or 17.3 percent of the total 
farm acreage of the United States. Thus it can be seen that the population 

1 29.8 percent of the population of the southeastern region lived in urban or metro- 
politan areas in 1930. See Odum, H. W.. Southern Regions, p. 68. 

2 Vance, R. P., The South's Place in the Nation, p. 5. 


density on the farm land is nearly five times as great in this area as average for 
the other farming regions of the country. , ^ , . 

There are two distinct systems of agriculture in this section — the plantation 
and the small farm, with small-scale farming dominant and on the increase. 

"Contrary to a widespread belief, the Southeast is, and has been a region of 
small farms," says Howard AV. Odum.' "In 11)30, 79.9 percent of all farms In 
the 11 Southeastern States were under 100 acres and in addition 12.9 percent 
were from 100 to 175 acres. * * * Only 0.9 percent were over 500 acres. 
No other region has such a large percentage of its farms in the smaller size 
groups. Furthermore, the numlier of farms under 100 acres has shown a 
constant increase since 1900, a condition found in no other section of the 
country except the far AVest." . 

Yet the importance of the plantation system must not be underestimated. 
Census figures giving the size of farms are likely to be misleading unless it is 
understood that contiguous tracts operated by a given number of tenants 
(i. e., plantations) are reported as that number of farms and not as one 
farm.' Large farms, as reported in the census figures, and as discussed by 
Odum in the passage quoted above, are likely to be wage-labor-operated farms 
rather than tenant farms. The large farms mentioned by Odum do not 
include the tenant-operated plantations. 

During the first 30 years of the century nearly 4.000,000 persons have 
migrated from the Southeast to other regions of the United States, while dur- 
ing the same period about 400,000 have come into the Southeast. The exodus 
has been so large and so constant as seriously to dislocate the economy of 
the region. 

In addition to the exodus from the southeastern States as a whole there 
has been a large and related movement of population from the farms to the 
cities within the region. This rural-to-urban migration is part and parcel of 
the problem of interstate migration since the rural population provides the 
ultimate source of the interstate migrants. The southern cities absorb but a 
fraction of those who leave the farms. The greater number pass on to other 
sections of the country. To consider the matter of interstate migration in 
any fundamental way "it is, therefore, necessary to examine the total migra- 
tion from the southeastern rural areas, and the causes of this movement. 

According to Dr. Odum,^ "The Southeast, especially parts of its rural dis- 
tricts, has perhaps the heaviest rates of natural increase of any section of the 
country. * * * This great excess (of population) has been produced in an 
agricultural economy which barely supported its present numbers, with the 
result that as the young people reach maturity they go to the cities and to 
other sections of the country. The facts are that of the native-born population 
of the United States in 1930, 28.700,000 were born in the Southeast, of whom 
24,100,000 were born in rural districts and 4,600,000 in cities. Since only about 
17.500.000 of these southeastern rural-born live in the area of their birth, it is 
evident that over 6,500,000 have moved elsewhere. Of these, 3,800.000 have left 
the section entirely, while 2,900,000 have moved to southern cities. On the 
other hand, 400,000 have come into the region from elsewhere, still leaving a 
loss of 3,400,000. Thus the rural districts of the Southeast have exported 
about a fourth of their natural population, have continued their own growth 
and added much to the growth of southern cities, and have sent about 3,500,000 
to other regions." 

The extent of the migration may perhaps best be visualized by an examina- 
tion of the age distribution of the residual population. According to Dr. Carl 
C. Taylor : ^ "The South has more than its share of young persons, slightly 
less than its share of old persons, and considerably less than its share of per- 
sons in middle-age groups. In the Nation as a whole, slightly less than 3 out of 
each 10 persons are under 20 and in the South more than 4 out of each 10 are 
in this age group." 

Taylor gives "Migration of young adults" as the first factor in producing 
this )-elative shortage of adults of productive age. 

• Op. cit, p. 381. 
*0p. cit, p. 461. 

'■ See Population Changes in Southern States in the Agi-icultural Situation, U, S. De- 
partment of Agriculture, April 1^ 1937, p. 17. 



According to the 1930 census for the United States as a whole, 29.4 percent 
of the people were between the ages of 25 and 45, but in the Southeast only 
25.7 percent were within these age limits, that is in their most productive years. 
On the other hand, 55.5 percent of the 25,345,000 people of this region were 
below the age of 25: the corresponding figure for the rest of the country is 
47.7 percent. 

Among the 25,000,000 population of the southeastern region there are nearly 
2,000,000 more youth than there would be among the same number of persons 
taken at random from the country as a whole, and there are nearly 2,000,000 
fewer adults. 

A comparison of the proportionate population by age groups (see chart below), 
for the region and the Nation reveals that the ages during which the principal 
migration takes place corresponds roughly to the ages served by the National 
Youth Administration. 

Population by age groups, 1930 census 






to 5 - 



+ 1.9 

5 to 9 


10 to 14 - --- 


15 to 19 


20 to 24 - -- 


25 to 29 --- 


30 to 34 


35 to 44 


45 to 54 


55 to 64 


65 to 74 - - 



The long-term aspects of interstate migration, characteristic of the Southeast, 
may thus be described as a continuous major exodus of youth and young adults 
from the farms. 

The foregoing data are based on the 1930 and previous census figures. Various 
sources of information show that these long-term trends were temporarily upset 
during the first 3 or 4 years of the world economic crisis. From a recent authori- 
tative source ° we learn that — 

"In recent years unemployment in cities has led to smaller migrations from 
country districts and this has caused congestion in rural areas. If this continues, 
our rural families will probably face a still more marked decline in standard of 
living. In the first years of the depres.sion the normal movement from farms to 
cities was reversed ; since 1933, however, there has been movement from farms 
to cities, but in only half the volume of the twenties. This decreased migration 
has meant an increase of farm population of nearly 2,000,000 since 1930. A large 
part of the increase consists of young people just entering the labor market who 
formerly went to cities." 

But for the Southeast even during 1932 when there occurred a net migration 
from the cities to the farms for the country as a whole, it is doubtful if outward 
migration from the Southeast wholly ceased. At any rate, according to Dr. 
Taylor,'' most areas of the Southeastern States showed net outward migrations 
for the 5-year period 1930-35. 

This persistent outward migration is likely to continue, and there are factors 
which will probably result in an intensification of the conditions producing migra- 
tion. Noteworthy among these is the impending commercial introduction of the 
cotton-picking machine. 

* Preliminary Statement on Economic Resources of Families and Communities, prepared 
for the White House Conference on Children in a Democracy, January 1040. 

''Taylor, Carl C, Wheeler, Helen W. ,and Kirkpatrick, E. L., Disadvantaged Classes in 
American Agriculture, fig. 23, p. 81. 


Mechanical cotton picking is the key to mechanized cotton ciilture. The picking 
operation is tlie "bottleneck" of the process of raising and marketing cotton. 
Withont the mechanical picker, cotton farming resisted the introduction of all 
machinery because the whole amount of labor necessary to pick the cotton by hand 
is more than enough to perform every other operation without machinery. Once 
the process of picking is mechanized on a commercial scale, there is likely to 
occur a widespread introduction of power farming. Such an eventuality will 
tremendously increase unemployment and intensify the pressure-producmg 
migration. This effect is likely to be even more pronounced in those cotton areas 
not adaptable to the introduction of the improved means of production. The effect 
of mechanized production will l)e to reduce the value and the price of a bale of 
cotton, and it will transform productive land into marginal land, and marginal 
land into nonproductive land so far as cotton farming is concerned even if the 
cotton-picking machine is nowhere in the vicinity. In such areas there will be an 
absolute loss of employment opportunities, not in any way compensated for by 
emplovment on mechanized farms. 

There appear to be no factors tending to reduce migration. With all of the old 
factors still operative and with new, large-scale factors in the offing, migration 
of youth from the southeastern region, especially from the agricultural areas, is 
likely to continue at an increasing rate except insofar as this committee and the 
Congress meet the issue. 


In order to understand the reasons necessitating the large-scale migration of 
youth and young adults from the southeastern region, it is essential that we 
examine the total environment in which these youth live and see economic and 
social stability. The National Youth Administration has been conscious of the 
inadequacy of these young people's surroundings and with the limited funds at its 
disposal has sought to improve the conditions of those rural boys and girls on 
N. Y. A. projects by helping them become more self-sufficient, and better equipped 
to meet the realities of work, learning, and leisure time.^ 

There are more than 3,000.000 young people in the rural areas of the Southeast, 
and their number is rising. The youth population in 1935 was roughly 13 percent 
more than in 1930. A continued growth in the number is expected until in the 
period from 1VA2 to 1944 there will be more youth than at any other time in our 
history.' This increase result^ in added pressure on the land on which rural youth 
must depend for a living. 

In the Southern States in 1030, Negro youth formed a considerable i)art of both 
farm and nonfarm rural youth population. In Arkansas. Mississippi, and South 
Carolina Negroes formed more than 50 percent of all farm youth ; in Georgia and 
Louisiana, more than 40 percent.' 

While the crisis in the large industrial centers in the period from 1930-35 
reversed the trend of migration toward the farms in the geographical areas sur- 
rounding the urban centers, this reversal in trend was not in evidence in the South. 
Although the stream of migration diminished in these years, it continued in the 
same direction, that is. to the towns. Important to note here is that of the net 
migration of 200,000 farm youth to the urban centers from 1930-34, the South 
furnished roughly half this number. The main tendency in the South, however, 
in these years, was a "piling-up" of youth in areas remote from industrial centers 
and in those rural sections where the land is poorest. 

If these youths could make satisfactory adjustments in their home communities, 
rural life stands to gain by their failure to migrate. In most of our rural terri- 
tory, however, economic opportunity for youth is decidedly limited and in many 
cases is almost entirely lacking. This fact was recognized by the President's 
Committee on Farm Tenancy in its report submitted to the President in February 
1937. The Committee reported in part : 

"The accumulation on farms of farmers' sons lacking other opportunities does 
not take place everywhere in equal volume. It tends to be most rapid in the poor 

1 Melvin, Bruce L. and Smith, E. N., Rural Youth : Their Situation and Prospects, W. P. 
A. Monograph XV, p. 3. 
»Ibid., p. 12. 
•Ibid., p. 17. 



farming areas. These boys generally lack the capital necessary to acquire good 
farms as owners, and are in a poor position to become tenants in good areas iu 
competition with young men from these areas who have more experience and 
better connections in the community. Sons of farmers in poor areas, in general, 
have less opportunity to obtain educational preparation for skilled trades and 
professions than those in the more productive areas. Hence their range of oppor- 
tunities in nonagricultural pursuits tends to be more limited. These factors all 
tend to cause the accumulation of fanuers and farm labor on poor land, especially 
when opportunities for youth in nonfarm occupations are scarce." 

In 1936. Walter S. Newman, State Youth Administrator in Virginia, wrote a 
letter in which he said : 

"A small percentage of the boys and girls graduating or leaving school during 
the depression were able to go to college. Most of them have stayed at home on 
the farms and in the villages. Many tried diligently to secure employment, but 
of course only a few were successful. 

"While conditions in rural Virginia look a little brighter now, quite a number of 
farm youth have been dannned up on the farms with nothing to do. The chances 
of a young man starting out on his own on a farm during the past few years have 
been very limited." " 

The following estimated figures on the number of youth already certified as 
eligible and now awaiting assignment on (he N. Y. A. out-of-school work program, 
although including urban as well as rural areas, gives some idea of the present 
proportions of this problem : 


Number of 

youth working 

June 1940 

number of 
youth awaiting 
August 1940 


Alabama -. 






North Carolina 
South Carolina. 





69, 275 

13, 320 
22, 405 
13, 617 
14, 467 
10, 432 
19, 720 
15, 677 

168, 061 

One of the reasons for the lack of economic opportunities for rural youth lies 
in the fact that : 

"Southern regions have 61 percent of the country's eroded lands — lands which 
lose annually an estimated 20,000,000' tons of potash, nitrogen, and phosphoric 
acid. The drain of submargiual lands upon the region's economy is shown by 
the fact that it uses annually some 15,500,000 tons of commercial fertilizer at a 
cost of $161,000,00(;>. The rest of the Nation uses only about 2,500,000 tons." 
In addition, the present per capita wealth of this region is the smallest, its money 
wage the lowest, its birth rate the highest, and its tenancy situation the most 
difficult in the United States. Before the depression over half of the farms 
were operated by tenants, one-fifth of whom owned neither animals nor imple- 
ments, and fertilizer bills took 41 cents out of every dollar spent on southera 
farms.^- The whole situation grew worse during the depression. Security on 
the land — the ultimate hope for the rural farm youth — is thus slowly dis- 

In 1934, two-thirds of the whites and 58 percent of the Negroes were displaced 
from their farms iu this region. Tenancy likewise increased in this area. Co- 

1" Quoted by Melvin, Bruce L.. and Olin, Grace E., in Migration of Rural High School 
Graduates, School Review, vol. 46, pp. 270-287. 
11 Vance, R. P., op. cit., p. 9. 
^ See Milton, George F., The South Do Move, Yale Review, vol. XI, p. 139. 


incident witli this development, the year 1935 showed a drop in the number of 
hired worlters and an increase in the number of unpaid family workers. Since 
the largest single group in both these categories comes within the 15- to 24-year 
age limits, it is apparent that rural youth's opportunity for renumerative em- 
ployment is diminishing and that dependence upon the family income is increas- 
ing. Mention must be made also of the growth in corporation farming and the 
increased use of mechanization on farms, both of which result in technological 
unemployment among the rural youth. 

According to the National Emergency Council's report on economic conditions 
in the South, of 3,000,000 youth in the Southeast, one-half million take an older 
male's place on the farm, one-half million are in school, one-quarter million 
are cared for by the increase in subsistence farms. The other million and three- 
quarters are "surplus" youth who can find no jobs either on the farms or 


This condition must be correlated with the low educational status of the area, 
the lowest in total current expenses per pupil and in the average number of days 
in the school session. As a result, in the South Atlantic States over 8 percent of 
the rural farm youth between 15 and 24 are illiterate." A special study in 11 
Southern States in 1930 showed an average of $44.31 was spent for each white 
pupil enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and $12.57 for each Negro 
pupil. The average annual expenditure per pupil in all schools of the United 
States in 1930 was $86.70." 

Because of the poverty of its people, the many local political subdivisions of 
the South cannot provide the schools and other public services necessary in a 
civilized community. The South must educate one-third of the Nation's chil- 
dren with one-sixth of the Nation's school revenues. In addition, she suffers the 
loss of a large part of the investment in these youth since this region has had 
to bear the entire cost of rearing and educating youth who then migrated to 
other sections at the time when their productive life was just commencing. The 
newscomers to the Southeast in no way balanced this loss. The Southern States 
almost witliout exception spend a greater proportion of their tax resources on 
education than the richer States, so that it is not indifference but lack of income 
that is responsible for the deficiencies of our school system. For example, in 
order for Mississippi to attain the national average in expenditures for educa- 
tion, her school children would require 99.3 percent of the present tax moneys 
of the State." 

The schooling available for southern rural young people is often unsatisfactory 
in quality as well as in quantity. Some rural schools offer vocational, 
but usually only in agriculture and homemaking — though half the students 
must get jobs in industry if they are to work at all. 

The fact that the South is the source of a considerable part of the rest of 
the Nation's population makes the South's difficulty in providing school facilities 
a national problem since, as Carl Taylor points out — 

"The physical and mental vitality or lack of vitality as the case may be, of 
southern culture goes steadily into every rural and almost every urban center 
of the Nation. The standard of living of the southern working population, 
whetlier factory, mill, or farm, competes with the standard of living of working 
people everywhere in the Nation." '" 

The problem of the migration of youth thus becomes a national problem as 
well as a State one, for — 

'•In a .society characterized by a high degree of mobility of population, no 
community which is properly concerned with its own well-being and safety can 
be indifferent to the education of youth in every other community." " 

Through the United States has the highest proportion of doctors of any 
country in the world, about 1 out of every 865 people, youth in millions of 
families never have adequate medical care. In the Southern States, including 
Mississippi. South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas, there is only one doctor 
for every 1,.300 persons.'^ Many rural areas of the Southeast are most inade- 

"Melvin, Bruce R., and Smith, E. N., op. eit., p. 48. 

^1 Youth Arsenal of Facts, Labor Research Association, p. 39. 

^^ Vance, R. P., op. clt. 

"Op. cit., p. Ifl. 

" Punke, H. H., The School Review, March 1, 1936, p. 526. 

IS Youth Arsenal of Facts, pp. 56-57. 


quately provided with doctor, dentist, and nurse; some are practically without 
access to their services. 

Deficiencies in individual medical care in these rural sections and small com- 
niuiiities are paralleled by lack of hospitals and clinics since the population in 
these poverty-stricken areas cannot support these social services. As a result 
many youth in these disadvantaged sections suffer from pellagra, tuberculosis, 
liookworm. malaria, and venereal diseases, all of which flourish among white 
and Negro inhabitants of areas where there is widespread poverty and ignorance 
of health and hygiene. 

All these disorders not only impair young people's ability to earn a living and 
to make a success of marriage and family life, but lead often to serious and 
permanent maladjustments. Traveling clinics would help young people to escape 
many of the physical and mental dangers that surround them and would reduce 
some of the existing inequalities in medical services that are characteristic of 
that low-income region. 

While the National Youth Administration has no national-health program, 
in every State health education is carried on to some degree according to the 
community resources that N. Y. A can muster, since its own limited funds 
prevent expansion in this important field. On all resident projects, however, 
N. Y. A. youth are provided with medical services and emergency hospitali- 

There are, of course, direct relationships between insufficient food and cloth- 
ing and bad health, between poor housing and poor health, and between poor 
housing and crime. The Southeastern region contains a large part of that third 
of the Nation which President Roosevelt so aptly characterized as "ill-fed, ill- 
clothed, and ill-housed." 

The opportunity to participate in wholesome recreational activities, team 
games, or other sports is denied not only to countless thousands of youth in the 
rural and sparsely settled sections of the Southeast, to those In low-income 
families, and to Negro youth, but also to young people living in congested urban 
areas of the region. Young people living on farms have less opportunity than 
any other group for organized recreation. Jobless boys and girls are particularly 
in need of tlie benefits offered by playgrounds and youth recreation centers, the 
lack of which often leads to delinquency and crime. 

In addition, our rural population is seriously handicapped by lack of library 
facilities, which are an invaluable part of youth's educational opportunities. 
According to figures collected by the American Library Association in 1988, 
more than 26,000,000 persons under 20, most of them living in rural areas, are 
without local library service. The shortage of these facilities is especially acute 
in the Southeast, where there is little hope of obtaining them through local 

Unemployment, poverty, malnutrition, overcrowded houses, inadequate school- 
ing and health facilities', lack of wholesome recreation — these are the vicious 
forces which confront rural youth of the Southeast as they reach their maturity. 
This is the environment from which they migrate looking for greener pastures. 

In a recent address to the White House Conference on Children in a Democ- 
racy, President Roosevelt said: "Democracy must inculcate in its children 
capacities for living and assure opportunities for fulfillment of these capacities. 
The success of democratic institutions is measured not by extent of territory, 
financial power, machines, or armaments, but by the desires, the hopes, and the 
deep-lying satisfactions of the individual men, women, and children who make 
up its' citizenship." To the extent that the promises implied in this view of 
youth in a democracy are fulfilled will the problem of the migration of disad- 
vantaged youth be checked at its source. 



The urgency of these problems has resulted during the past few years in the 
development of special Government work programs designed to meet some of 
the employment needs of youth. In the last 6 years, according to Mr. Aubrey 
Williams, National Youth Administrator, over GVa million youth have been put 
to work by the Federal Government. 


"The Civilian Conservation Corps," he said, "has given employment to over 
2,30i),0(Xl; the National Youth Administration has given employment to 2,300,- 
000; Work Projects Administration has given employment to SOO.OOo young 
people under 25 years of age, and various other agencies have furnished employ- 
ment to another million youth. On the whole, this has been work that led 
young people somewhere. It has been in accordance with what they wanted to 
do, and it has fitted them for jobs in private industry.'" 

