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1915

Precipitated in part by farm labor wages falling to $ .75 a day and the boll weevil devastation of cotton crops, Southern blacks begin migrating to Northern and Western cities when war industries seek their services. By 1930, almost one million blacks leave the South in what becomes known as the Great Migration.

1925

Fred Mathis marries his first wife Janie Milliron.

1926

Bill Mathis purchases 200 acres of land in Macon County referred to as the "Blue Ruen" farm.

1929

October stock market crash triggers the Depression. Price of cotton bottoms out and devastation leads to foreclosures. Black farmers' inability to repay loans to black banks leads to the failure of 30 independent black banks.

1933

Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) created under New Deal favoring large farms. Subsidy payments to South are siphoned off by white landowners. Sharecroppers are deprived of assistance.

1935

Failure of AAA leads to formation of Southern Tenant Farmers Union (also known as Southern Sharecroppers Union) in Arkansas, uniting black and white tenant farmers and sharecroppers in their fight against exploitation by large landowners.

1937

Farm Security Administration (FSA) created to make loans to farmers. With an appropriation one-fifth of the amount appropriated to the AAA, the FSA's mission to establish communities of small farms results in thousands of blacks purchasing land with FSA loans.

1940-45

Second major migration of blacks from South seeking opportunities in Northern cities during war years.

1945

Fred Mathis marries Lula Duncan; they have 7 children.

1946

Bill Mathis dies.


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