The Civil War ended in December 1865 and the slaves were free. They hoped to be treated as equal citizens, being able to vote, gain an education and live peaceably and equally with the whites.

The former slaves hoped that the plantations would be divided among them so that they could provide for themselves but the plantations were returned to their former owners. Many former slaves did not want to work for wages because they would still have to do what they were told by the whites. The solution lay in sharecropping. Plantation owners broke up their estates into small parcels of land upon which the former slaves could grow their own crops. In return for seed and equipment, the sharecropper would give the plantation owner a third or a half of his crop.

Before Sharecropping

Before the Civil War slaves lived in huts grouped together behind the plantation owner’s house.

After Sharecropping

The former slaves lived in slightly larger huts spread our around the plantation. There are also more roads as well as a church and school.