These agencies have provided supervised employment for a limited number of 
needy unemployed youth and have afforded many young persons practical work 
experience and opportunity to develop good work habits. They have made out- 
standing contributions by programs combining work and education. What has 
been done by these emergency programs in extending work opportunities for 
youth represents a significant attack on the problems of youth employment, 
even though numerically they have reached a comparatively small number of 
those whom they seek to benefit, since only about one-fourth of the young jjer- 
sous out of school and out of work are being aided through these agencies."" 

The major purposes of the National Youth Administration are as follows : 

(1) To provide part-time work and training on useful public projects to 
needy unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who are no longer in 
regular attendance in school. 

(2) To provide part-time work in order to assist needy youth between the ages 
of 16 and 25 to continue their education at schools, colleges, and universities ; 

(3) To encourage the establishment of guidance and placement services for 
youth ; and 

(4) To encourage the development and extension of constructive leisure-time 

These objectives have been advanced by the National Youth Administration in 
the form of two major programs : The out-of-school work program and the 
student-work program. 

The work of this Government agency has been accomplished largely through 
State administrators, the National office and National Advisory Committee acting 
primarily as coordinating and advisory units. In each State the program opei-ates 
with the advice of State and local advisory committees. 

The out-of-school work program was established in 1936 to provide part-time 
work for a limited number of out-of-school needy youth who found it impossible 
to obtain work experience as a qualification for admission to private employment. 
According to the unemployment census of 1937, this group constitutes about one- 
third of the unemployed workers. 

For the current fiscal year new regulations are in effect basing eligibility for 
employment on the out-of-school work program merely on the "need for employ- 
ment, work experience, and training" among young people between 18 and 25 
years old. Heretofore, certification reqtiired a consideration of tlae needs of the 
entire family on a budget basis with the restilt that most of the National Youth 
Administration youth have come from relief families. Tlie new rules will widen 
National Youth Administration job eligibility and will make it possible to reach 
marginal grouiis and to select youths for National Youth Administration projects 
on the basis of their need of employment and their suitability for the type of work 
provided by the project. 

National Youth Administration W(U-k projects are initiated in cooperation with 
oflicials of various tax-supported agencies, known as co-sponsors, who are familiar 
with local needs. Any of the multitude of needful services which public agencies 
find outside of their regular budgeted programs and which are adaptable to the 
activities of the youth workers may be laid before the local National Youth Admin- 
istration oflicials. If practical and if the supply of workers is available, they may 
be put in operation. Co-sponsors contribute most of the materials, supplies, and 
equipment as well as a considerable portion of the superivision required on 
National Youth Administration projects, while the labor cost is borne by the 
National Youth Administration. As needs differ from community to comnumity 
and from State to State, so does the National Youth Administration program. 

" From an address delivered May 4, 1940. before the Institute of Government, Women's 
Division of the National Democratic Committee. 

^ Youth and Their Needs in report on White House Conference on Children in a De- 
mocracy, p. 30. 

260370— 40— pt. 2 18 


The ont-of-school work program involves various types of projects, covering 
both construction and nonconstrnction work. Construction projects include high- 
way, road, and street woi'k, remodeling of public building and construction of new 
ones, development of recreational facilities, conservation and flood-control work. 
The construction division also has charge of all workshops and of all building 
repairs and renovations. Nonconstrnction projects include a variety of activities 
such as sewing, recreational leadership, school lunches, child care, clerical and 
stenographic work, library service and book repair, statistical and research work, 
and youth-center activities. 

Youth employed on National Youth Administration projects are given work 
experience in as many fields as possible, so that they can select more intelligently 
the occupations which best suit their interests and aptitudes. In order to widen 
the types of work-experience afforded, a program of informal class work and 
related training has been organized to supplement project work. Wherever pos- 
sible, the facilities of local school .systems are utilized to provide related informa- 
tion courses. The development of a well-rounded program of related training, 
directed both to supplementing the training values of the project work itself and 
to general cultural and citizenship development, is a basic part of the total Na- 
tional Youth Administration program. Such courses are given by National Youth 
Administration supervisors, teachers from the adult education division of Work 
Projects Administration and the State department of education, county agents, 
home economics and vocational agricultural teachers, public-health nurses, and 
other qualified persons. 

A vital phase of the out-of-school work program and one which should be of 
particular interest to this investigating committee is the resident project units 
designed chiefly to assist needy youth from small communities and rural areas. 
The youth live at the project site, and their earnings are established to cover 
subsistance and leave a small cash wage to take care of their personal needs. 
By bringing rural youth together in resident propects units it has been possible to 
promote better supervision and instruction as well as to perform more useful and 
efficent project work than by setting up small projects near the youth's place of 
residence. Resident project work varies from the construction and repair of 
public buildings and other facilities to home making and canning food for distri- 
bution to relief clients. A varied training program is promoted. Including shop 
work, agriculture, conservation, child care, domestic service, sanitation, health, 
and home making. 

These centers have been particularly beneficial in the South, since a large por- 
tion of needy youth live in sparsely populated rural areas where it is difficult to 
obtain cosponsors and supervision. During the coming year this type of project 
will be expanded. Precautions are taken to insure the health of the young people 
at these centers. Most of these projects make arrangements with local physicians 
and hospitals to promote regular medical services and emergency hospitalization. 
Through this type of opei'ation National Youth Administration has had note- 
worthy success in improving the general health of youth from underprivileged 
and low-income families in the South. 

An important part of the out-of-school work program is the workshop projects 
which assist youth to find their talents and aptitudes. Here the boys are taught 
cabinetmaking and finishing, painting, electrical work, airplane and radio me- 
chanics, blacksmithing. metal work, drafting, plumbing, steam fitting, welding, 
woodworking, and other mechanical trades. Although the National Youth Admin- 
istration has been carrying on an extensive program of shop, metal, and construc- 
tion work for several years, during 1940-41 it will place increasing emphasis on 
projects which provide work experience and basic training in mechanical pursuits. 
Experience of this kind will better prepare young men and women for jobs in 
tho.'^e industries in which employment will expand as a result of increased produc- 
tion for national defense. 

In line with these policies Birmingham, Detroit, and Philadelphia have been 
chosen as cities where model youth work centers for manual arts training will 
be set up. 

This National Youth Administration training program will be carried on in 
two sections. One will be the formation of a group of resident work training 
centers in rural sections throughout the country where youth will live to- 
gether and be taught how to work with their hands, learning to make articles 


sucli as hospital beds, tables, Red Cross equipmeni-, radio transmission equip- 
ment, and the like. The other will be the establishment of nonresident projects 
in the various industrial areas. The centers in Birmingham, Detroit, and 
Philadelphia will serve as models for both the resident and nonresident opera- 

All funds for the National Youth Administration work program 
for 1940-41 were allocated among the States on a youth population basis. 
The allotment to each State bears the same ratio to the total amount of $67,- 
884,000 available for all National Youth Administration work projects as the 
youth population of that State bears to the total youth population of the 
United States. 

Aattached is a list showing the distribution of funds for the out-of-school 
work program, 1940— H, to the 11 Southeastern States. 

National Youth Administration distribution of funds for the out-of -school 
work program to Southeastern States, 19'i0~'il 


North Carolina 1, 924, 669 

South Carolina 1, 078, 879 

Tennessee 1, 557, 161 

Virginia 1, 378, 478 

Total 15, 216, 108 


Alabama $1, 007,497 

Arkansas 1, 108, 227 

Florida 833, 760 

Georgia 1, 822, 624 

Kentucky 1, 399, 291 

Louisiana 1, 271, C38 

Missis.sippi 1, 239, 484 

In the Southeastern States only small percentages of the youth of high- 
school age are enrolled in school.-^ On numbers not in high school, Aubrey 
Williams, National Youth Administrator, declared: 

'•We know that in America today there are 3,.'500,0OO young people of high- 
school age that are denied opportunity to go to high .school. We know that, by 
and large, that is not because there are not high schools. * * * The real 
reason is because their fathers and mothers cannot afford to send them to high 
school. They are not able to earn enough nn ney to buy chjthes, and to buy food 
and shelter, whereby those children can enter high school." 

The student-work program of the National Youth Administration was estab- 
lished in 1935 to provide part-time employment to needy youth between the 
ages of 16 and 24, inclusive, in order to permit them to continue their education 
at schools, colleges, and universities which are tax exempt and nonprofit making, 
though they may be either publicly or privately controlled. The program is 
divided into two major parts : 

(1) The school-work program for students enrolled in schools of less than 
college grade. 

(2) The college and graduate-work program for students attending colleges 
and universities. 

Students who qualify for employment on the school-work jirogram receive a 
wage which is not more than .$G nor less than ,$3 a month. College students may 
earn from .$10 to .$20 a month, while graduate students may earn from $20 to 
$30 per month. Individual earnings vary according to the number of hours 
worked and the hourly rates of pay prevailing in the different localities. 

Officials of the various schools and colleges are mainly responsible for the 
administration of the student-work program. They select the students on the 
basis of need and scholariship — no student being eligible who cannot perform or 
maintain satisfactory .scholastic work in three-fourths of a normal curriculum. 
They plan the projects on which the students work, care being taken to find 
useful jobs of value to the students that do not displace regular employees of 
the institutions. They assign the youth, insofar as possible, to projects in line 
with their major interests and abilities, and they supervise the work performed. 

National Youth Administration .student work covers a wide range of activities. 

21 About 28 percent in Alabama, .3.^. .5 percent in Arkansas, .3.5.7 percent in Ml.s.sissippi, 
rfo.8 percent in South Carolina. See Youth Arsenal of Facts, Labor Research Association, 
p. 47. 

22 Ibid., p. 47. 



These includo clerical, construction, and repair work, library service, mimeo- 
graphy, ground and building maintenance, departmental service, research and 
surveys, community service, home economics, art, laboratory, and recreational 

Plans are being formulated to establish State committees of school men to 
expand and revise student-work projects of the National Youth Administration 
in line with the desire of educators to make all school activities contribute to the 
need of national defense. The United States Office of Education is cooperating 
with the National Youth Administration in these endeavors. 

For the 1940-41 fiscal year $12,509,161 has been allocated for the entire school- 
work program and $13,731,120 for the college and graduate-work program. 

The basic criterion used in the establishment of allotments for the payment 
of school-work employees was youth population. College and graduate-work fund 
quotas were set by taking 9.47 percent of the total number of resident under- 
graduate and graduate students 16 to 24 years of age. inclusive, enrolled in the 
institutions as of November 1, 1939. and cai-rying at least three-fourths of a 
normal schedule. It is expected that more than 500,000 different students will 
be employed on the Nationtil Youth Administration student-work program in the 
course of the 1940-41 academic year. A chart showing student-work allocations 
to the 11 Southeastern States is attached : 

Federal Security Ageneij. 'National Youth Administration, student vork 
allocation 19JfO--il to Southeastern States 


School work 

College and 

graduate work 



Total - -- 

$2. 794, 207 

$2, 400, 915 

$5, 255, 122 

15R, 221 
332, 122 
270, 528 
227, 180 
19.5. 935 
338, 847 
212, 105 
298, 471 
266, 718 

219, 375 
139, 725 
264, 600 
186, 975 
164, 160 
376, 650 
247, 455 
286, 740 

514, 391 

317, 434 

Florida --- --- 

295, 946 

596, 722 

457, 503 

496, 235 

360, 095 

North Carolina . -- -- 

715, 497 


545, 926 

553, 458 

The National Youth Administration does not pretend to offer a basic solu- 
tion for the social and economic problems which today affect youth as well as 
the rest of the population. But it has attempted to aid young men and women 
in the crisis of unemployment and poverty in the four spheres of life in which 
their needs are greatest — education, employment, vocational guidance, and the 
profitable use of leisure time. 

From the beginning of the National Youth Administration out-of-school work 
program, rural youth have been a challenge. It is not to provide .sound 
work projects for isolated boys and girls who have no way of getting to and 
from a construction job, a workshop, or a sewing room in a town miles away 
from their farm homes. Not only is it difficult to obtain work quarters for 
rural projects, to get sporsors in out-of-the-way villages, and to provide good 
health programs, but it is often impossible to offer related training courses 
to these young people. 

To surmount such obstacles the National Youth Administration inaugurated 
resident units. The Southern States have led in the development of this type 
of project. In May 1940, 31,128 young men and women, or one-tenth of the 
A^orkers on the out-of-school work program, were living and working on resident 
centers in 44 States. Of this number of youth employees, 66 percent were boys 
and girls from the 13 Southern States who were not accessible to regular day- 
time units and were brought together from rural areas for more intensive 

Rural youth in many parts of the southeastern region have been denied even 
what is considered a minimum American education. If the soil is to provide- 


them a living, they must know new, better, and more diversified farming 
methods. Surprisingly few southern tenant farmers know how to raise vegetables 
and fruit. Few farm' wives know modern methods of canning and preserving. 

The National Youth Administration resident centers can and are opening 
many new agricultural possibilities for southern young people, and those rural 
youth who are not interested in farming are being given a chance to acquire 
training in other fields, such as auto mechanics, conservation and shop work, 
homemaking, beautv culture, office work, and the like. 

In order to take care of the increasing numbers of rural youth who are being 
"dammed up" on the farms with no employment opportunities and who will 
soon join the army of frustrated migrant workers if nothing is done for them, 
expansion of the National Youth Administration resident training centers offers 
one solution. 

But it is not possible to meet the urgent needs of these unemployed boys and 
girls without the expenditures of larger sums of public money than have been 
appropriated for the solution of these problems. In any single month, not more 
than one out of every five unemployed young people is reached by the National 
Youth Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, and Work Projects Admin- 
istration together.^ 

The constructive eiTorts on the part of these Government agencies must be 
regarded, therefore, as pioneer experiments showing what is necessary to be 
done on a much larger scale, rather than as public services actually covering 
the present needs of youth. 


As indicated in the foregoing sections, the problem of interstate migration is 
a problem largely of the migration of rural youth and young adults especially 
from the southeastern region. Lack of economic opportunities in the rural South- 
east is the fundamental cause of the migration. The low level of educational 
facilities and the almost complete absence of organized recreational activities are 
major contributing factors. 

As pointed out in the National Emergency Council's Report on Economic Con- 
ditions in the Sotith : ^ 

''The search for wider opportunities than are available in the overcrowded, 
economically uudeveloi)ed southern communities drains avray people from every 
walk of life. About one child out of every eight born and educated in Alabama 
and Missis.sippi contributes his life's productivity to some other State." 

It appears also that the probable long-term trend of migration is upward. This 
is almost certain to be the case unless adequate steps are taken to provide oppor- 
tunities for productive effort to meet the needs of a growing population and to 
replace now-existing opportunities which are likely to be lost by the mechanization 
of agricultural production. 

Common sense would seem to indicate that the most economical and effective 
solution of the problem of interstate migration of destitute citizens would be 
to deal with the problem at its source. This would necessitate placing the main 
emphasis on measures for the economic and social rehabilitation of the disadvan- 
taged groups shown to be the source of the migrations. It would require a 
program which would so increase opportunities for youth in tlie southeastern 
region that future migration would not be necessary. To deal with the migrants 
only after they have been uprooted from home environment is to treat symptoms 
rather than causes. 

While the following recommendations by no means exhaust the possibilities 
it is believed that they wotild contribute greatly toward the amelioration of 
present conditions and constitute an important step in the direction of removing 
the causes of migration. 

Steps must be taken to provide additional employment opportunities for rural 
youth in the southeastern region. The National Youth Administration bad 
elaborated a program of the kind needed to provide such employment. The 
participation of local sponsoring agencies tends to insure the selection of 
projects useful to the community. The age groups served correspond closely 

23 Coyle. David C, Rural Youth, p. 26. 
2^ P. 17. 


with the ages of the bulk of the migrants. However, considered from the 
viewpoint of alleviating the conditions of the youth of the region so as to 
remove the cause of the migration, the size and scope of the National Youth 
Administration program fall far short of the dimensions of the problem. 
Special appropriations should be given to the National Youth Administration 
for the purpose of providing employment opportunities and otherwise alleviating 
the conditions of the youth of the areas from which migrations originate. 

Other steps should also be taken to provide additional employment oppor- 
tunities to the youth of this area. Expansion of the Civilian Conservation Corps 
and Works Progress Administration program in these sections, especially the 
erosion-control features, would be desirable. This would serve the double purpose 
of providing immediate employment and increasing the possibilities of the region 
for self-support of the growing population. Expansion of job opportunities 
appears to be the greatest single necessity if migration is to lie checked; at 
its source. The extension of work opportunities for youth on publicly financed 
projects has been urged recently by the American Youth Commission, a non- 
Government agency, of which Mr. Owen D. Young is chairman. The Commis- 
sion advocates that "every young person who does not desire to continue at 
school after 16, and cannot get a job in private enterprise, should be provided 
under public auspices with employment in some form." " 

But the lack of economic opportunity is nor the only cause for the migration. 
The drab lives of the youth, the lack of cultural and i-ecreational facilities — 
these factors also play an important part as cause of migration. 

Educational facilities, including libraries, available to southeastern farm 
youth must be enlarged. This improvement can be accomplished only by 
means of financial assistance from the Federal Government. Such assistance 
may be partly met by an expansion of tlie National I'^outh Administration 
student work program, but it should also be approached from the viewpoint 
of expanding the general educational budgets of the affected areas, through 
Federal grants, since the Federal Government is the only agency that has 
the power and ability to tax the wealth of the entire Nation for the benefit of 
the children of the entire Nation. 

It has been pointed out that health conditions in the .southeastern region are 
substandard. Federal aid to local authorities will be required if this situa- 
tion is to be corrected. Existing Federal agencies could be employed to 
improve certain aspects of public sanitation, water supply, mosquito control, 
and the like, but, here again, the general health budgets of the local governmen- 
tal units are in need of supplemental funds from the sources of Federal taxa- 
tion. The same applies to recreational facilities. The program of the National 
Youth Administration is sufficiently flexible to be of service in the administra- 
tion of any of these and other projects provided adequate funds are appropri- 
ated. The inadequacy of rural housing in this region beggars description. A 
major housing program, under Federal auspices would do much toward over- 
coming health deficiencies as well as those of lui employment. 

These recommendations seek to solve the ])robIeni of migration at its sovu'ce. 
Remedial legislation to assist those who haA'e already migrated and who have 
not found permanent employment will, of course, receive the attention of this 
committee. Such measures are essential but must be thought of as paliative 
lather than as a solution of the problem. 

As it appears from the viewpoint of youth of the Southeast, the migrant 
problem can be solved only by the application of adequate measures initiated 
by the Federal Government to improve in a fundamental way, the conditions of 
life physically, economically, educationally, and culturally of the youth popula- 
tion in the areas from which the migrants originate. 


Mr. Bryan. As indicated in tlie foreo()in<r sections, the problem of 
interstate migration is a problem largely of the migration of rural 
youth and yoimg adidts, especially from the southeastern region. 

''"A Program of Action for American Youth, p. 6 (November 1939). 


Lack of economic opportunities in the rural Southeast is the funda- 
mental cause of the migration. The low level of educational facilities 
and the almost complete absence of organized recreational activities 
are major contributing factors. 

As pointed out in the National Emergency Council's report on 
economic conditions in the South : 

The search for wider opportunities than are available in the overcrowded eco- 
nomically undeveloped southern communities drains away people from every 
walk of life. About one child out of every eight born and educated in Alabama 
and Mississippi contributes his life's productivity to some other State. 

It appears also that the probable long-term trend of migration is 
upward. This is almost certain to be the case unless adequate steps 
are taken to provide opportunities for productive effort to meet the 
needs of a growing population and to replace now-existing opportuni- 
ties which are likely to be lost by the mechanization of agricultural 

Common sense would seem to indicate that the most economical and 
effective solution of the problem of interstate migration of destitute 
citizens would be to deal with the problem at its source. This would 
necessitate placing the main emphasis on measures for the economic 
and social rehabilitation of the disadvantaged groups shown to be 
the source of the migrations. It would require a program which 
would so increase opportunities for youth in the southeastern region, 
that future migration would not be necessary. To deal with the 
migrants only after they have been uprooted from home environment 
is to treat symptoms rather than causes. 

While the following recommendations by no means exhaust the 
possibilities, it is believed that they would contribute greatly toward 
the amelioration of present conditions and constitute an important 
step in the direction of removing the causes of migration. 

