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Word Count: 1,150
Life on The Southside In the southern United States cotton has been king for a couple of centuries In the early days of the cotton plantations there were black slaves that tilled the land planted and raised the cotton until it was ready to be harvested by them The practice of slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War and there was a large number of blacks without work education or any way to make money because all they knew was farming The African Americans then began to work for little pay for the people that had once owned them After a period where blacks were used as hired hands they then started to use the share cropping system This system is where the owner of the farm lets another man farm his land and they divide the profit from the crop up This way the former slaves can get started doing what they know how to do and can eventually save enough cash so they can get a farm started on there own Sounds like a good way to live but in the novel Promised Land by Nicholas Lemann the process is exposed for all the problems that existed and how it hurt the African Americans that participated in sharecropping The novel revolves around Clarksdale Mississippi for the first quarter of the subject and explains why the blacks in the area live the way they did Clarksdale is a town on the delta and it makes a very fertile place to farm Many large plantations existed around the town and the area had a large number of blacks The blacks were often cheated by the men they share-cropped with and could never get ahead in life Lemann focuses on several different families in the town the one that seems to be his favorite is that of Ruby Hopkins who has had several fathers and not a very steady family salutation throughout
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