"F" is for the Farmer's Alliance

Jun 11, 2020

"F" is for the Farmer's Alliance. Founded in the 1870s in Texas, the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union and its segregated counterpart the Colored Farmers' National Alliance addressed the issues of debt and depressed commodity prices that most rural Americans faced. The first county alliance in South Carolina was founded in Marion in 1887 and within a year there was a statewide alliance. 

In addition to promoting co-operative enterprises such as warehouses, stores, and a bank, the South Carolina Alliance entered politics and provided a platform for anti-establishment politicians such as Ben Tillman. Tillman, though, was uncomfortable with the national alliance and eventually subverted the state alliance and blended its members into his own political organization. The failure of the Farmer's Alliance reflected the difficulty of establishing a biracial political movement in South Carolina.