The crowds on the side of the road were part of a community of sharecroppers, farmworkers, and planters who’d lived on the land they farmed – but now, they were part of something much bigger than themselves.
The Great Depression was destroying nearly everyone’s lives. For rural Black families, the results were disastrous.
The families on the roadside were not just destitute sharecroppers – they were protestors! But what were they protesting, and why would such a stand end up being so powerful?
They’d farmed the land of rich white people for years – but right when they needed those jobs the most, they were evicted and replaced with day laborers!
Black families, once guaranteed a plot of land to live and work on, now had essentially nothing. So they made themselves visible, on the side of the road, so nobody could deny what white greed had created.
The roadside demonstration got the attention of policymakers – and even President Roosevelt! It spearheaded programs put in place to guarantee them housing, healthcare, and food – what they’d earned over years of labor. The best part?
The protestors received these benefits until the 1990s! This meant the families had a chance to find new jobs and even build wealth.
Nearly everything stolen from them was restored. As their actions demonstrated, when we organize and act together, we can overcome anything!