Steps must be taken to provide additional employment opportuni- 
ties for rural youth in the Southeastern region. The National Youth 
Administration' had elaborated a program of the kind needed to 
provide such employment. The participation of local sponsoring 
agencies tends to insure the selection of projects useful to the com- 
munity. The age groups served correspond closely with the ages of 
the bulk of the migrants. However, considered from the viewpoint 
of alleviating the conditions of the youth of the region so as to 
remove the cause of the migration, the size and scope of the N. Y. A. 
program fall far short of the dimensions of the problem. Special 
appropriations should be given to the National Youth Administra- 
tion for the purpose of providing employment opportunities and 
otherwise alleviating the conditions of the youth of the areas from 
which migrations originate. 

Other steps should also be taken to provide additional employment 
opportunities to the youth of this area. Expansion of the C. C. C. 
and W. P. A. programs in these sections, especially the erosion control 
features would be desirable. This would serve the double purpose 
of providing immediate employment and increasing the possibilities 
of the region for self support of the growing population. Expansion 
of job opportunities appears to be the greatest single necessity, if 


migration is to be checked at its source. The extension of work 
opportunities for youth on publicly financed projects has been urged 
recently by the American Youth Commission, a non-Governnient 
agency of which Mr. Owen D. Young is chairman. The commission 
advocates that every young person who does not desire to continue 
at school after 16, and cannot get a job in private enterprise, should 
be provided under public auspices with employment in some form. 

But the lack of economic opportunity is not the only cause for the 
migration. The drab lives of the youth, the lack of cultural and 
recreational facilities — these factors also play an important part as 
causes of migration. 

Educational facilities, including libraries, available to Southeastern 
farm youth must be enlarged. This improvement can be accom- 
plished only by means of financial assistance from the Federal Gov- 
ernment. Such assistance may be partlv met by an expansion of the 
N. Y. A. Student Work Program, but "it should also be approached 
from the viewpoint of expanding the general educational budgets of 
the affected areas, through Federal grants, since the Federal Govern- 
ment is the only agency that has the power and abilitv to tax the 
wealth of the entire Nation for the benefit of the children of the 
entire Nation. 

It has been pointed out that health conditions in the Southeastern 
region are substandard. Federal aid to local authorities will be 
required if this situation is to be corrected. Existing Federal agen- 
cies could be employed to improve certain aspects of public sanita- 
tion, water supply, mosquito control, and the like, but, here again, 
the general health budgets of the local governmental units are in 
need of supplemental funds from the source of Federal taxation 
The^same applies to recreational facilities. The program of the 
N. Y. A. is sufficiently flexible to be of service in the administration 
of any of these and other projects provided adequate funds are appro- 
priated. The inadequacy of rural housing in this region beggars 
description. A major housing program, under Federal auspTces, 
would do much toward overcoming health deficiencies as well as those 
of unemployment. 

These recommendations seek to solve the problem of migration at 
Its source. Kemedial legislation to assist those who have already 
migrated and who have not found permanent employment will, of 
course, receive the attention of this committee. Such measures are 
essential but must be thought of as palliative rather than as a solu- 
tion of the problem. 

As it appears from the viewpoint of youth of the Southeast, the 
migrant problem can be solved only by the application of adequate 
measures initiated by the Federal Government to improve in a funda- 
mental way, the conditions of life of the youth population physically, 
economically, educationally, and culturally in the areas from which 
the migrants originate. 

Mr. Curtis. Now, Mr. Bryan, as I told you in the outset, the investi- 
gation along the line of the National Youth Administration will be a 
continuing one and we expect to develop it fully as we go along, and 


we thank you very much for your appearance here and the excellent 
paper- that you have presented. 

The Chairman. Your entire paper has been made a part of the 
record in these proceedings. You are excused. 

(Whereupon the witness was excused.) 


Mr. Parsons. Please state your name and address for the record. 

Mr. Cameron. My name is James Earl Cambron ; my address is 
1413 Princeton Avenue, West End, Birmingham, Ala. 

Mr. Parsons. When and where were you born, James? 

Mr. Cameron. In Brookside, Ala. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of a town is Brookside, Ala. ? 

Mr. Cameron. That is a mining town that is abandoned. 

Mr. Parsons. What kind of mining? 

Mr. Cameron. Coal mining. 

Mr. Parsons. How old are you ? 

Mr. Cameron. 34. 

Mr. Parsons. Are you married? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you live with your parents? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Are your father and mother living? 

Mr. Cameron. My mother is living and my father is dead. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you have any brothers and sisters? 

Mr. Cameron. I have five brothers and three sisters. 

Mr, Parsons. When did you move to Birmingham? 

Mr. Cameron. In 1934, I believe it was. 

Mr. Parsons. Why did you leave Brookside ? 

Mr. Cameron. I was out of work and I moved in to try to get work 
in Birmingham. 

Mr. Parsons. After the mines shut down ? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. How much did you make when you worked in the 
coal mines? 

Mr. Cameron. I never worked in the coal mines. 

Mr. Parsons. "\Yliat did you do around Brookside ? 

Mr. Cameron. I was in the garage; I worked in a garage. 

Mr. Parsons, You are a mechanic, are you ? 

Mr. Cameron, Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. "VYhat got the matter with the work at Brookside 
so that you left thePe to go to Birmingham? 

Mr, Cameron, Well, it was during the depression and work got 
so slack that I had no work to do to keep me there, 

Mr, Parsons. After moving to Birmingham, did you find work 
there as a mechanic ? 

Mr, Cameron, No, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. What have you been doing this last 6 years? 

Mr. Cameron. I have been a migratory worker. 

Mr. Parsons. 'Wliere? 


Mr. Cameron. In Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, and 

Mr. Parsons. Doing mechanical work or in the fruit work? 

Mr. Cameron. In the fruit work. 

Mr. Parsons. What have you been making on an average per day 
or per year during your travels as a migrant in following the work 
that you have? 

Mr. Cameron. Tliat ranges, from different prices, according to 
what kind of crop you have. Some days you will make $1.50, and 
some days you will make $10. And I would say that the average 
single man that works hard may make $300 in a season. 

Mr. Parsons. That is in a season of how long, 2 months? 

Mr. Cameron. Well, that is according. We don't count the Flor- 
ida wintertime as the season ; in the summer is the season. We barely 
exist in Florida. 

Mr. Parsons. In Florida? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. That is a little contrary to some of the evidence 
that has been given here today, that the situation in Florida was 
better than in some of the other States. Maybe you have not gone 
to the place that these other people were talking about — what is the 
name of that lake? 

Mr. Cameron. I have been to Belle Glade, Fla. 

Mr. Parsons. You have been to Belle Glade? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir; I worked in that town, and in Palm Beach 

Mr. Parsons. Have you lived at any migrant camps? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir ; I have asked for no relief anywhere. 

Mr. Parsons. You have always gotten along some way or some 
how, without relief? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You have found out that you can repeat in making 
this route to these different areas producing fruit and vegetables 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir ; I do get by. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you carry your mother with you? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. Do you contribute to her relief or upkeep? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir; I send her money whenever I can. 

Mr. Parsons. When you can't send her money, how does she i^ro- 
vide fox herself ? ^ 

Mr. Cameron. I have a younger brother working at home. 

Mr. Parsons. Is your mother old enough for old-age pension ? 

Mr. Cameron. I think so. 

Mr. Parsons. Is she drawing old-age assistance? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. She lives in Alabama and is a resident of this 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you claim residence here? 


Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do yoii vote? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Why not? 

Mr. Cameron. Because I am never stationary long enough to vote. 

Mr. Paksons. You are not here at election time ? 

Mr. Cameron. No, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Hoav many people of your kind have you noticed 
in your travels around and about? 

Mr. Cameron. Do vou mean single men ? 

Mr. Parsons. Yes; single men like yourself, since you have been 

Mr. Cameron. Well, siuce I have been traveling— oh, I would say 
approximately one-half of them. 

Mr. Parsons. One-half of them are in your status? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. Do you like this traveling game, or would you prefer 
to settle down if vou had some hope of being able to provide for 
yourself and your 'mother on the farm or back in the garage business 
in some little town or city? 

Mr. Cameron. I would rather be stationary. 

Mr. Parsons. You have had all the traveling that you really desire 
except as a necessary means of livelihood ? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. But you have steered clear of relief all this time? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir, 

Mr. Parsons. And you have gotten by some way ? 

Mr. Cameron. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Parsons. You present a somewhat different type than the 
ordinary mine run that we have had in this group. You are to 
be very highly complimented for your resourcefulness for yourself 
and those depending upon you without requiring aid or relief from 
the public agencies. I think that is all, Mr. Chairman. 

The Chairman. I thank you very much. 

(Whereupon, the witness was excused.) 

The CHAiRisrAN. The committee will stand adjourned until 9 o'clock 
tomorrow morning. We hope to finish by noon tomorrow, if pos- 
sible. Any witnesses who want to appear, please note the change of 
the hour and I call attention of the members of the committee 
to the fact that we will meet at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. 

(Whereupon, at 5 p. m. on August 15, 1940, a recess w^as taken 
until 9 a. m., Fridav, August 16, 1940.) 


FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 1940 

Select Committee to Investigate the 
Interstate ^Migration oP Destitute Citizens, 

Blontgomery^ Ala. 

The committee met at 9 a. m.. in the courtroom of the United States 
Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Building, Montgomery, Ala., Rep- 
resentative John J. Sparkman (acting chairman) presiding. 

Present: Representatives John J. Sparkman, acting chairman, 
Carl T. Curtis, and Frank C. Osmers, Jr. 

Also present: Robert K. Lamb, chief investigator; George Wolf, 
chief field investigator ; Harold D. CuUen, field investigator ; Creek- 
more Fath, field investigator; and Irene Hageman, field secretary. 

ISIr. Sparkman. Let the committee be in orcler. Mr. Myron Falk. 


ISIr. Curtis. Mr. Falk, will you give your full name, your title, and 
your position to the reporter, please ? 

Mr. Falk. My name is Myron Falk, technical assistant, bureau of 
public assistance and child welfare, Louisiana State Department of 
Public Welfare, and I am also the executive secretary of the Louis- 
iana Council on Migratory Labor and Transients. 
, jSlr. Curtis. I believe you have a prepared statement, or some writ- 
ten testimony that you desire to present to the committee? 

Mr. Falk. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. HoW' long is your written statement? 

Mr. Falk. It is about 12 pages, and then a short summary. I think 
that the committee has copies of it. 

Mr. Curtis. If you have not already done so, we want you to de- 
liver a copy of 3^our written testimony to the reporter. 

(The statement appears below.) 

Statement by Myron Falk, Exeotti\'e Secretary, Loltisl\na CouNcn. on 
Migratory Labor and Transients ; Technical Assistant, Bureuxj of Public 
Assistance and Child Welfare. Louisiana State Department of Public 

migration essential in oi'R industrial and agricultu'ral system 

American migrants are American citizens at large. They are men with a 
country yet without a county ; men needed temporarily by all States yet wanted 
permanently by no State ; men who are constant figures in our economic life 
yet shifting figures in our community life ; men in the community but never of it. 



America has always been fluid anrt mobile. Migration has contributed an 
important part to the development of this country. Many years ago the Gov- 
ernment encouraged people to move by offering land grants and liomesteads 
to those who were in search of I'eestablishing themselves. 

In this modern age, when vast geographic areas no longer need to be settled 
by the traditional pioneer, onr population is still on the move. One out of 
every 2 persons migrates at least once in his lifetime. This is indicated by 
estimates based on 1930 census figures. Studies of the group on the road show 
that over 90 percent are native-born and most of them are white. The studies 
further reveal that the majority are between 20 and 35, employable, and highly 

Most of them are on the road not because they like to drift from place to place 
but because the kind of work they do makes it necessary for them to cross State 
lines in seeking employment. The jobs need these workers and they need the jobs. 

In general, these migrants, like residents, are seeking an honest livelihood 
and economic security. Tlie tasks they perform are necessary to our economic 
life ; without them, our industrial and agricultural systems would suffer. If 
all migrant workers could be anchored in one spot today, industry woidd be 
forced to create a new group of mobile workers tomorrow. The crops must be 
picked, and picked on time. 


Today causes of migration have increased. One of the most Important is the 
mechanization of the farms. This particularly affects the South, where the farms 
are entering the industrial age. In a study of migratory labor by tlie United 
States Department of Lnbor which was authorized by the Seventy-fourth Con- 
gress, this fact stood out : "The greatest source of future migration in the United 
States is to be found among the tenant farmers of tlie Cotton Belt. The thou- 
sands now seeking casual jobs in Florida may be the forermmers of nuii'h greater 
numbers of both white and Negro migrants." 

It is estimated that there are 1,000,000 farm laborers working in the South. 
The amount of work performed by machines is extensive in the North and in 
the West, but negligible in the South. The South still produces most of its work 
by hand and a greater number of persons are needed to do the work than are 
required in other sections. Tlie mechanization of soutliern farms will release 
a considerable number of these laborers. Because of their low income and lack 
of skill, it is difficult to foresee where they will be absorbed and how they will 
earn tlieir living. In all probability, they will be added to the hordes of migrant 
agricultural workers and will soon begin to move from place to place seeking 
employment. It is estimated that three-fifths of the present farm laborers will 
remain on the farms, but the other two-fifths will be added to the migrant group. 
This means that approximately 400,000 farm laborers will soon be moving 
across the country to become our citizens at large. With only a limited number 
of workers needed, undoubtedly many of this new group will become applicants 
for public assistance. It is not to be expected that public assistance available 
in their own communities will keep these workers at home. The low level of 
relief grants in the South does not, for the most part, provide sufficient security. 
Many will seek employment in other places throughout the Nation. In some 
instances, the active workers in a family group will seek employment elsewhere, 
leaving dependents to be cared for through public assistance. 


The break-down of the old plantation system which is now taking place in 
the Mississippi Delta area will contribute its part in adding workers to the 
army of migrants. In the past vast plantations were operated by resident 
owners, usually members of families who had owned the land from generation 
to generation. The tenants likewise remained on the land and passed their 
assigned duties from one generation to another. When the tenant could work 
no longer because of age or illness, he was permitted to remain in his tenant 
house or with his children, who in all probability, at least in part, had taken 
over the duties of the parent. This personal relationship between the worker 
and the owner led to a sympathetic understanding from both. 


Today most of the plantations in the Delta are owned by absentee owners. 
The plantations are operated as industrial plants. The superintendent is 
usually sent in to make the plantation produce a profit. Personal relationship 
exists'no longer. Either the tenant must perform his functions or make way 
for someone else who can. In addition, plantatitm superintendents are finding 
it desirable and profitable to discontinue tenant labor and to substitute day 
labor. These laborers are paid only for the days they work, and as a result, 
their income has been ever more limited. Many of the former tenants are 
not willing to remain as day laborers and are taking to the road. Only the 
ditficultv of saving enough money for a jallopy delays or restrains them from 
joining "the army of migrants. Opportunities in the towns near the plantations 
are limited and these laborers should not be expected to remain in a place 
that offers neither work nor security. 

Most of the Southern States are having difficulty in financing their public 
assistance programs because of lack of income from tax sources. It is indica- 
tive of the lack of funds in Southern States that the amount which Mississippi 
can afford for all departments and governmental services is less than Massa- 
chusetts spends on e(lu<'ation alone. Unless a system of variable grants is 
instituted, there is little likelihood that many States in the South will be able 
to substantially increase assistance levels, and they will therefore, be unable 
to meet this increased demand. 


There has always been a migration from rural to urban areas. Without 
this constant feeding of the urban population by the rural areas, there would 
be no large cities a hundred years from now. The country youth usually does 
not move to the city until he is ready for work. This means that he is edu- 
cated in a rural area, but spends his productive years in the urban industrial 
centers. Thus, the East and North, where most industrial centers are located, 
absorb the young productive workers who have been educated in the rural 
South. In normal economic times, these workers return to the South when 
they reach the less productive years of old age, and when industry could use 
them no longer. During depression years, however, those who had no means 
of support preferred to remain in the cities, where relief grants were more 
adequate than in rural areas. Now, with the system of social insurances, the 
migration will probably be the same as in normal economic times, since the 
oki-age annuity will be the same amount no matter where the beneficiary lives. 


Migration is not limited to agricultural and industrial workers; white collar 
and professional people, as well, must move. Many of the professions and 
trades are becoming highly specialized and the specialist performs but a small 
part of the total job. Large companies are transferring their employees from 
place to place, so that they can perform these special services. This causes 
a feeling of instability among the workers. They are unwilling to ]mr- 
chase homes or participate in city planning because they do not feel they 
will be around to see the plans materialize. An instance of this is told by a 
minister in New Orleans who solicited contributions to build an addition to 
his church. He approached the grown children of persons who had contributed 
in the past to building the church. They were not as willing as their 
fathers had been to assist in building the church because they did not know 
how long they were to remain in that particular city and would, therefore, 
they pointed out, not enjoy the increased church facilities. Their fathers gave 
with the knowledge that they were going to remain in the city and it would be 
their church. Bridge builders, air cimditioning men, bank-timing device in- 
stallers, oil workers, road construction men are just some of those who move 
from job to job and who never remain in one town over a long peri<id of time. 
Often these workers become stranded and in need of some foi-m of public 


Little is kno-«m regarding the migration of the aged. There are indications 
that within the next decade, migration of aged people will become a serious 


problem for this country to face. There is a belief that the social insurance 
system will increase migration and mobility of the aged. This means that 
the number of potential migrants will grow because the percentage of aged 
persons in our total population is increasing. In 1920, persons over 65 repre- 
sented 4.7 percent of the total population; in 1930, this percentage increased 
to 5.4. No figures are available for the 1940 census, but it is estimated that 
the percentage will be 6.3. In 1950 the estimated percentage will be 7.7 and 
in 1970 it will be 10.1. 

Recently there appeared in two newspapers in different sections of the country, 
reference to this new migration problem. A quotation from the New York 
Times in March, 1940, reads, "A back to the country movement is under way in 
the United States according to a New York City realtor who specializes in farms. 
An important group interested in farms is composed of persons with fixed in- 
comes derived from pensions, annuities, and investments. This group is expected 
to grow during the next few years because of the payments under the old-age 
insurance program. Similar observations have been made by the president of 
a New York County real estate board who reports that many inquiries regarding 
farms come from persons on pensions, or who expect to l)e on pensions soon." 
An editorial in the March 31, 1940, issue of the Argus Fall, of Sioux Falls, S. Dak., 
said, "A sizable colony of persons who have retired on modest pensions has 
developed in the Jacksonville, Fla., area. There are other colonies in California. 
These residents are welcomed by commiTnities concerned and in some instances 
special efforts are being made to induce them to establish their homes. These 
persons have been retired by industrial institutions or have become eligible for 
Federal old-age annuities. The latter group is growing, and when the program 
is in full effect, a substantial portion of the population will be involved. What 
does this mean to South Dakota and other States where the winters are rela- 
tively long and occasionally severe? Will retired residents be lost? There is 
a possibility if not a probability that they will transfer their residences to 
Florida and to California after Federal payments are made." 

Administrators of public assistance agencies are concerned with these migra- 
tions. Other communities, as well as those mentioned by the South Dakota 
paper, may offer special inducements to the beneficiary of old-age annuities. In 
some instances these annuities will be more than the recipient actually needs, 
and therefore he may be able to build up resources for his unexijected emergent 
needs. However, many of the beneficiaries will spend their entire incomes 
monthly for their current needs. Who is then to supply emergency care, such 
as hospitalization, medical care, or special diet? In these cases public assistance 
must be given to supplement anmiities. In order for some States to give this 
assistance, larger grants-in-aid from the Federal Government will be needed. 

In Louisiana, the State department of public welfare recently made a study 
of approximately 800 aged persons who changed their parish residence at some- 
time 12 months preceding their acceptance for public assistance. This group 
comprised 4 percent of the total number of applicants for old-age assistance 
during the period studied. It is significant that 73.2 percent of the total who 
moved had received public assistance in the parish from which they moved. A 
study of the average assistance grants of the parishes of and second resi- 
dence dispelled the thought that migration was caused by the desire to obtain 
higher grants. In fact, the aged migrants had no assurance when they moved 
that they would receive assistance in the parish of second residence. 

