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Hammer and HoeAlabama Communists during the Great Depression$
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Robin D. G. Kelley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469625485

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469625485.001.0001

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In Egyptland: The Share Croppers’ Union

In Egyptland: The Share Croppers’ Union

(p.34) Two In Egyptland: The Share Croppers’ Union
Hammer and Hoe

Robin D. G. Kelley

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the establishment of the Share Croppers' Union (SCU) on August 6, 1931. Al Murphy, appointed as SCU secretary, was a tremendous asset to the fledgling organization. Recognizing the need to expand into the black belt, he established headquarters in Montgomery where he worked closely with the city's leading black Communists. Murphy also developed strategies that emphasized self-preservation and cunning, in line with croppers' underground tradition of resistance. These include no meetings to be held in empty houses; SCU members were told not to walk in large crowds nor engage in armed action. The cotton pickers' strike in 1934 marked the SCU's first major victory since its creation.

Keywords:   sharecroppers, sharecropping, Community Party, Birmingham, Share Croppers' Union, SCU, Al Murphy

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