The Sharecropping Record of Riley B. King, Age 14, 1940.

Photo by Charles Sawyer. Copyright, ©, 1997.

From the record book of Edwayne Henderson, Killmichael, Mississippi, the page for his tenant, Riley B. King, in the year 1940. Riley is alone in the world, his mother having passed some 6 years prior, his grandmother having passed a year prior, his father in parts unknown. Riley works one acre of cotton and lives on a "furnish" of $2.50 per month. These monthly advances against the proceeds from sale of the cotton he is growing are recorded here on the first and second lines as "cash". On the second line is an debit entry of $1.00 with the notation "pants", and one for $.50, noted as "wrench", for goods Henderson bought for the boy. When the growing season is over in September Henderson assesses an interest charge of $1.12, leaving Riley $15.12 in the red. Another $.40 is charged for "3 yrds cotton sack," bringing a grand total of $15.52 when the cotton is carried to the gin. Credits of $4.00 and $1.00 are recorded in payment "for work across canal," and "for work". Another debit entry of $1.20 is recorded, perhaps a second interest charge. Credit of $4.18 is recorded for "cotton sold," Riley's one-half share of the proceeds from his crop. The net for 1940 is $7.54 debt. The account is closed when Henderson writes "Paid in full by 1940 rental check [U.S. Government farm subsidy]. Lowry D Jr carried me to Lexington, Miss to make settlement."

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