The study further indicated migration among the aged white is considerably 
greater than among the aged Negroes, and that more males migrated than 
females. The migrant group as a whole was older than the total old-age 
assistance group. Migration occurred more among age groups between 70 to 84 
while the greater part of aged recipients are between 65 and 74. The physical 
condition of the aged migrants was not as good as that of the total old-age 
recipients, and therefore, they were in need of more medical care. 

The study disclo.sed that the greatest migration took place in the parishes in 
the Mississippi Delta area. While no definite evidence is available, it may 
be concluded that the aged persons were living with children who were tenant 
fanners and who were migrating from that area. There is also evidence 
in the .study that the aged migrated to live with relatives after the death 
of the spouse. During the same period covered in the above study 81 aged 
recipients moved out of the State. No facts are known as to reasons for 


initiation, or as to where they moved, except that for the most part, they 
migrated from parishes bordering State lines. The move deprived them of 
further public assistance, since Louisiana does not have reciprocal agreements 
with any States at tliis time. The fact that they would not be eligible in the 
State of second residence did not seem to act as a deterrent. 

There is also reason to believe that when tlie social-insurance system is better 
understood by the people of the United States, there will be a migration from 
the uncovered industries to the covered. This will accelerate migration to the 
urban centers, and from the agricultural to the industrial centers. In all 
probability the same agricultural leaders wlio are now opiX)sing the inclusion 
of workers in the Social Security Act will be forced to press for the inclusion 
of these workers in order to stop migration and thus prevent a disastrous 
shortage of farm labor. 


One of the barriers which must be removed before assistance can be available 
is our settlement laws. We are governing in many instances twentieth century 
America with seventeenth century laws and attitudes. Settlement laws date 
back to 1849 when the l>Iack death plagued England. The English settlement 
law was instituted to immobilize lalxir. The settlement law idea was brought 
over and planted by the colonists in the New World. Many of the original 
settlement laws of the colonies were copies of the old English settlement laws. 
Unfortunately, some of these laws still exist. Take for example, the settlement 
law of 1662 in England, which stated that "settlement was acquired by birth 
and the new settlement could be secured either by marriage, the women taking 
the husbands ; by paying taxes : by serving for a whole year in any public county 
office : by being bound as a servant or apprentice for a year and by living more 
than 40 days in a county and occupying a house with an annual rental of more 
than £10." Compare this to the settlement law of the State of Delaware. This 
law states "that the birthplace of a person shall be the place of legal settlement 
and that the legal settlement of the head of the family shall be the place of 
settlement of his minor children and of his wife or widow. A person shall gain 
a settlement in a county in Delaware as follows : 

"1. By executing any public office for a year. 

■'2. By paying poor taxes therein for 2 consecutive years. 

"o. By occupying and paying rent for premises therein of the higher value of 
$."»0 for 1 year. 

•'4. By serving 1 year therein as a lawful apprentice or servant." 

Our present unequal and crazyquilt settlement laws allow thousands of 
persons to be without a State to which they can look when in need of assistance. 
It requires 3 years of residence to establish residence in California. Residence 
is lost in Minnesota by an absence of G months. Thus, if a resident of Minne- 
sota moves to California, he is without settlement for 2i/> years. 

Residence laws should be standardized so that a, uniform period is required 
by all States, with the provision that no residence is lost until another is gained. 
Periods during which public assistance is received should be counted toward 
establishment of residence. Consideral)ly more thought should bo given to the 
clients' interests before he is returned to his place of legal settlement. These 
changes will require considerable time before all 48 States modify their resi- 
dence laws. Pending establishment of a uniform settlement law. reciprocal 
agreements between the States for the care of migrants should be established. 

Perhaps the real solution would come in the complete elimination of residence 
in order to qualify for public assitance. Residence, after all, merely means 
that some State is accepting its responsibility to a person who has lived in 
that particular State for a specified period of time. Is this the real point on 
which a State should accept responsibility? The economic contribution a person 
has made to a State rather than his mere presence in it. should determine 
the State's acceptance of resjxinsibility. Many of the migratory workers make 
substantial economic contributions to certain States through the'ir work. 
Should not these States be called upon to accept responsibility for the person 
who has made such a contribution? It does not appear consistent that the 
State in which the migrant is living when disaster strikes, should bear the 

2G0370— 40— pt. 2 10 


entire burden of his care. whiMi liis most proclnctive years aiid his economic 
contributions have been in another State. This gives added weight to the- 
demand being made to set up a general assistance category to the Social Se- 
curity Act with no residence requirements. This arrangement will be more 
preferable to setting up a separate category as is being suggested bv some to 
prt.vide assistance to migrants. It is mor(> desirable to see that they are not 
excluded from the categories than to include them as a separate one. 

An effective public assistance program is dependent upon and interrelated 
with public health, public education, and public housing. Public assistance 
workers should .ioin any movement which seeks to increase the health and 
sanitation provisions for migrant workers. The vast growing trailer cities 
present problems of sanitation, as do the agricultural tenant houses, jungles 
camp cities, and other migrant dwelling places. Adequate temporarv housing 
is needed for the family which can have no permanent home. The' residence 
requirements now enforced by many public health services should be eliminated 
so that medical care will be available to the migrant. Public jissistance workers 
are aLso interested in seeing that compulsory school attendance is enforced so 
that children i)i migrant families make every possible use of the opportunity to 
learn a trade or profession of their own choosing. These children" should" not 
be allowed to harvest our crops, when they should be reaping the benefits of 
the schoolroom. 

SuMiiAKY OF Recommendations By Mykon Falk 

In general, migrants, like residents, seek the same economic security and 
honest livelihood. They .should be allowed all the privileges which are ex- 
tended to i-esidents, in their efforts to find security. The low income of the 
agricultural migrants accounts for some of their difficulties. They should be 
included under the wage-and-hour bill and in the Social Security Act. .so that 
they can enjoy the benefits of unemployment compensation and "old-a^e benefit 
payment.?. Studies indicate considerable time is lost bv the migrants by their 
lack of knowledge as to where jobs are to be found. State employment" offices 
should expand their services to provide a clearing to furnish 'job informa- 
tion by State, by district, and by county, and to register migrants on the basis 
of work experience. 

Studies indicate the South is potentially the section which will have the 
greatest problems of migraticm. Financially, the South is having a difficult time 
meeting the present assistance needs, and is luiable to assume any new responsi- 
bilities. A system of variable grants should be established under the Social 
Security Act to give States with low per capita income larger Federal gi-ants 
to meet their present. public assistance responsibilities, and for the e.Kpected 

A fourth category— general assistance— should l)e added to the Social Securitv 
Act. All residence requirements in order to qualifv for assistance in this cate- 
gory shoidd be eliminated. 

This would be more desirable than to create a separate category to provide 
assistance to migrants. Inclusion in general assistance would not" draw atten- 
tion to them as a gi-oup set ajtart ditTerent from residents in need They should 
receive assistance undei- the same administrative policies and provi'sions as 
applied to residents. 

Residence requirements .should be eliminated so that migrants would be able 
to avail them.selves of public health services and to allow their children to attend 

If it is not possible to set up this fourth category at this time, efforts should be 
made to standardize residence laws throughout the countrv and to encourage 
States to enter into reciprocal agreements for the care of the migrant. 

Efforts should also be directed toward the prevention of migration wherever 
It is possible. Funds should be made available for the farm tenancy program 
which would prevent many potential migrants from taking to the road. 


Mr. Curtis. Now, if you will, you mav suniinai-ize what i.s shown 
by your statement, which appears" in the record. 


Mr. Falk. I will not touch on the need for niigrntion in the South 
and in the country as a whole, because I think that has been handled 
already, very adequately. 


I will say that I believe that the South is facing the migration 
problem from three different angles. 

Mr. Curtis. May I interrupt you at this point for just a nioment, 
with regard to the need for migration. I think that we will agree 
that migration is not an evil per se, but we are interested in the case 
of the individuals who are migrating over the country in a destitute 
condition, seeking agricultural work, and who seem to have no way 
to ground themselves. Now, will you please proceed? 

Mr. Falk. I think of it in three phases; the first problem that we 
are called upon to face today is the problem of the employment of 
these migrants. I won't touch upon the problem of the present so 
much, iDiit I think the immediate future troubles come from mechani- 
zation of the farm, more than any other one thing. The South has 
always had most of its work done by farm hands rather than by 
maeliines, and with the machine coming onto the farm, a number of 
persons will be displaced, and perhaps go on the road, because there 
is nothing else for them to do. I frankly believe the only thing- 
keeping them from being migrants at the present time is that they 
don't have enough money saved up to buy an old jalopy. When they 
do save enough they will be added to the migrants on the road. 

Another thing causing migration is the break-down of the old 
plantation system. In Louisiana, we still have a plantation system 
in the Mississippi delta area along the river, which is almost like the 
plantation system before the Civil War. The owners hold huge 
tracts of land, and they farm it out to tenant farmers and so on. 
Today those plantations are owned by absentee owners for the most 
part, and are being operated as industrial plants. As a matter of 
fact, a number of owners live outside the State of Louisiana. The 
sentiment of plantation owners toward the old Negroes has disap- 
peared. They have to produce a profit or the foreman has to leave 
the plantation, and. as I say, all of the sentiment between the old 
Negroes and the plantation owner is gone. As a result of these new 
conditions, a number of the superintendents on these plantations 
are finding it better to operate their farms on a day-labor basis rather 
than by tenants, because they are called upon to make a profit or be 
replaced by the owners of the plantation. They can better make a 
profit by day labor than with farm tenants on the land. 


Mr. Curtis. Have the Government payments, as administered", con- 
tributed to that tendency to employ day labor? 

Mr. Falk. I wouldn't say "Yes." I would say that the farm 


Mr. Curtis. The desire upon the ]);irt of the landowner to secure a 
full payment and not have to divide it with sharecroppers has caused 

Mr. Falk. Yes; I think that has really contributed, and has broujjyht 
about the complete break-down. It was cominof anyway, but I think 
it was the last straw that broke the camel's back. 


1 would like to also mention the fact right here that I have heard 
little said about the migration of the aged. 

We have reason to believe that the migration of the aged will be- 
come a very serious problem for the South to face. For one thing, 
our population is growing older. In 1920, the persons over 65 years 
oi age represented 4.7 percent of the total population, and in 1950, 
it is estimated that it will be 7.7 percent, and in 1970, it is estimated 
that it will be 10.1 percent. Now, I think this is a potential problem, 
because most of the people, according to the migration experts, mi- 
grate from the rural areas to the urban centers. A number of per- 
sons have brought out the fact that they move to the industrial areas 
because of lack of opportunities in the rural districts. Now, when 
those persons are given a Federal annuity or old-age benefit payment, 
it will be given to them regardless of where they live. 

I think that it will, therefore, be desirable for them to move from 
the high-cost areas to the low-cost areas. Twenty-four dollars is the 
estimated average payment. I think that $24 will buy a great deal 
more in Alabama than in New York. The saving on heat alone would 
be sufficient to make them migrate to the South. Most of those people 
did come from the South, so I think there will be a tendency to return 
liome to die. 

We have made a study of the migration of the aged in Louisiana, 
and I would like to introduce that study as a part of the record. 

Mr. Sparkman. We will be glad to have it. 

Mr. Falk. It is on pages 3 to 9 of the pamphlet that I am handing 
to the reporter. 

(The pamphlet referred to above was received in evidence and the 
pages referred to read as follows :) 

Migration of the Age© ^ 

Along broad United States highways sweeping from coast to coast, the con- 
stant stream of interstate migrants has attracted tlie startled attention of the 

But along winding Louisiana river roads, back country, reaching only 
from place to place within the State, the less spectacular but steady drift of 
intrastate migrants has received little notice. Reasons for their migration are 
not fully known. There are some who believe that this group of persons moving 
within "the State boundaries are motivated by the same causes which have made 
thousands of persons take to the road. 

Migration is a natural phenomenon of American life. Oiu- history accounts 
step by step the importance of migration. The settling of the West, the building 
of transcontinental railroads, and other important phases in the growth of our 
country were made possible by persons who migrated. 

1 Prepared by the Bureau of Research and Statistics in collaboration with Myron Falk, 
technical assistant in the Bureau of Public Assistance and Child W-.'lfare. 


Today when vast geographic areas no longer need to be settled by the tradi- 
tional pioneer, our population is still on the move. One out of every two i>er- 
sons migrates at least once in his lifetime. This is Indicated by estimates 
based on the 193U census figures. Studies of the group on the road show that 
90 percent are native born and most of them are white. The studies further 
reveal that the majority of the people are between 20 and 35 years of age. 
Perhaps because the great percentage of the persons on the road are relatively 
young, little attention has been directed toward the aged person who migrates. 
Figures obtainable from the Federal transient program, which was in operation 
from 1933 to 1935, indicated that only approximately 5 percent of the persons 
on the road were 65 or over. Figures obtained from a census of transients m 
Louisiana in January, Fel)ruary, and March, 1938, presented substantially the 
same facts. An agency handling transients in Louisiana for the year 1939, 
reported that only 2.3 percent of the persons applying for assistance were 65 
years or over. 

When the Social Security Act was passed in 1935, there was some conjecture 
as to what effect it would have on the mobility of people. Since a great per- 
centage of persons who benefit from the act are aged, there immediately arose 
questions as to whether this factor would serve as an impetus for increased mi- 
gration of the aged. On one hand, there were some who believed that persons 
receiving a set and fixed annuity from the Federal old age benefit plan will want 
to migrate from high-cost areas to low-cost areas. On the other hand, some 
believed that the stringent residence requirements for old-age assistance would 
act as a deterrent to migration. 

In 1936 when the Louisiana Legislature established the State department of 
public welfare, old-age assistance was made available to those w^ho could satisfy 
the eligibility requirements. At that time it was the policy for the parish of 
first residence to continue sending the grant to a client who had moved to an- 
other parish until he had lived in the parish of second residence for 1 year. 
At the end of the year the parish of second residence assumed financial respon- 
sibility. In many cases, due to a shortage of fimds in several parishes, and for 
other reasons some of the recipients lost their grants. Even with this barrier 
to migration, however, there are instances of a number of persons who moved 
without assurance of receiving continued assistance in the parish of second 

In 1938 this difficulty was clarified. If a grant recipient moved from one parish 
to another, it became the obligation of the parish of second residence to assume 
financial responsibility for the recipient as soon as eligibility could be estab- 

The clarification of the policy disclosed that a number of persons moved from 
one parish to another. In order to determine the composition of the group and 
the areas involved, fui-ther study on migration of the aged was undertaken. 

Data concerning the migration of recipients of old-age assistance in Louisiana 
are available fi'om the statistical information recorded on each person approved 
for an old-age assistance grant. As a part of the certification record, the follow- 
ing questions are answered for every person accepted for assistance: 

(1) Has the applicant moved to this parish from another parish in the State 
within the last 12 months? If so, specify the parish from which he moved. 

(2) Did the applicant receive public assistance in that parish? If so, specify 
the type of aid received. 

Obviously, the information on migration is limited to movements within the 
State and does not reflect interstate migration. The data are further restricted 
to showing migration only if the change of residence occurred within the 12- 
month period immediately preceding the time of acceptance for old-age assistance. 
This latter item, however, does not exclude recipients of old-age assistance who 
moved to another and were accepted for assistance by the parish of second 
residence ; in these cases the social data, including information on migration, 
were recorded by the second parish as of the time the case was accepted by that 

During the 2V-- years from July 1937 through December 1939, a total of 799 
persons appi-oved for old-age assistance reported that they had changed their 
parish of residence at sometime within the 12 months preceding their acceptance. 
These migrants comprised 4-percent of the 20,128 Individuals who were ap- 
proved for old age assistance during the period. It should be emphasized, how- 



ever, that this study does not attempt to measure what proportion of aged per- 
sons migrate from one parish to another. The primary purpose is to analyze 
.the data available on the 799 persons who it is known did move. 

Although the proportion of migrants to the total old-age assistance caseload is 
relatively small, the fact that as many as 799 recipients had changed their 
parish of residence within 12 months prior to the time of acceptance for old-age 
iissistance does represent a definite administrative problem. Especially is this 
true when it is realized that of the 799 migrants, r.8.5, or 73.2 percent, had re- 
ceived public assistance in the parish from which they moved. A majority, 
then, are recipients whose cases had to be transferred from the care of one parish 
welfare department to another. 

Table 1. — Migration of recipients of old age assistance hn parish July 
1937-December 1939 


Parishes of 37,500 or more. . 



East BatonJRouge 


St. Landry 








Parishes of 25,000 to 37,500. 










St. Mary 





Parishes of 12,500 to 25,000- 





Lincoln -. _ 

St. Martin 

Number of recipients 
who moved 



Gain or 








+ 3 




Parishes of 12,500 to 25.000— 

Pointe Coupee 

St. Tammany 



Jefferson Davis 



East Feliciana 

Red River 

Assumption ... . 

East Carroll 


St. James 

Allen - 





St. John 

West Carroll 



Parishes of less than 12,500... 

Catahoula . 

St. Charles 


West Feliciana 


West Baton Rouge 


St. Helena 

St. Bernard 


Number of recipients 
who moved 



Gain or 

























A tabulation of parishes involved in the migration of old-age assistance re- 
-cipients reveals a wide divergence among the parishes in tlie number of mi- 
grants (table 1). Ouachita had the largest total number of migrants moving 
to and from its boundaries, as well as the greatest net gain from migration. 
Forty-one persons accepted for old-age assistance in Ouachita reported that they 
had moved to this parish from another parish within the preceding 12 months ; 
while 20 individuals approved for old-age assistance in other parishes reported 
that they had moved from Ouachita. At the opopsite extreme, Plaquemines was 
the only parish to or from which not a single person reported moving, and St. 
Bernard had only one recipient who stated that he had moved from another 

Besides Ouachita, the largest net gains as a result of migration were 14 in 
Orleans, 10 in Rapides, 9 in West Carroll, 8 each in St. Landry. Iberia, and 
€addo. and 7 in East Baton Rouge. The parishes with the greatest net losses in 



migration of aged persons were Franklin with 11, Union with 9, Sabine and 
Lincoln with 8 each, and Lafourche, Evangeline, and Vernon with 7 each. 

On table 1 the parishes are listed in descending order according to population. 
Of the 10 parishes with a population of 37,500 or more, only 3 showed a net loss 
in migration. As a group, these 10 parishes showed a net increase of G5 in the 
number of migrants, while ever.v other grouping of parishes showed a net 
decrease in migrants. This fact indicates that the aged individuals have 
moved from thinly populated areas to the more populous parislies. 

This evidence of migration of the aged from rural to urban areas would not 
be conclusive, however, without further .substantiation. With the exception of 
■Orleans, a large portion of each of these 10 parishes is rural, and the individual 
might have moved to a rural area rather than to an urban center within the 
parish. In order to obtain more specific information concerning the type of 
community from and to which the individuals moved, the location of the recipi- 
ent's home before and after he moved was studied in as many cases as 
possible. This information was available in the parishes of first and second 
residence for 350 of the 799 recipients; the location of the recipient's dwelling 
place in the first parish was compared with the location in the parish to which 
he moved. Results of this comparison are shown in table 2. 

In the parishes of first residence, 62.6 percent of these 350 aged recipients 
lived on farms. In the parishes of second residence, only 54 percent lived on 
farms. The proportion living in urban centers increased from 15.7 percent in 
the first parishes to 23.1 percent in the second parishes ; the proportion living in 
rural nonfann areas rose from 21.7 percent to 22.9 percent. In this group, then, 
which should be fairly representative of the total number of migrants, there was 
a marked movement from farm areas to urban centers. 

Table 2. — Change in place of residence of 350 recipients of old-age assistance 

Place of residence 

Parish of first 

Parish of second 










Urban .._... . 





Rural - 


Nonfarm . . - _.. 





Farm . .. _- - . -- 


Since old-age assistance grants to recipients in urban areas generally average 
slightly more than grants to recipients in rural areas, it might be argued that 
the prospect of receiving higher grants intiuenced the migration to urban cen- 
ters. It seems unlikely, however, to those engaged in public-welfare activities 
that this factor was important in the migration of aged recipients. In the 
first place, 17 of the 24 parishes which showed a net increase from migration 
had an average old-age assistance grant in July 1039 smaller than the State 
average, indicating that migration to these parishes was not for the purpose 
of obtaining a higher grant. Furthermore, persons eligible for old-age as- 
sistance probably would not recognize that differences in average grants exist 
among parishes; their contacts in another parish would be with a few indi- 
viduals whose grants might be either higher or lower than their own. Then, 
too, the variations in the grants among the parishes are usually so small that 
an individual would not be .lustified in making a change in his living arrange- 
ments merely in the hope of securing a higher grant. Especially would there 
be little to gain in moving to urban centers where living costs such as rent 
and fuel are likely to be much higher than in the country. Together, these 
factors tend to eliminate the possibility of the influence of high and low grants 
on migration of the aged. 

Although table 1 shows the number of recipients who moved in each parish, 
it d<tes not show in each instance of migration the parish from and to which 



the individual moved. For example, table 1 shows that 41 persons moved to 
Ouachita, but it does not indicate from what parishes these individuals moved. 
Chart 1 supplements table 1 by showing the two parishes involved in the prin- 
cipal incidences of migration. Since it would be impossible to present graphi- 
cally every instance of migration, chart 1 shows only the in which 3 or 
more persons migrated from one parish to another, thus reflecting the major 
trends of movement. 

The greatest single instance of migration from one parish to another was 
the moving of 14 persons from Lincoln to Jackson. Offsetting this movement 
to some extent was the migration of 7 persons from Jackson to Lincoln. When 
there is reciprocal migration between 2 parishes, it is assumed that same 
individuals are seldom involved in both movements; when a recipient moves 
to another parish, he is not accepted by the parish of second residence until 
it is ascertained that lie intends to remain in that parish. 

The centers of the largest incidences of migration were the following: (1) 
Parishes in the northwest section of the State, particularly East and West 
Carroll. Richland, Madison, Ouachita. Franklin. Catahoula, "and Lincoln: and 
(2) the central section of the State, involving chiefly the parishes of Vernon, 
Rapides, Avoyelles, Evangeline, St. Landry, and Acadia. In most of these par- 
ishes there are large numbers of tenant farmers. Mobility among tenants is 
considerably higher than among other segments of the population: it may be 
safely assumed that many of the aged recipients are members of tenant families 
who follow the family as it moves to seek a livelihood. 

In a study of migration the analysis of the reasons for moving would be 
the most significant data concerning the migrants. Since this information is 
not available, however, a comparison of the social characteristics of the 
migrant group with the total old-age assistance recipients should furnish the 
best available insight into the t.vpe of individuals who move. This comparison 
was made. For the migrant group, social data were available for 614 of the 
total 799. Social data on the 20.941 recipients approved for old-age assistance 
during the period November 1936 through June 1939 has previously been tabu- 
lated, and this group was used as representative of the entire old-age assistance 

Comparison of the race distribution of the total old-age assistance caseload 
with that of the migrant group reveals a significant difference as shown in 
table 3. 

Table 3. — Race distribution of total oJd-af/r assisfance case load and of old-af/e 

assistance m igran ts 


Total old- 
age assist- 
ance case 


Total number of recipients 

29, 941 


Total percent 







75 2 


Other . 

While only 58.5 percent of the total old-age-assistance recipients were white, 
75.2 percent of the old-age-assistance migrants were white. Migration among 
ti'se aged white, then, is considerably greater than among aged Negroes. 

Males compriserl 54.6 percent of the migrant group, while only 51.3 perceiit 
of the total recipients w-ere male (table 4). Although the difference between 
these two percentage's is small, it is indicative that the proportion of males 



who move is slightly higher than the proportion of females. Further analysis 
of the sex of the migrants shows that of the whites 57 percent were male 
and of the Negroes 49 percent were male. Thus the ascendency of males 
over females in the migrant group is caused hy the white rather than by the 
Negro recipients. 


The migrant group, as a whole, is older than the total old-age-assistance 
group (table 5). The proportion of the total old-age-assistance recipients who 
were in the age groups of 65-69 years and 70-74 years was higher than the 
proportion of migrants in these same groups. In all of the age groups above 
75. however, the percentage of migrants was greater than the percentage of 
the total old-age-assistance case load. 

Table 4. — Sex distribution of total old-age assistance case load and of old-age 

assistance migrants 


Total old- 
age assist- 
ance case 


29, 941 




51. .3 




Tabl£ 5. — Age distribution of total old-age assistanse case load and of old-age 

assistance migrants 


Total old- 
age assist- 
ance case 


29, 941 




65 to 69 



70 to 74 - 


75lo79 .. - 


80to84 - --- - - 


85to89 .- - - -- - -- 





According to data recorded at the time the individuals were accepted for old-age 
assistance, the physical condition of the migrants is not as good as that of the 
total old-age assistance recipients. Table 6 shows that while 76 percent of the 
total group were physically able to care for themselves, only 66.4 percent of the 
migrants were similarly clas.sified. This fact parallels the findings in table 5 that 
the migrant group is generally older than the total recipients and therefore more 
liable to poor health. 



Table 6. — Physical condition of total old-age assistance case load and of old-age 

assistance migrants 

Physical condition 

Total old- 
age assist- 
ance case 


Total number of recipients 

Total percent 


Not bedridden, but requiring considerable care from others 
Able to care for self 

29, 941 








Mr. Falk. All of the discussions that I have heard prepared and 
presented so far remind me of the story of a community which was 
facing a problem because near the city there was a mountain road 
making a very sharp turn. A number of persons drove off the road 
and over the cliff, fell to the bottom of the mountain and were seriously 
hurt or killed. The town agreed that something should be done about 
it. They agreed that they should buy an ambulance and put it at the 
bottom of the hill in order to care for the people who were hurt in 
that manner. There were a few among the minority on the city council 
who believed that they should put a fence around the sharp curve on 
the road in order to keep the people from falling off and becoming 
injured. Now, I think all of these plans that we have heard about 
here to give the migrants cheap housing and to give them relief of 
one sort and another, are more of the ambulance type, but I think that 
the real thing to relieve the situation is to provide a suitable income 
in the way of employment, rather than to provide better housing and 
extend relief of various forms to these migrants, as has been suggested 

Mr. Curtis. You take the ]3osition that the ambulance type of work 
is necessary, it is huniane, and possibly, to a certain extent, necessary 
under the existing situations, but it is your contenticm that it does 
not solve the problem? 

Mr. Falk. Yes. sir; that is correct, and certainly a more desirable 
way to solve it is by prevention. If we could have the migrant in- 
cluded in the minimum wage-hour bill or perhaps see that he got 
unemployment compensation and could share in the old-age benefit 
payments, then we would be doing more fence-building rather than 
providing ambulance service. 

jNIr. Curtis. Do you think that the answer lies in that sort of thing? 

Mr. Falk. I think that would be probably one way to remedy it. 

Mr. Curtis. Do you think we have reached a basic problem of un- 
employment and difficulties in agriculture where these ])eople can no 
longer stay on the land? 


Mr. Falk. I tliink so. I think there are many indications toward 
increasing the wage of the migrant farm laborer. I am sorry that I 
did not hear Dr. Vance's statement about increasing the production 
and the price, and so on, but I know it is a problem much beyond my 
efforts to solve. 


Mr. Curtis. Tliere is one other thing that you mention in your 
paper with reference to residence requirements for assistance. Let 
us have what you think about that. 

Mr. Falk. I don't believe we have ever seen a law that has remained 
in use so long or continued to serve its purposes as long as have the 
settlement laws. One of the barriers which must be removed before 
assistance can be available is our settlement laws. They are govern- 
ing, in many instances, twentieth century America with seventeenth 
century laAvs and attitudes. Settlement laws date back to 1349 when 
the black death plagued England. The English settlement law was in- 
stituted to immobilize labor, and it is still doing that. The settlement- 
law idea was brought over and planted by tlie colonists in the New 
World, and some of them are now like the old English laws in 1300. 
I would like to read one State settlement law, if I may. 

Mr. Curtis. All right. 

Mr. Falk. INIany of the original settlement laws of the colonies 
were copies of the old English settlement laws. Unfortunately, some 
of these laws still exist. Take for example, the settlement law of 
1662 in England, which stated — 

That settlement was acquired by birth, and the new settlement could be se- 
cured either by marriage, the women taken the husbands; by paying taxes; by 
serving for a whole year in any public county office; by being bound as a servant 
or apprentice for a year and by living more than 40 days in a county and 
occupying a house vrith an annual rental of more than 10 pounds. 

Now, in 1938, the settlement laws for Delaware read, that a settle- 
ment in Delaware could be established by — 

1. By executing any public office for a year. 2. By paying poor taxes for 2 
consecutive years. 3. By occupying and paying rent for premises therein, of 
the higher value of $50 for 1 year. 4. By serving 1 year therein as a lawful 
apprentice or servant. 

So, in 1938. we still have practically the same settlement laws that 
existed in 1662. 

Mr. Curtis. Noav. ]\Ir. Falk, there have been two schools of thought 
among social workers, in regard to this subject — one is abolishment 
and the other is uniformity. Would you be for the abolishment or 
would you be for uniformity? 

Mr. Falk. I would be for both. I do not think that abolition could 
come overnight, and pending it, I would prefer uniformity. 

Mr. Curtis. But ultimately, you say abolishment, then ? 

Mr. Falk. Yes. sir. 

Mr. Curtis. You are a social worker — have you ever enumerated 
what the individual loses and what society loses when a migrant gets 
into difficulties and he is away from his home community, individuals 
that he has known all his life, away from the ties of friendship, away 


from the bonds of liis local ehiiicli, and all that sort of thino- — can 
you give him the help that he needs as well away from home, and is 
he going to feel less restrained in asking for it in his place of new 

Mr. Falk. I think that wT)uld be rather difficult for me to answer, 
Mr. Congressman. I do believe that w^e should give some thought 
to the place wdiere he ought to be and where he wants to be, and I 
believe reciprocal agreements w ould be a stop-gap in allowing him to 
return to the State where he ought to be, but where he may not have 

The reason I think the abolitioa of settlement was desirable — I am 
thinking of my own community, Baton E-ouge — the Standard Oil Co. 
and a number of industries there have brought into the community 
a number of persons. Some of them have been there for 10 or 15 
years and they have really made a contribution to the community and 
have spent their money and lived there although they are not from 
there, but. they have meant something to this community. 

Mr. Curtis. Haven't they met the requirements of the Louisiana 
settlement laws? 

Mr. Falk. Yes sir, but they may be transferred somewhere else, 
or they may desire to return some day to their old homes, if they 
shoukl lose their jobs. Some may remain in New Jersey, we will say, 
and if they do remain in New Jersey for a year, then New Jersey would 
be asked to grant them relief if they become unemployed, but I think 
under those circumstances, that Baton Rouge should be called upon 
to bear a part of that burden, because their contribution was made 
to that community during their gainfully employed years, and they 
have contributed little to New Jersey. Where the person has made 
his economic adjustment or contribution to the community should be 
taken into consideration, rather than where he happens to be when he 
is in need of assistance. 

Mr. Curtis. Is there anything else you wish to say ? 

Mr. Falk. Yes, sir. I believe that the South is not financially 
able to meet the problem, because it does not have the money. The 
State budget of the State of Mississippi, the entire State budget is 
smaller than the budget for education in the State of Massachusetts, 
and if the State of Mississippi spent as much on education as Nev/ 
York State, it would take 99 percent of its State budget. Something 
has to be done to help a State that is trying to supply its entire 
governmental functions with less money than another State is spend- 
ing for educational purposes alone. A system of variable grants is 
the only answer, not only for general assistance, but for all of the 

Mr. Curtis. In reference to this State's budget, is a ]:)ortion of that 
going to pay interest on bonded debt? 

Mr. Falk. In Mississippi, I should say ; yes sir. 

Mr. Curtis. A very great portion ? 

Mr. Falk. No, I don't think that it is any greater portion, perhaps, 
than some of the other States. Everything is done on such a low figure, 


the whole income oi the whole State of Mississippi is so vei-y small. 
All of the Soiitliern States are in a very difficult financial situation. 

Mr. Curtis. I want to thank you for your presentation here, and 
your full statement will be given further consideration by the com- 
mittee in preparino; its report. 

(Whereupon the witness was excused.) 


Mr. OsMEKS. State vour name for the record. 

Mr. Smith. O. P. Smith. 

Mr. OsMERS. Where were you born and when? 

Mr. Smith. December T, 1891, Coffee County, Ala. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you want to tell the committee about your ex- 
periences and where you were raised, and your education and so on? 

Mr. Smith. Yes sir. My education was in the schools in Coffee 
County. I finished throiioh the tenth grade at Enterprise, and 
then a'fter living there. I went to Campbell Institute at Dothan, for 
my commercial course. After having finished over there. I got a 
position Avith Gen. Peter W. Meldrin, who was division iittorney_ for 
the A. C. L. Railway, and he was also president of the American 
Bar Association while I was with him, during the period. 

Mr. OsMEES. What did you do after that ? 

Mr. Smith. Well, immediately after that, about 6 months or a year, 
I accepted a position with the Central & Southern Railway as freight 
claim clerk, and then I moved back to my farm, or to a farm over in 
Covington County, Ala. 

Mr. OsMERS. In Alabama? 

Mr. Smith. Yes sir ; back down to Covington County. 

Mr. OsMERS. When you returned to the farm, was farming your 
only occupation ? 

Mr. Smith. At that time, I farmed until, I think it was in June of 
1921. I went over to Atlanta then and accepted a position with the 
Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation, as assistant claim adjuster. 
I knew the man in Savannah when I was with Mr. Meldrin. 

Mr. OsMERs. Were you engaged in any other business while you 
were in Covington County? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; after I left Atlanta, I went back to Coving- 
ton County and farmed, 1924. 1925, and 1926. 

Mr. OsMERS. You mean during the years 1924. 1925, and 1926? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; and farming was all I had at the time. I 
did deal some in real estate, and developing farms, and building- 
houses in the town of Andalusia. 

Mr. Osmers. AYhat was your income in the years that you were in 
Covington County ? 

Mr. Smith. That is sort of hard to say. 

Mr. Osmfj?s. Just approximate it, by the year, for us. i 

Mr. Smith. My own income, would j-ou say? 

Mr. OsMERS. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Smith. Two or three hundred dollars per year after I paid 
all of mv expenses. 


Mr. OsMERS. That is including your income from the real-estate 
business, too? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; I guess it did — that is about right. 

Mr. OsMERs. That would include your whole total cash income? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERs. And then you went to Atlanta ? 

Mr. Smith. Well, I was in the oil business for 2 years, but I .had 
sold all of my farms and I went in the oil business, and I still built 
houses in town and developed property. 

Mr. Osmers. Why did you get out of that business ? 

Mr. Smcth. Well, I thought I could do better. I had made some 
money, and I, went to Birmingham, and the real-estate business in 
Birmingham really went to the bad, and then I went to Atlanta. 

Mr. Osmers. Also in the real-estate business? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; in the same business. 

Mr. Osmers. How did you happen to return to farming? 

Mr. SMn-H. The real-estate business really went to the bad in 
Atlanta, and so I left over there and since I was raised on the farm, 
I knew that I could make my wife and babies plenty to eat on the 
tarm, because I had a good knowledge of farming. 

Mr. Osmers. And how long were you on the farm when you came 
back from Atlanta? 

Mr. Smith. Sir? 

Mr. Osmers. How long were you on the farm when you came 
back from Atlanta? 

Mr. Smith. That was 1930—1 came back to the farm in 1930 and I 
made a crop in 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1934—1934 was the last 
year that I farmed in Coffee County, at that time, back at Enterprise. 

Mr. Osmers. And what did you do after that ? 

Mr. Smith. I accepted a position, then, with a St. Louis wholesale 
house, as a traveling salesman. 

Mr. Osmers. Where did your work take you? 

Mr. Smith. Just in Alabama, say from Montgomery south. 

Mr. Osmers. Did you travel with your family, or did you travel 

Mr. Smith. No; they stayed in Enterprise, or near Enterprise, they 
lived on a farm over there, and they lived there as long as I trav- 
eled for the St. Louis wholesale house. 

Mr. Osmers. How did you make out as a traveling salesman? 

Mr. Smith. Not so good. 

Mr. Osmers. "Wliat was your income? 

Mr. Smith. I broke about even after keeping my family up and 
so on, I just broke about even — it wasn't attractive. 

Mr. Osmers. And what did you do after that ? 
^ Mr. Smith. For about 6 months, I operated what was called the 
South Alabama Rolling Store ; we built a big van on a big truck, 
and sold groceries all over the country. 

Mr. Osmers. How did that go? 

Mr. Smith. Not so hot. 

Mr. Osmers. What did you do with your family while you had 
your rolline: store? 


Mr. Smith. I was living in Geneva in town, at that time. 

Mr. OsMERS. T\liat did you do next? 

Mr. Smith. I accepted a position with the Commercial Casualty 
Insurance Co., and traveled over a part of the State of Alabama and 
all of Mississippi. 

Mr. OsMEKS. Do vou mean the Commercial Casualty Co. of New- 
ark. N. J.? 

Mr, Smith. That is right. 

Mr. OsMERS, How long did you work for them? 

Mr. Smith. It was something like a year or two — I don't remem- 
ber just exactly, but as I remember it, it was considerably over a year. 

Mr. OsMERS. How did you get along on that job in a financial way? 

Mr. Smith. Well, that was only fair, and I was away from my 
family all the time, and I didn't like that. 

MiC OsMERS. And did you go back to your farm again? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. How did you find conditions when you came back 
to the farm i When did you go back to the farm ? 

Mr. Smith. It was in '26 or '27 when I made up my mind — I believe 
it was in the winter of '27. 

Mr. OsMERS. Do you mean "27 or '37 ? 

Mr. wSmith. '37; when I made up my mind to be with my family, 
and I knew how to plow and how to farm, and I decided to do that, 
and I had read in the papers something about the F. S. A. that was 
helping the people, and I tried to get on with Mr. Lewis in Geneva 
County, and I couldn't make it. 

Mr. OsMERS. Who is Mr. Lewis? 

Mr. Smith. AVell. he looks after the F. S. A. farm, sort of like 
Mr. Mack, onlv he is under ]\Ir. ]Mack. He was the local representa- 
tive of the F. S. A. 

]Mr. OsMERS. Did he take care of you? 


'Sir. Smith. Xo. sir: he didn't have room. So, after I failed there, 
I moved up in Coffee County near Enterprise, and got in with Mr. 
Warren, a trading and furnishing house, and I was with him during 
1938. and I kept on worrying Mr. Mack until he took me over. 

Mr. OsMERs. With respect to this Mr. Warren, did he finance you 
in your operations? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. ^Aliat did that financing cost you, I mean the interest 
rate ( 

Mr. Smith. Well, the way you do, you go in there in the spring- 
time and you make up your note for so much money's worth of 
supplies, and he has a commissary, and you go in there and get 
your merchandise and supplies from the commissary. 

Mr. OsMERS. And get vour seed and so on? 


Mr. Smith. Everythini": that you need. Oh. I iiiiaoine he tioures 
about 35 to 50 percent interest on his money; that is aliout the May 
it pans out. 

JNIr. OsMERS. Very moderate, to say the least. 

Mr. Smith. He is a good friend of mine, and all that, but that is 
what happens. 

Mr. OsMERS. He seems to have a more prosperous business than 
]ias the man tliat borrows from him? 

Mr. Smith. I think so. 

Mr. OsMERs. Then, you were finally successful in making arrange- 
ments with the Farm Security? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr, Osmers. What is your an-angement that you have with them? 

Mr. Smith. We have a 12-month furnish — that is, in the spring- 
time, they come around, or his representatives do, and we figure out 
a budget system. 

]\Ir. Osmers. "V^Hiat is your farm — do they give you the farm or 
did you find a farm, or is it your farm? 

Mr. Smith. No; in the meantime, my wife had inherited a small 

Mr. Osmers. Free and clear? 

Mr. Smith. No ; there is a small mortgage on it. 

Mr. Osmers. Tell me about your Farm Security dealings. 

Mr. Smith. We figured out a budget, so much money, I had bought 
a horse at that time, and we figured some money out for a cow, 
liorse, hog, and w^e figured out what we would need during the year, 
every month, clothes and supplies of every nature to carry me through 
the entire 12-montli period, and in the fall when we began to gather the 
crops, we didn't have to worry about it at all, we just carried in the 
statement and checks received, and deposited the money in a joint 
bank account with F. S. A., to be used in paying off my mortgage 
witli F. S. A. and to operate the farm next year. 

Mr. Osmers. Were you able to pay off your obligations to the Farm 
Security Administration ? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; luckily, I was. 

Mr. Osmers. On time and in full ? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; luckily, I was. 

Mr. Osmers. Did they give you this money to use in your 12- 
month budget, in the form of a loan at the beginning of the year, 
or did they give that to you as you went along? 

Mr. Smith. They gave it to us as we went along, a specific amount 
evei-y month. 

Mr. Osmers. As you needed it, they gave it to you ? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. They didn't turn it over to you in a lump sum to use 
all during the year as you saw fit? 

Mr. Smith. No, sir. We got it at different times diiTing the year. 
We got a clothes check in June and one in September, we got a 
clothes check in September and it also was for school l)ooks and 
all of that kind of thing. 


Mr. OsMERS. Wouldn't you care to give your opiuion to the coni- 
luittee as to a eoniparison" betAveen the arrangements that you made 
with the merchant who advanced you supplies, and so forth, and the 
arrangement that yon made with the Farm Security Administra- 
tion — would you care to make a comparison as to which is better, so 
far as the farmer is concerned? 

Mr. Smith. As I see it. there is no comparison at all; the Farm 
Security Administration's plan is so much better, very, very much 
better. " You see, the furnishing merchant, he doesn't help you very 
much, he just figures out what you have to have to starve it out. 

Mr. OsMEKS. How nuich do you pay the Farm Security for your 

Mr. Smith. The rate of interest, do you mean? 

Mr. OsMERS. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Smith. Five percent. 

Mr. Osmers. And those are 1-year loans, that is the loan that you 
work under is to be for 1 year, or is it for a longer time than 1 

Mr. Smith. No; the loan from the Farm Security Administra- 
tion is spread over a period of 5 years. If I borrow $500, it is scat- 
tered over a period of 5 years, and I have to pay back $100 each 
year, with interest, to the Farm Security Administration. 

Mr. OsMERS. But the money that you borrowed, the payment of 
which was spread over a 5-year period, was only used to make one 
crop, is that correct? 

Mr. Smith. For that one year, yes, sir ; that is right. 

Mr. Osmers. And when you come back for the second year, do 
you have to borrow another $500 to go over ? 

Mr. Smith. No, sir. 

Mr. Osmers. Or can you use the things that you bought in the year to continue along? 

Mr. Smith. You use the things that you bought in the first year, 
in the way of farming implements and livestock. 

Mr. Osmers. Yes. 

Mr. Smith. And then it is supposed to be a self-sustaining propo- 
sition. If my payment was $100 to Mr. Mack, and if I make $400 
from my farming operations that year, I deposit all my $400 in the 
pot, a subchecking account with them, and they take $100 to make 
my payment that is due, and then that other $300 is to our credit, to 
be used in the next year, and so on, never making another borrow 
unless something happens that you have to. 

Mr. Osmers. Do you plan to continue fai-ming from now on? 

Mr. Smith. Yes. sir; I do. 

Mr. Osmers. Are you happy at your work? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir; absolutely. 

Mr. Osmers. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Curtis. How far is your farm from here? 

Mr. Smith. It is around 100 miles. 

Mr. Curtis. Which direction? 

Mr. Smith. Pretty nearly soutJi, I would say — it is in Coffee 

2fi0370 — 40 — pt. -2 20 

Q98 interstatp: .migration 

Mr. Curtis. Do you have any difficulty there, raising vegetables? 

Mr. Smith. None at all, none at all. 

Mr. Curtis. Regardless of what cash crops are available, with your 
present set-up, you can keep your family from starving? 

Mr. Smith. Absolutely ; yes, sir. 

Mr. Curtis. That is better than the European plan, isn't it? 

Mr. Smith. Beg your pardon ? 

Mr. Curtis. I said that is better than the European phui. isn't it? 
At least better than the Europeans are doing? 

Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. I have nothing to worry about now. In tliat 
traveling job that I had, for instance, if you get out of work, you 
are just up against it, and this way I have nothing to worrv about. 

Mr. Curtis. That's all. 

Mr. Sparkman. We thank you very much, Mv. Smith. 

(Whereupon the witness was excused.) 

Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Morgan, I believe you are the next witness. 


Mr. Sparkman. Mr. Morgan, will you give your name, title, and 
address to the reporter? 

Mr. Morgan. My name is E. S. Morgan, regional director, Fann 
Security Administration, region V, Montgomery, Ala. 

Mr. Sparkman. Will you please advise us what States are included 
in region V? 

Mr. Morgan. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. 

Mr. Sparkman. That is four States? 

Mr. Morgan. Let's see. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Ala- 
bama — yes, sir; four States. 

Mr. Sparkman. You have prepared and filed with us a very com- 
prehensive statement, and a statement that I want to say is full of 
substance. We appreciate it very much, and we are going to ask 
you to submit a copy of your statement to the reporter, and let it 
become a part of the record, and then let us question you about it. 

Mr. Morgan. That is fine. 

(The statement referred to is as follows:) 

Statement of E. S. Morgan, Regional Dirkctor, Farm Security At).ministration 

The committee lias heard several reports concerning the extent of migration 
of farm families here in the Southeastern States, and much information has heen 
furnished ahout the doplorahle situation of these displaced families who are 
forced to roam the highways in search of food and shelter. Xo effective con- 
sideration of the problems of these people could ignore a study of the causes 
of this mass migration. My remarks, therefore, will concern, primarily, the 
forces which have combined to push these thousands of farm families off the 
land, and the steps which are being taken by the Federal Government to ari'est 
this trend of migration by bringing the families into a better relationship with 
the land. 


The problems of the cotton South are not the outgrowth of the depression 
of the thirties. Rather, they have been growing, largely unnoticed, even by tlie 
nia.1nrity of the southern people, since the days of the Civil War, and before. 


It Took the tragedy of the depression, which forced thousands of our farmers 
on relief, to impress on us the extent of poverty among our rural iieople. 

It had been the popular belief of most of the people here in the South that 
agriculture, and particularly the people who depended on it, could never be 
injured by world conditions, economic trends, or by the effects of a serious 
depression. There hiid been a feeling that farming here in the Scmth offered 
security for all who had the willingness to work. The farmers of the South 
feel and like their independence. They are strong-willed and have learned 
through years of hardship to "take it on the chin." So. the fact that over 30,000 
farm families in eacli of the States of Georgia and Alabama were on the relief 
jolls during 1935 indicated that something was wrong in agriculture in these 
:Slates and in this region. 

It required much courage — or, rather, the very opposite of it, utter defeat 
■and hopelessness — for "independent" farmers to apply for public assistance. 
Actually, the relief rolls did not tell of the extent of suffering and poverty among 
the farm families of this region, for thousands of them, though without adequate 
food and clothing to sustain themselves, could never quite overcome their pride 
and ask for the help they so badly needed. But the depression, and these 
thousands of farm families on relief awakened us to the realization of many 
deep-rooted maladjustments in our agricultural economy, which had heretofore 
"been observed only by the more enlightened leaders of the South and by the 
sociologists and economists who had studied our region. 


The symptoms of some of these fundamental problems have been apparent for almost a century. Farmers have mi,grated from the cotton-growing 
State of the Southeast for generations. When the settlers first came to this 
•comiriT. they found virgin land and forests that supplied them bountifully with 
timber, game, and such crops as were planted. The settlers cleared land along 
the seidioiird. cultivated it for a few years, getting all they could from it, with- 
out putting anything l)ack and with little regard for its value to future genera- 
tions, then looked to the virgin fields and forests beyond. As the cleared tracts 
lost their fertility and became unproductive, and as the population increased, 
the pioneers pushed on further west to take in new land, to mine it intensively 
until it was no longer productive, and then to push onward toward the West. 
That's how this country was settled — and people have always migrated from this 
region. I'ntil some years ago it was possible for any family who was willing 
to move to a new homestead in the West. Today there is no free land in the 
AVest. and we are forced to seek new methods of dealing with the problem of 
poverty among fann people of this area. 

In more recent year.s. f)r immediately following the World War, there was a 
migration fmm the rural South to the cities and industrial centers, but the 
■depression and technological development in industry threw millions of peojile 
out of employment during the thirties, and there was no opportunity for migra- 
tion from the South to the industrial areas. The trend of population movement 
from the farms to the cities was reversed during the depres.sion, and agri- 
culture, though it had struggled with a depression since 1921, was forced to 
absorb not only an increase of about a half a million employable workers each 
year, but also had to absorb many thousands of unemployed industrial workers 
w^ho drifted liack to the farms and to their families on the farms. 

Between 1930 and 193.5. the number of farm units in operation throughout the 
Nation rose from 0,288.000 to 6,812.000. an increase of more than half a million. 
There -was a proportionate ino'ease iu the number of farms in operation in the 
South during this period. 


Tlure are le^s acres under cultivation in the South today than there were in 
1800. Our land is far less productive now, but there are twice as many fami- 
lies trying to eke out an existence on those acres today as there were in 1800. 
In the southeastern cotton belt the average farm is only 30 acres for cultivated 
croi)s. as compared with an average of 74 acres for the rest of the countrv. 


This pressure of population on the land forced hundreds of thousands of south- 
ern farmers to try to support their big families on farms too small to provide 
a decent living under even the best of conditions. It forced thousands of others to 
till land that is even too poor to yield a living. This pressure of population on 
the laud is one of the South's biggest problems, and its growing intensity, plus 
the mechanization of farms, and the increased number of large commercial 
operators, is causing the displacement of thousands of tenants, sharecroppers 
and wage hands throughout this area. It also means that fully half of the 
southern farm population must live in extreme poverty because there is not 
enough land to give every farm family a productive and economic unit. 


The low income and low living standards of the bottou third of our farm popu- 
lation has shut them out of our productive economy as effectively as if they were 
in another nation. they are without essentials of capital equipment in 
adequate land and tools, they are necessarily unproductive. They contribute 
few goods and services, and they ar« able to buy only the barest of necessities. 
The 1980 census disclosed that even in prosperous 1929, 1.6S2,OflO farms of the 
Nation reported a gross income of less than .$(iOO, and that tig\u-e includes all 
farm operating expenses and all foodstuffs raised for home consumption. A 
more recent study by the National Resources Committee indicated that in 193G, 
more than 1,690,000 farm families had an average income of less than $500 a 
year, and nearly half of these families had incomes of less than $250 per year, 
in other words, about 4,000,000 farm people were trying to live on an average 
income of about $1 per week. 

The farm income here in the South is the lowest for any section of the United 
States and most of the farm families of the Nation with gross incomes of less 
than $500 live in this section. Considering this fact, it is not alarming that 
such a large number of our farm families were forced on relief during the 
depths of the depression. 

For generations the farmers in tlie South have followed a one-crop system of 
agricultiire. We have depended almost entirely on cottim as a source of farm 
income. We have mined our soil, year in and year out. in an effort to get as 
much as we could from it, but the ma.lority of the farmers have neglected to 
put anything back. There are now over 97,000,000 acres of badly ei-oded land 
in the Southern States alone. At least 22,000,000 acres, an acreage as large as 
the State of South Carolina, have been ruined beyond repair. This is wasted 
land. Poor land means poor people. 

Then, there is the problem of tenancy. This is partly cause and partly result 
of the unsoundness of our agricultural economy. Tenancy is increasing in this 
country at the rate of about 40,000 families a year. Two out of every three 
farmers in Alabama are tenants or sharecroppers. In the Southeastern States 
the farms are usually smaller than those in other sections of the country, the 
fertility of the soil has been lowered by erosion and improper care, the farm 
buildings are usually in had state of repair, or are in a state of decay, and we 
have a highly mobile farm population. Under the tenure system of the South 
since the Civil War, the land and the people have been going down together. 

Approximately half of the tenant farmers in Alabama and Georgia move 
every year, and without advantage to themselves or to their landlords. In 1936. 
Georgia had more farmers who had been on the land only 1 year than any other 
State in the Union, but Alabama and other Southeastern States rank very close 
to Georgia in the mobility of their tenants. The erosion of our soil and the in- 
security of tenure have had the effect of steadily cutting down our farm income, 
and, at the same time, of adding to tlie cost of production of crops. While the 
South has only about one-fifth of the Nation's income, it buys three-fifths of the 
fertilize]- sold in this coiuitry. These conditions have been growing for many 
years. The depression simply focused our attention im the problems of our 
distressed farm people. 




luimt-diatply after the World War farm prices plunged downward and returns 
per acre for basic crops were drastically reduced. Land values declined along 
with the per acre returns, but, at the same time, there was no drop in the 
mortgage burden wdiich the farmers had to carry. The farmers could neither 
wipe out their debts by selling out, nor were they able to earn enough from their 
lands to operate their farms and carry the interest and principal payment on 
their indebtedness. The total farm mortgage debt for the Nation had risen from 
31/5 billion dollars in 1910 to 9^4 billion dollars by 1930. The total cash income 
of farmers dropped from a little less than lOVo billion dollars in 1929 to approxi- 
mately 4',:{ billion dollars in 1932. This drying up of farmers' buying power had 
a tremendous effect on the Nation's economy, and resulted in the closing down of 
industrial plants and other business enterprises throughout the country. 

The extent to which farm buying power had declined is indicated by the fol- 
lowing table, which was published by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 
showing the number of pounds of cotton needed to buy a two-horse wagon in the 
years 1921 to 1932 : 


price, two- 
horse wagon 

Number of 

bales (500 


cotton needed 

to buy 


price, two- 
horse wagon 

Number of 

bales (500 


cotton needed 

to buy 


100. 80 
103. 07 




103. 07 


















The one-crop farming has been a terrific gamble for the farmers of the 
South. Only once during the last decade did the price of cotton fluctuate less 
than 10 percent between pickings. Three times in 5 years it jumped more 
than 40 percent — once up and twice down. A study over a 40-year i>eriod in 
Georgia showed that the average income to the farmer during this period for 
a bale of cotton was $59, yet the year-to-year fluctuation ranged from $38 
to $178 per bale. 

As the land became depleted by continued planting to cotton, risks and 
interest rates climbed with the years. In many sections of the South Farm- 
ers have paid as high as 25 to 35 percent interest for money or "furnish" 
they have required for producing a crop. In some places interest has been 
reported as high as 62 percent, including the customary mark-up for time 
payment. The ci'edit system under which farmers have borrowed in February 
and repaid in the fall, if they could, has offered little opportunity and no 
incentive for long-range planning or for the carrying out of soil-improvement 
and soil-building practices, or for the maintenance or repair of buildings, 
fences, et cetera. Usually, at the end of the year, if the farmer has been un- 
able to pay his advances from the landlord or furnish merchant, he moves 
to another farm to start all over again in this vicious cycle. One-crop farming 
for cash and commissary diets has been a tradition in southern agriculture. 

Somehow^ we often think of farm problems as being something separate 
and apart from farm people. The public is beginning to realize, how^ever, that 
there is a relationship between soil erosion and human erosion. Every farm 
problem affects farm people. Every agricultural deficiency, or weakness, or 
waste, can be measured in the distress, the disease, and poverty and waste of 
farm people. 


The substandard living conditions, which a large share of our farm popula- 
tion here in the South must endure, inevitably means bad health, which im- 
poses heavy costs on the national economy. Malaria, which is largely due to 


lack of window screens, takes a tremendous toll of labor efficiency tlirougliout 
this section. In families so poor that the.v cannot afford an outdoor privy, 
the number of hookworm infectious is extremely high. In survey.s conducted 
by the Farm Security Administration in Georgia and Alabama, in cooperation 
with the State and county public health otlicials, we have found an alarming 
percentage of rural families with hookworm infection. In one county. fJO per- 
cent of the school children had hookworm disease. 

A survey of 100 needy farm families in two Georgia counties was rtvently 
made under the direction of the State medical school Jind the Farm Security 
Administration. This survey disclosed more than 1,300 health handicaps among 
these 100 families. Five hundred and seventy-fi^■e people in these families had 
132 cases of rickets, 31 cases of suspected tuberculosis, 14 cases of pellagra, 288 
cases of diseased tonsils, and a large percentage of hookworm. In addition, 
360 of these people had defective teeth, and 124 had defective eyesight. 

Out of 109 women, 71) were suffering from tears resulting from neglect at 
childbirth, most of which could have been avoided by proper medical attention, 
and these 109 women also had 21 cases of suspected cancer. It is hardly sur- 
prising that those families had been failures and, in many cases, a burden 
on local relief rolls. A large number of the physical afflictions and diseases 
found among these people were the direct result of malnutrition. These families 
had never known what an adequate and a balanced diet was. Many of these 
lamilies did not know that they were sick. The communities in which tliey 
lived had thought them to be shiftless. The amazing thing is that those families 
were able to keep going as long as they have, and not that many of them finally 
found their way to relief rolls. 


Then there is the problem of education for rural people here in the South. 
We have the highest percent of illiteracy, and yet the poorest educational op- 
ix)rtunities of any section of the country. Many rural counties throughout the 
South do not teach agriculture or home economics in their schools. Yet these 
are fundamental to the solution of our agricultural problems. Because of the 
mobility and the extreme poverty of thousands of farm families throughout 
this region, many children attend school only a few months out of the year, if 
at all. The moving season for farm tenants comes during the midst of the 
school term and the progress of the cliildren of school age who attend school 
regularly is jeopardized. In fact, the whole school program of many rural 
schools is seriously disrupted because of this mobility of farm families. 


I have, in the above statements, given a general summary of the funda- 
mental problems affecting agriculture and farm people here in the South. It 
will be of interest to the committee to see how these problems have affected a 
particular county in this region. As an extreme, but not an unusual example, 
of what has taken place in the cotton-growing States of the South, the follow- 
ing information is submitted about Greene County, Ga. : • 

Greene County, Ga., with an area of 266.240 acres, is located about midway 
between Atlanta and Augusta, in the lower Piedmont region. The iwpulation 
of Greene County in 1930 was 12,616, almost equally divided between the 
whites and the Negroes. Between 1920 and 1930, the county suffered a popu- 
lation loss of 1,783 whites and 4,572 Negroes, or a little more than one-third 
of its total population, as shown by the 1920 census. 

The immediate cause of the migration of such a large number of its people, 
most of them farmers, was the unusually heavy boll-weevil infestation in the 
early twenties. There were other deei>rooted causes which had sapix^d the 
economic and physical strength of people so that they were unable to 
stand up under or come back after a year or so of crop failure. Dr. Arthur 
Raper, in his Preface to Pleasantry, states that from a peak of 20.030 bales 
of cotton produced in Greene County in 1919, the production dropped to 13,414 
bales in 1920, to 1,487 bales in 1921, and to only 333 bales in 1922. During 
these years, the landowners had sipent large sums of money for fertilizer, poi.son, 
and for provisions for their tenants, hoping each year that they would make 


enough cotton to pay oiieratiug expenses and have a surplus to cover a part 
of their previous years' losses. 

But since the farmers had for generations relied solely on cotton as a cash 
crop, they suddenly found themselves facing bankruptcy and poverty. The 
plantation owners had no money and no credit, and many of them abandoned 
their farms entirely, while others greatly curtailed their operations or allowed 
their former tenants to remain on the land, free of rent, provided they could 
make their own arrangements for provisions, fertilizer, and other expenses. 
But most of the tenants, croppers, and wage hands were in condition 
than the landowners themselves, in that they were not only without credit, 
but were also without food and clothing. So the migration began. 

For over a hundred years most of the red-laud area of Greene County has 
been devoted to plantation farming. The boll weevil ruined the main cash 
crop, and in doing so forced the complete collapse of the cotton plantation 
economy of that county. Every bank, except the small one at Siloani, in the 
poorer, gray-land section, went broke during the twenties, along with the 
big land owners. The small operators in the gray-land areas had regularly 
produced more of their food and feed crops, and though their cotton produc- 
tion had always been small, they were in better position to withstand the 
onslaught of the weevil and a depression than were the large plantation owners. 

Between 1920 and 1930 the value of land dropped from $S,189,2C5 to 
$1,263,633. In 1920 all farm property in the county, including land, buildings, 
livestock, equipment, etc., was valued at $12,311,391, as compared with only 
$2,914,462 in 1930. Though there was a general decrease throughout the 
State and Nation in all farm values during this period, the amount of 
decrease in Greene <'ounty was considerably above the average. The value 
of all crops in Greene County dropped from nearly ,$6,000,000 in 1920 to about 
$1,000,000 in 1930. Farm expenditures for labor, fertilizer, and feed also 
show staggering decreases between 1920 and 1930. For labor, the drop during 
this time was from $202,000 to $57,000; for fertilizer, the reduction was from 
$431,000 in 1920 to $90,000 in 19.30; and for feed the drop was from $209,000 
to $56,000. The total farm expenditures in Greene County amounted to 
$843,000 in 1920, but had been reduced to only $204,000 in 1930. The cotton 
acreage in the county was reduced from 56.000 acres in 1920 to 11,000 in 1935. 

These figures show something of the completeness of the agricultural break- 
down in Greene County since the World War. In 1920. there were 3,0[M» farms 
in the county, with only 512 operated by owners and 2,377 operated by tenants. 
In 1930, the number of farms in the county had dropped to 1,557, but by 1935 
had increa.sed to 1.761 farms, with only 416 being oijerated by owners, and 
1,296 being operated by tenants. 

By 1927, about 16,000 acres of land had been sold for taxes, and aliout 12.000 
had been forfeited to mortgage companies. By 1934 the mortgage holdings 
totaled 17.000 acres. Most of the tracts owned by mortgage companies consist 
of 500 acres or more, and are located in the red land sections of the county, 
where plantation farming predominated. 

In desperation, most of the plantation owners had sawmills moved on to their 
farms to cut all of the timber that was available. The income from the lumber 
enabled a few of them to retain title to their land, but by doing so they had 
further depreciated the value of their property. There are thousands of acres 
of cut-over timber land scattered throughotit the county at the present time. 

The tenants who remained searched for other sources of income in order 
to provide their families with food and clothing. The abandoned farms made 
ideal places for rabbits, and for several years more rabbits were shipped from 
Greene County than from any other cotmty in the Nation. But this industry 
was .short-lived, because the rabbits became diseased, and died by the thou- 
sands. Many of the tenants tried to grow cotton and corn without fertilizer, 
but found it almost impossible to make enough of these crops to meet their 
barest needs. 

After generations of cotton farming, most of the soil in Greene County has 
lost its fertility, and erosion has taken a heavy toll. The tenants operating 
in the plantation areas are now forced to patch abotit over very large farms to 
find land suitable for cultivation, and yields generally are low. 

Though Greene County, Ga., is an extreme illustration of the break-down 
of our agricultural economy here in the South, the same forces that caused 



this collapse are at work tliroiighoiit this region. The things that have hap- 
pened to agriculture, the laud, and the people of Greene County are in varying 
degrees typical of trends and of the problems throughout the cotton-grownig 

States of 'the South. . . , , «. ^, i ^ ^ 

With the thousands of farm families in this region pushed off the land and 
with even a greater number barely able to exist as a result of the fundamental 
weaknesses in our agricultural economy, which have heen discussed above, it 
became apparent that some immediate remedial action had to he taken. The 
first objective was to get these families off of relief and to give them a new start 
on the land, so that they could become self-supporting instead of a continual 
drain on the Public Treasury. 


The Farm Security Administration and its predecessors since l!)o4 liave 
aided, through rural" rehabilitation, loans, more than 85,00(» low-income farm 
families in the States of Alabama. Florida, Georgia, and South (Jarolina. 
Many of these families were taken from the relief rolls. None of them had 
sufficient resources to carry on their farming operations. They were the vic- 
tims of the basic weaknesses in our agricultural system — worn-out land, one- 
ciop farming, poor tenure conditions, lack of credit or equipment, or ill health. 
Families that have been aided by these Government agencies through rural 
rehabilitation loans represent approximately half a million men. women, and 
children. No family that can secure adequate credit from any other source 
is considered eligible for this assistance. 

We began with the idea that most of these families could be trusted with 
a loan, and that if the loan were amortized over a i>eriod of years and made 
at a reasonable rate of interest, the Government would be repaid. We felt 
that if they were given the credit and technical advice they needed for a few 
years to improve their farming practices, they would soon be able to support 
themselves without further assistance. 

The majority of the farmers who have come to the Farm Security Adminis- 
tration for help have had no experience and little opportunity to plan a bal- 
anced farm program, so we assist them in working out a farm and home 
plan for the most efficient and economical use of their land and their labor. 
This plan shows what the families have, what they need and outlines definite 
objectives or goals for them to work toward. 

On the basis of these plans, short-term loans are made for the purchase of 
livestock, equipment, and oiierating supplies, for food, medical care, and other 
essentials. All rehabilitation loans bear 5-percent interest and are secured 
by a chattel martgage covering all livestock and farm equipment owned by 
the borrowers. 

Our main objective has been to assist these families in becoming self- 
sufficient and in raising their living standards. In developing a sound farm 
and home management plan, we have placed emphasis first on the production 
of sufficient food and feed to meet the family's requirements. These plans 
generally provide for a year's supply of home-grown vegetables, meat, poultry, 
milk, and eggs for the family's use, and for feed crops for the livestock kept 
on the farm. In addition to the food and feed crops, these plans provide for 
sufficient cash crops to repay the Farm Security Administration loans and to 
meet other operating expenses. 

("redit, supervision, and planning are the three fundamentals of our rural 
rehabilitation program. Perhaps the greatest need of the low-income families 
throughout the South is education. This is provided througli periodic visits 
to the farms and homes of our borrowers by technically trained farm and 
home supervisors of the Farm Security Administration. The farm supervisors 
assist the families with their crop and livestock program, and the home super- 
visors go into the homes to help the women and girls with their food preser- 
vation, sewing, gardening, cooking, and so forth. They teach them how to 
plan balanced diets, how to improve and protect the family's health, advise 
with them about interior decorations, the making and repairing of furniture, 
landscaping, and many other phases of home making that may be of value to 
the families. 

intehstatp: migration 705 

After 5 years of operation of our rehabilitation program, we have learned 
a great deitl abont the people who make up the bottom third of our farm popu- 
lation. We have seen that there is little difference in these people and those 
ill the higher social and economic brackets of our society, except for their 
ignorance, poor health and despair, or defeatism. There is les.s sbiftlessness 
than sickness among these people. 

We have found that these disadvantaged families respond readily to the 
sympathetic efforts of our Government to help them. How well they have 
succeeded in a material way, when given a chance and credit and intelligent 
guidance, may be seen from a study of the gains made by our rehabilitation 
clients in Alabama, from the time they were accepted on our program until 
the end of 193<S. which is the latest report availaltle. The progress that has 
been made in Alabama is typical of the progress in other States in this region. 

In iri'S.T we accepted 13.0"(X> families on our program in Alabama. The aver- 
age cash income from the farm for each of these families was only $91. The 
cash farm income in 1937 for these families had increased to $248.48 per 
family. This represents a gain of $147.48 per family, or a total gain of almost 
$2,00t».000 for this group. This increase in cash income was possible without 
any expansion whatsoever in the acreage planted to cotton by these farmers. 
It was daie to the use of better seed, better fertilizing practices, better methods 
of cultivation, and to some extent the location of better and more productive 
land by manv of tliese families after they came on our program. 

The average net worth of these 13,000 families accepted for rehabilitation 
in Ahibama in 193.") was only $3.03 per family, a figure which reflects the 
extreme poverty of these families. From this low level the net worth ^of 
this rehabilitation group was raised to $442.1.") per family by the end of 1938. 
If all farmers in the Southern States could show such an in their 
net worth it would boost the wealth of this section almost IV2 billion dollars. 

We are stressing a live-at-home program with these families. Although few 
of them had canned any fruits or vegetables when they were accepted for 
rehabilitation, it is notable that in 1938 they canned an average of 175 quarts 
per family, in addition to storing in millions of pounds of dried fruits, beans, 
peas, and' so forth, for family In addition to having more food now than 
they had when they were accepted on our program, they have more kinds of 
foods, enabling them to have more balanced diets. In 1935 less than half of 
these families" owned milk cows, and though they were farm families, only 
60 percent of them owned a hog. In 1938, 85 percent owned milk cows, and 
95 percent owned hogs. We have tried hard to boost these figures to lOd 
percent since 1938. 


The tenure system in the South is one of our greatest handicaps in working 
out a sound agricultural economy. As has already been mentioned, our soil 
is being dissipated through abuse, misuse, and erosion. Much of this waste is 
due to our present tenure system. As an approach to this problem we have 
required all rehabilitation borrowers to have a satisfactory written lease 
instead of the usual verbal agreement, and we have encouraged leases for a 
period of from 3 to 5 years instead of the customary 1-year lease. While 
fullv half of the tenant "farmers throughout the South move every year, it is 
significant that less than one out of every four of our rehabilitaion families 
in this region found it necessary to move last year. 

It is impossible to plan a balanced and sound farm program for the fainily 
that moves every year. As we have studied this problem of farm families 
shifting about vear after year, we have become convinced that there is no 
one thing more" important or fundamental to the permanent improvement of 
agricidtural conditions here in the South, and the conservation of our human 
and natural resources, than that of developing a sounder system of tenure. 
Before farmers can become self-sustaining on the land they must have a sem- 
blance of securitv on the particidar tract of land they operate. 

This will require the overhauling of laws in the States which deal with 
tenancy and tenant-landlord relationship and the enactment of such statutes as 
will give the tenants the same protection as most State laws give the landlords 
now. Actually the landowners will benefit as much as the tenants under a 


system where the tenant can have legal protection against loss for improve- 
ments made on land which he operates. With pioper legal protection, the 
tenant would have some incentive to repair the hnildings or to build fences, 
to improve pastures, and to carry out soil-building and soil-conserving practices 
on the farm he operates, for he would expect to get the benefit of these 
improvements himself, or to be reimbursed for them in the event he is forced 
to move. 

The present system of tenure here in the South offers little encouragement to 
the tenants to protect the soil or the buildings on the farm he leases. He feels 
that if he improves the fertility of the laud, his rent may be increased, or 
another tenant will come along and offer to pay more for the farm than he is 
paying. So the average tenant tries to get all he can out of the land he rents, 
and when it quits producing satisfactorily he moves on. 

It is my opinion that the working out of a better system of tenure will in 
some measure offer a solution for the problem of migration with which your 
committee is concerned. Certainly, it will give the farmers who are able to 
rent an economic farm unit, a better hold on the land, and a better opportunity 
to be a self-sustaining citizen, and an asset to his community. 

The experience of the' Farm Security Administration borrowers who have 
•operated under written leases extending over a period of more than 1 year 
would indicate the soundness of this conviction. The decay of our communities, 
.and institutions, the ruthless destruction of our land and the poverty and hope- 
lessness of our tenant farmers clearly indicate the necessity of our doing every- 
thing possible in this direction. Though the American ideal is for the majority 
of our farmers to be owners of the land they operate, actually forces are pushing 
in the opposite direction today. The farmers are not only losing title to the 
land, they are being pushed off entirely in alarming numbers. 


To arrest this trend, a program designed to increase home ownership among 
farm tenants was initiated on a small scale by the Federal Government 3 years 
ago, with the passage of the Banlihead-Jones Farm Tenant Act. Under this 
program the Farm Security Administration has made loans for the purchase of 
family-type farms, and for making necessary improvements on these farms, to 
about 3,200 tenant families in the States of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and 
South Carolina. These loans are amortized over a 40-year period and bear 3 
percent interest. Usually the annual payments of principal and interest are 
less than the usual rent charged for these farms. No one can doubt the widom 
of expanding this program. 

But in a region where two out of three farmers are tenants, it is obvious 
that there must be more than one approach to this problem. Since only a 
very small percentage of the tenants can be made owners under the tenant 
purchase program, it would seem that the seriousness of the situation of our 
rural people and of our agricultural resources in the South would make other 
remedial actions imjierative. It is my conviction that the tenant purchase pro- 
gram should be expanded, and that steps must be taken immediately to improve 
tenure conditions in this region. This would seem to offer some solution for 
the problem of migration with which your committee is concerned. 


There are many farm families throughout the Southern States trying to 
make a living on submarginal land. Statistics show that the heaviest relief 
contributions to farm families have been in these areas of poor, worn-out land. 

In order to help many of these families toward security and to enable them 
to become self-sustaining, it has been necessary to resettle them from the sub- 
marginal areas onto more productive land. The Farm Security Administration 
in the States of this region has purchased .several large tracts of good fertile 
land suitable for development and subdivision into a number of individual farm 
units, and has moved a number of stranded families from worn-out land onto 
these farms. These units will be sold to the selected families on a long-time 
repayment plan when the families have shown their intei-est and ability tn 
succssfully operate a farm. Many of the families on these resettlement 


projects of the Farm Security Administration were moved from submarginal 
land purchased by the Government for reforestation or some otlier useful pur- 

Because of the pressure of population on the land throughout the Southeastern 
States, and because of the extent of soil erosion and the general depletion of our 
farm land, it is not possible for us to take a large amount of land out of culti- 
vation without throwing the people living on this land onto the highways. 
There simply isn't enough good productive land to go around and give every 
farmer an economic unit. 

Consideration, then, may be given to the necessity, as well as to the possibility, 
of providing some other means of supporting the displaced or the distressed farm 
families of this area than through the growing of cash crops. Some type of 
supplemental income is sorely needed by thousands of farm families in the 
South. Those who have been pushed oflC the land entirely, must have some 
useful occupation or face starvation. 


A works program designed to protect and restore our land, water, and 
forest resources might offer a moans of utilizing the surplus farm labor in 
this region. There is no doubt as to the need for conserving our natural and 
our human resources. The security of our democracy and of our future genera- 
tions would seem to demand this of us. 


Those who have studied population trends in this country indicate that there 
may be expected a continual population increase in the rural South for the 
next decade. There is no room for more workers in southern agriculture. 
Actually, the South is unable to support all who are dependent on its agi-l 
culture now. The tendency is for fewer and not more workers on the farms or 
this region. Already there are thousands of our farm families on the road. Some 
thing more must be done if we are to arrest the scourge of poverty whicn 
threatens the destruction of our rural South. And the action must be taken 
immediately if it is to be effective. 

You have heard reports concerning the conditions under which migrant 
families live in Florida. You have heard of the program which has been 
initiated by the Farm Security Administration to give some assistance to these 
families living on the highways, along the drainage canals, and in other con- 
ditions intolerable under our American traditions. These families simply 
represent the possibilities which may be magnified a thousand times in the 
vears immediately ahead, unless eveiy effort is made to solve the problem of 
these people at its source. The Farm Security Administration is, under its 
rural rehabilitation, resettlement, and tenant purchase programs, making con- 
siderable progress. The Farm Security Administration has shown what can 
he done with these people if they are given an opportunity. All of those who 
need help cannot be taken care of by this treatment, but it offers one oppor- 
tunity that may be expanded to help many more thousands in this area. Other 
opportunities must be found. 



Mr. Sparkman. You say that there were 30,000 families in each 
of the States of Georgia and Alabama who were on the relief rolls 
in 1935. Have you any later information than that? 

Mr. Morgan. I think maybe your figures are wrong there. Let's 
see— that is 1935. 

Mr. Sparkmax. ^Yhilt is it, then; can you give it to us offhand? 

Mr. Morgan. I don't know the number on relief. 


Mr. Sparkmax. Here it is, here in your written testimony, where 
you say that over 30,000 farm, families in each of the States of Georgia 
and Alabama were on the relief rolls during 1935, 

Mr. Morgan. That is right; that is prior to the rehabilitation pro- 
gram that was inaugurated in 1935. 

Mr. Sparkmax. Have you any later figures than that? 

Mr. JNIoRGAx. No; I do not. There are in certain areas quite a 
few farmers on relief, and in others there are no relief projects in the. 
rural areas. Some comities have practically none, while others have 
a considerable load. I have no figure available on that. 

Mr. OsMERS. When you say that they are on relief, what do you 
mean? What form of relief was that — was it State relief or Federal 
relief, or what was it? 

Mr. MoRGAx. That was the regular relief program. 

Mr. OsMERS. Under the E. R. A. ? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. That was prior to the initiation of the Farm Se- 
curity program ? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir; that is right. 


Mr. Sparkinian. Has the Farm Security x\dministration, through 
its program, absorbed a substantial part of them? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. How many families in region V are being rehabil- 
itated through the Farm Security Administration? 

Mr. Morgan. Approximately 85,000; that is about 1 farmer out 
of 9. 

Mr. Sparkmax^. In these four States? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. OsMERS. I asked Mr. Morgan privately this morning, whether 
that 1 in 9 was 1 in 9 of the total or 1 in 9 who was in need of relief 
and as I understand it, it means 1 in 9 to the total of the farmers 
in the area, and I wish that statement to be made for the sake of the 

jNIr. Morgan. Yes, sir; that is right. 

Mr. Sparkmax. According to your statement, and I recall that 
the same statement was made by Mr. Gray, of the Alabama Farm 
Bureau Federation, and I believe, by Mr. P. O. Davis, that there 
are twice as many families today trying to eke out an existence on 
a smaller number of acres than there were in 1860. 

Mr. Morgan. That is right. 

Mr. Sparkman. Are these conditions any better than one might 
expect offhand, from the figures? 


Mr. Morgan. No; they give a fairl}^ good picture of the problem. 
While we have twice as many people on less acres in the Southeast 
today than in 1860, in 1860 it was virgin land, whereas with a great 
many acres of the land in cultivation today the fertility has been 


verv luiich impaired, and it is not as productive now as the virgin 
lands of the 1860's were. 

Mr. OsMERS. Is it possible to bring this land back with an intel- 
ligent method of fertilization? 

"Slv. Morgan. Yes, sir; it is; certainly. 

Mr. Sparkman. Some progress is being made in that direction now, 
and efforts are being put forth? 

Mr. Mf)RGAN. Yes, sir: but you nuist remember that there is a 
tremendous damage already done, and quite a drawback, when you 
consider that 97,000,000 acres are very badly damaged in the South - 
eiust by erosion, and that 22,000,000 acres are completely washed 
away in the Southeast — as many acres washed away as there are in 
the State of South Carolina. 

Mr. SpARK^kiAN. In your rehabilitation program, you do exercise 
some supervision over the farm practices, do you not? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. Do you require soil building and so forth? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. One great problem is the question of ten- 
ure. You immediately get into tenure when you start a conserva- 
tion program. 

If a tenant works on this farm this year, and moves in December, 
vou can't do much about getting that man to protect the land on 
that particular farm unless he is going to get some of the benefits 
out of the practices that he carries on. And, therefore, we have 
done quite a bit in trying to get longer leases to help do something 
about that. The minute that we can get longer periods of tenure, 
tlien the tenant can be interested in doing something about carrying- 
on ju-actices that will build up that land. 


Mr. Curtis. Isn't it true that the greatest single thing or induce- 
ment to conserve the soil of our country is farm ownership — owner- 
slnp by the operator? 

Mr. Morgan. That would be ideal. However, I don't think that 
we will ever solve the thing that we are combatting through owner- 
ship alone. I am thinking if we had enough money today, through 
private or public sources, to buy up enough farms to give every tenant 
farmer a farm, you still wouldn't have solved all of these problems, 
by an}' means. Ten years from now, you would have a great many 
tenants, and 

Mr. Curtis. You woidd find some of these people right back on 
your doorstep to take care of, wouldn't you ? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. Ownership will never solve it alone. 
Ownership will certainly contribute to the solution. 

Mr. Sparkman. That is just one of the steps? 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. And your program is rehabilitation, a rehabilita- 
tion program with the practices on the farm supervised, and soil 
conservation, and you think that it is necessary for all of those to 
exert a united front? 


Mr. MoRGAX. Yes, sir ; decidedly, that is true. You take the leased 
lands, lands leased by tenants in the Southeast— it is not a question 
o|- the landlord demanding such rent that these people can't exist, 
it is just the whole system. The mortality rate with the landlord 
possibly would show "as hioh, or a higher percentage than that of 
tlie tenant. It is a system that we have all worked under, that con- 
tributes largely to that. 


Mr. Sparkman. In your paper, you discuss this matter of land 
tenure and bring out the fact that in Alabama approximately two- 
thirds of the farmers are tenants? 
Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Sparkman. I wonder how that compares with other States m 
your region? 

Mr. Morgan. That is about the same in Georgia ; there is only 28 
l^ercent tenants in Florida, and I don't recall the exact figures in 
South Carolina— here it is— South Carolina, 60 percent tenants, and 
for the Nation it is 42 percent, and that will give you some idea of it. 
Mr. OsMERS. I possibly know less about this problem than any 
member of the committee, because the country where I come from 
tenancy is almost nonexistent. Isn't it preferable to work through 
> our large landowners in your program, instead of working with the 
individual tenant or sharecropper or wage hand? I am thinking 
now of such related matters as land improvement and soil conserva- 
tion and housing for the tenant and so on. After all, the primary 
responsibility for the land lies with the owner, and I wondered if 
you didn't feel you might make some progress in that direction? 

Mr. IkloRGAN. Well, again, I think you have got to work with both. 
Mr. OsMERS. No doubt. 

Mr. Morgan. After all, the thing I mentioned just now, the im- 
provement of the tenure system which will involve both the landlord 
and the tenant, would be the best approach to that. I don't think 
that a program just with the landlord would accomplish the thing. 
Neither do I think a program just with the tenant Avould accom- 
plish it. 

Mr. OsMERs. From the small amount of observation that I have 
made, I Avould say that both ends need jacking up. Do you agi'ee 
with that idea ? 

Mr. Morgan. That is right. 

Mr. Osmers. Your tenant needs information, education, and help, 
and certainly some of the landlords need a new viewpoint on tliis 

Mr. Morgan. The landlords not only need a new viewpoint, but in 
so many, many instances, the landlord just can't do anything about 

Mr. Osmers. He needs new financing, too. 

Mr. Morgan. Yes, sir; the mortality rate with the landlord is just 
about as great as that with the tenant. I want to say that we have 
done quite a bit of work on this tenure thing. To l)egin with, through 


the Southeast, it lia? seldom been the practice for tenants to have 
a ^vritten lease with the landlord. It was always verbal. In the 
beginning of our program, we demanded a written lease before we 
would make a loan to the tenant. 

Mv. Curtis. Have you a copy of that lease, or the form of lease? 

Mr. Morgan. I don't have a copy of it with me, but I will furnish 
you a copy of it for the record. 

]Mr. Curtis. We would appreciate it if you would. 

(Copy of the lease was fui-nished to the committee and reads as. 

(Region V) 

United Statk.s Depaktment of AtiKicrLTURE 



This lease, made this day of , 19 , between. 

, Landlord, of 


and Tenant, of 

1. Description of Property. — Tho landlord hereby leases to the tenant, to- 
occupy and use for agi-icultural purposes, the following-described property, 
located In County, State of : 

and consisting of acres, more or less, together- 

with all buildings and improvements thereon and all riglits thereto appertain- 
ing. (All this property is hereinafter referred to as the "farm.") 

2. Term of Le«.s'r.--The term of this lease shall be for { [^^^.g^^ } years, 

from 19, to , 19, 

3. Rental Rate.^ aiuJ Arniiif/enients. (Clauses not applicable should be stricken 

Option A — Crop-.shajc or fshare-casli. — As rent for said farm, the tenant agrees 
to pay shares or quantities of crops or shares of crops and cash as indicated 
in the table below. 

Option B — Per acre casli rent. — As rent for all of said farm, the tenant agrees 

to pay in cash at the luiiform rate of dollars ($ ) 

per acre on acres or at a variable rate per acre at the 

rates and on the acreages indicated in the table below. 

It is agreed that the acreages indicated in column (1) of the table below are 

the approximate planned acreages for the year 19 , and that crop acreages 

and livestock enterprises may be changed by mutual agreement to meet chang- 
ing conditions and nteds and shall be determined from year to year by mutual 
agreement by the parties t(» this lease upon the basis of a sound plan for this 
farm. It is further agreed that the shares of crops or the rates of rent indicated 
in cf)lumn (2) will be paid upon the acreages actually grown as determined at 
the time the rent is payable, 

NOTB. — Planned acreage of each crop to be grown wiU be entered In column (1) and' 
the acreages in this column should total the exact or approximate land available for use- 
hi the farm. The share of each crop to be paid as rent will be entered opposite the crop- 
in column (2). If cash rent is to be paid at a variable rate of cash per acre, this will, 
be entered in column (2) opposite the crop which is indicated in column (1). 





Approximate planned acreages of crops 


Shares of crops grown or cash per acre 
to be paid as rent 


acres of corn 

. acres of oats 

, acres of wheat 

, acres of cotton 

. acres of alfalfa or other hay crops. 
. acres of 

. acres of 

. acres of 

acres for subsistence garden, orchard, etc (rent free). 

acres for pasture for subsistence livestock (rent free). 

. acres in farmstead, barnlot, poultry yards, etc (rent free). 

■ Total acres. 

Option C — Lump-sum cash rent. — As rent for &ai(^ farm, the tenant agrees to pay 

the sum of doUars ($ ) ]ier year, 

payable as follows : 

4. Farm Operation: 

(a) The tenant will furnish all work stock, machinery, and other necessary 
operating equipment, and will pay all operating costs except : 

(ft) Cost of harvesting, threshing, baling, ginning, fertilizer, lime, seed, twine, 
spray materials, etc., will be paid or shared as follows : 

(c) The tenant will operate the farm in an efhcient and husbandlike manner 
and will perform seeding, cultivating, harvesting, and plowing at the proper time 
and in the proper manner. As applied to this farm this clause shall be interpreted 
to include the following specific provisions ( Russian thistle, Johnson grass, etc. ) : 

(d) It is agreed that the tenant, or the parties jointly, may engage in the 
small-scale conunercial production of livestock or livestock products on the farm. 
Such production will be under the following special arrangements, if any (nature 
and extent, respective contributions and shares, use of pastures and crops, etc.) : 

(c) It is agreed that the tenant may use dead or immarketable timber for his 
own fuel, but the tenant shall cut no marketable growing trees for fuel or other use 
and shall market no timber from the farm without the consent of the landlord. 
5. Imp)'orcnients and Repairs: 

(rt) iDiincdiafe repairs. — In order to place the farm in good condition and 
repair, the following repairs will be made by the landlord, or by the pai-ties 

jointly, prior to , , 19 , according to 

the following arrangements : 

( h) Compensation to tenant for permanent improvements. — Improvements of a 
permanent nature may be made by the tenant, at his own expense, under the 
folk>wing arrangements and conditions: 

Iinprorcnioits irhieh the landlord ordinarily .should provide. — With the written 
consent of the landlord, the tenant may. at his own expense, make improvements 
of a permanent nature, such as new buildings, additions or major repairs to 
buildin,i;s, permanent household fixtures and equipment, new fences, wells, water 
and sewage systems, ponds, terrace or drainage systems, and other improvements 
of this nature, and at the termination or expiration of this lease, or any renewal or 
extension thereof, or at such earlier time as may be agreed upon, the tenant will 
be compensated or credited therefor by the landlord on the basis of cost to the 
tenant (including value of his own labor) less agreed deductions for depreciatioti 
and use. 


Improvements n-Jiich landlord and tenant enstoniarilij share. — With the written 
consent of the landlord, the tenant may, at liis own expense, apply lime or ruck 
phosphate, establish permanent meadows or pastures, plant orchards or farn; 
woodlots or make other improvements of this nature, the benefits of which are 
realizable or exhaustible over a period of several years. At the termination or 
expiration of this lease or any renewal or extension thereof or at such earlier time 
or in such installments as may be agreed upon, the tenant will be compensated 
or credited therefor by the landlord upon the basis of the landlord's customary 
share of cost of the improvement. 

Minor improi-enients. — The tenant may, at his own discretion, make minor im- 
provements of a ijermanent nature which do not substantially change the appear- 
ance and arrangement of the farm and will not expect or receive compensation for 
improvements so made. 

Written, memorandnm. — In any instances in which the written consent of the 
landlord is required for an improvement as provided above, the parties shall, 
before such improvement is made, execute a written memorandum covering such 
points as : Statement of improvement to be made, location of improvement, 
agreed approximate cost, agreed basis of compensation for labor and other con- 
tributions to be made by the tenant, and agreed basis of deductions for deprecia- 
tion and use. Such memorandum shall be deemed a part of this lease as though 
fully set forth herein. 

(r) Removal of improvements. — The tenant may, if he chooses at any time this 
lease is still in effect, i-emove any improvement he has made, whether or not it 
has become legally a fixture, and the tenant shall not be compensated for im- 
provements removed. 

id) Maintenanee of the farm. — The tenant agrees to maintain the farm in 
good condition and repair and to yield possession thereof, at the end of the term 
of this lease or any renewal or extension thereof, in as good order as the begin- 
ning, ordinary wear and damage caused by conditions beyond his control ex- 
cepted. The landlord will furnish necessary materials for such repairs and 
maintenance as are required to be made by the tenant. 

6. Gorfrnmental af/rieiiltnral programs. — If the jiarties participate, with re- 
spect to the farm, in any applicable agricultural conservation, soil conservation, 
or other governmental program designed to aid agriculture, modifications in this 
lease may be agreed upon from time to time which may be necesary to conform 
with such program. Any cash or other benefits received for participation in any 
such program shall be divided between the parties as provided in stuch program. 
Any quota, allotment, or base made to or properly belonging to this farm shall be 
available to the tenant and if, in any such program, the farm covered by this 
lease is treated as part of a larger tract, the tenant shall be entitled to partici- 
pate proportionately and share proportionately and in like manner shall con- 
tribute proportionately in fulfilling the requirements of such program. 

7. The tenant agrees that: 

(a) He will not assign this lease or sublet any portion of the farm without 
the consent of the landlord. 

(b) He will permit the landlord or his agent to enter the farm at any reason- 
able time for repairs, improvements, aiid inspection. 

(e) He will not commit waste on or damage to the farm or permit others to 
do so. 

8. The landlord agrees that: 

(a) He is the owner of the fann, has the right to give the tenant possession 
under this lease, and will, so long as this lease remains in effect, warrant and 
defend the tenant's possession against any and all persons whomsoever. 

(b) He will repair or replace promptly any improvements on the farm dam- 
aged or destroyed by conditions beyond the control of the tenant other than 
ordinary wear. 

9. It is mntually agreed that: 

(a) This lease shall hind and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, 
administrators and assigns of both parties. 

ib) Willful neglect, failure or refusal by either party to carry out any mate- 
rial provision of this lease shall give the other party the power to terminate 
this, in addition to the right to compensation for damages smffered by 
reason of such breach. Such termination shall become effective ten (10) days 
after written notice of termination specifying the delinqueiu-y has been served on 
260.370 — ±0— pt. 2 21 


the delinquent party, unless during such ten (10) day period the delinquent 
party has made up the delinquency. Tlio landlord shall have the benefit of any 
summary proceedings provided by law for evicting the tenant upon termination 
under this paragraph, or at the end of the term. 

(c) If, when the tenant vacates the farm, the total acreages of prepared, 
seeded, or cultivated land on the farm are greater than at the beginning of his 
tenancy, he will be compensated by the landlord on the basis of the value of 
such excess acreages to the landlord or to an incoming tenant. In like manner, 
if such total acreages are less than at the beginning of his tenancy, the tenant 
will compensate the landlord on the basis of the vahae of such deficient acreages, 
provided such deficiency is not due to drought, fiood, or other causes beyond the 
control of the tenant. As applied to this farm the foregoing shall be interpreted 
to include the following specific crops and practices : 

(d) Disposition of groimng crops. — If. at the termination of this lease, for any 
reason, there are growing crops on the farm in which the tenant has an interest, 
the landlord will compensate the tenant for his interest upon such basis as may 
be mutually agreed or determined by arbitration, or will take possession and 
complete the care and harvesting of such crops, deduct the expenses thereof from 
the returns from such growing crops, and will pay the tenant his proportionate 
share of the proceeds. 

(e) Arbiiratiov. — Any differences between the parties under this lease, in- 
cludirg the determination of valuations and matters herein left to subsequent 
agreement, shall be submitted to the arbitration of a committee of three dis- 
interested persons, one selected by each party hereto and the third by the two 
thus selected ; and the decision of such arbitration committee shall be accepted 
by and shall bind both parties. 

10. Additional agreements, if any (option to purchase, water rights, etc.) : 

In witness whereof, the parties have signed this lease on the date first above 

Witnesses as to both signatures: 




Acknowledgment (proper form to be Inserted) : 

Flexible Farm Lease 





(Common name or number of farm) 

In County 

State of 


From , 19__ 

To , 1X)__ 


Renewed ' ^"^ — 

From ' ^"^ — 

To ' 1^-- 

Prepared by 

Tenure Improvement Section, 

Farm Security Administration, 

United States Department of Agriculture 

United States Department of Agricultuee 
farm security administration 


For year 19 

Betiveen , Landlord, and 

Dated f?o.'/ of 



It is agreed tliat it shall be the mutual purpose of the landlord and the 
tenant to plan and carry out the operations of the farm from year to year upon 
such basis as will: (1) Provide an adequate and satisfying standard of life 
for the tenant and his family, (2) provide profitalile returns to the tenant and 
the landlord for labor and investment, and (3) maintain and improve the pro- 
ductivity and value of the farm. In accordance with these objectives the 
following crops and acreages are agreed upon for the year 19__. The rental 
rates and arrangements shall be as specified in the lease. On crops not specified 
therein the rates shall be as agreed by the parties. 

Approximate planned acreages 

Field or portion 


D, etc. 

Share or rate of rent: On crops 
specified in lease, indicate rate 
specified therein. On other 
crops, indicate rate agreed upon 

Tillable land in crops: 

acres of corn 

acres of oats 

acres of wheat -_- 

acres of cotton 

acres of alfalfa 

acresof other hay 




Tillable land fallowed and idle: 

acres of fallowed crop land 

acres of idle crop land 

Pasture land: 

acres of pasture _ . 

_. acresof nonwoodland permanent pas- 

acres of woodland pasture 

Land for tenant family's living: 

acres for subsistence garden 

acres for subsistence orchard, vine- 
yard, etc 

acres, pasture for subsistence livestock. 

Farmstead, woodlots and waste land: 

acres of woodland not pasture.. 

acres, farmstead, lots, poultry yards, 


acres, waste land, gullies, etc... 

Total acres in farm. 

(rent free) 

(rent free) 
(rent free) 

(rent free) 

(rent free) 
(rent free) 


Map of Farm 
For the year 19 

It will usually be helpful to draw a map of the farm each year, indicating the 
general arrangement of the farm, location of fields and buildings, and crops to be 
planted in each field or use to be made of each portion of the farm. The plat 
below is provided for that purpose. 

The plat may represent a quarter section ; one-half of the plat may represent a 
half section, or the entire plat may represent a full section. If the farm is irregu- 
lar in shape an outline of the farm may be sketched in irregular fashion within 
the boundaries of the plat. Each field or portion of field should be designated by 
a letter, such as A, B, C, etc., to correspond to the letters indicated in the table on 
the reverse side of this form. The plats prepared from year to year should be 
preserved for future reference in planning crop rotations. 

Size of farm acres. Scale used inches per 

Section Township or block Range or survey 



It is agreed that this supiilement shall be considered a part of the said lease as 
though actually incorporated in the same. 
Witnesses as to both signatures : Signed this day of , 19 





(Copies of this form may be secured from the office of the County Rural Rehabili- 
tation Supervisor in each county.) 



Mr. ^Morgan. We started with a 1-year lease, and when we began, 
that was a very revolutionary thing, while today we have more than 65 
percent of our borrowers with 3- to 5-year leases. In a few places we 
have a higher percentage. When we began to get those longer-term 
leases, or wl\pn we begin to get them, we can begin then to work out 
something with the tenant and the landlord on this land, that will be 
definitely beneficial. We have done quite a bit of that work in Greene 
County, Ga., where we have put on an intensive program to see just 
what c"ould be done there, and we have no clients in that county but have 
what we call a long-term lease, mostly 3 to 5 years. 

Mr. Spakkman. To what extent have you put that in, in Greene 
County. Ga.? Do you have any statistics or any facts that you can 
give us there, about that experiment which you have just mentioned? 

Mr. JkloRGAN. I would like to say that Greene County probably pre- 
sents an extreme picture on that. Before the coming of the boll weevil 
that county was producing about 20.000 bales of cotton per year, and 
they finally went down to where, in 1922, they raised 333 bales of 

jMr. OsMERS. How many bales ? 

Mr. Morgan. Three hundred and thirty-three. 

Mr. Osmers. How many before? 

Mr. ]Morgan. The figures we have show a peak of 20,030 bales of cot- 
ton produced in Greene County in 1919. and the production dropped to 
13,414 bales in 1920 ; it dropped to 1,487 bales in 1921, and dropped down 
to only 333 bales in 1922. The boll weevil wiped out the county, almost, 
and a lot of the landowners left the county, and the tenants left the 
county also. The population of Greene County in 1930 was 12,616, 
almost equally divided between the whites and the Negroes. Between 
1920 and 1930 the county suifered a population loss of 1.783 whites and 
4,572 Negroes, or a little more than one-third of its total population as 
shown by the 1920 Census. The immediate cause of the migration of 
such a large number of its people, most of them farmers, was the unusu- 
ally heavy boll-weevil infestation in the early twenties. So. that is an 
extreme case and is not typical of all the counties in the Southeast ; but, 
with that situation, we decided to put on an intensive program in that 
county to see just what we could do about it. 

As a result, we contacted the landlords; worked out various things — 
there was no housing in the county hardly at all. There are the remains 


of fine palatial homes that have simply gone do^Yn without any care, 
and the tenant-house roofs had fallen in, and the situation was in a ter- 
I'ible condition; and we worked out arrangements with the various 
landlords in that county to rent this land on long-term leases, with us 
advancing certain portions of the money for repairs, and so forth ; and, 
as a result, we have done quite a job of repairing the houses, developing 
the land, terracing, putting in various soil-conservation practices 
through the tenant operators and, in general, things look good in that 


Mr. Curtis. May I interrupt you here for just a moment ? How large 
a subsistence farm does it take in the territory that you work in to pro- 
vide an average family w4th vegetables, and maintain at least 2 cows 
and the necessary horses and mules to work the land ? How many acres 
does it take ? I am not dealing with cash crops now, but the subsistence. 

Mr. Morgan. Even when you confine your question along that line to 
the Southeast, that is almost like saying "How long is a string?" Be- 
cause there is so much difference in the productivity in the different 
areas of the Southeast, but certainly the average family of five — that is 
about what the families run on the farms in the Southeast — it takes, for 
the farm as a whole, certainly for a family to be self-sustaining, better 
than 40 to 50 acres. Of that, possibly 15 acres would be devoted to cash 
crops, and the balance would be devoted to the production of food and 
feed crops for the family on the farm. 

Mr. Curtis. How much of that land would be devoted to pasture? 

Mr. Morgan. One question is how much should be, and another is 
how much is. 

Mr. Curtis. How much should be? 

Mr. Morgan. Certainlj'^, you should have 10 or 15 acres of pasture 

Mr. Curtis. And what would that land cost per acre? 

Mr. Morgan. The price of land varies in the Southeast from $5 to $50 
per acre, depending upon the fertility of the land. 

Mr. Curtis. Can you raise anything on $5 per acre land ? 

Mr. Morgan. Very little. Yet, that is one of the great problems — 
we have so many acres of the $5 land in the Southeast. 

Mr. Curtis. Is that $5 land such that you can raise anything on it, or 
are there certain things that you can raise only ? 

Mr. Morgan. No ; you can raise something on it, but it is so little in 
proportion to the cost. For instance, nearly all the land in the South- 
east requires fertilizer. The 11 southeastern States buy three-fifths 
of all the fertilizer in the country. 

nature of clients 

Mr. Curtis. Do you make a character investigation of your clients 
before you take them on? 
Mr. Morgan. Well, no, sir. 
Mr. Curtis. Do you investigate their willingness to work? 


Mr. Morgan. Well, of course, to a certain extent, yes ; that is con-