“T” is for Tenantry
“T” is for Tenantry. Dating back to the colonial era, tenantry played a significant role in the agrarian society of South Carolina. Tenant farming was a system designed to allow people without capital to gain access to land and work it as their own. In return tenant farmers paid the owners of the land in cash or part of their crops. In antebellum South Carolina there were both White and free Black tenant farmers. After the Civil War tenant farming became more racially divided--the majority of tenants were African American. In 1950 about 63,000 of the 140,000 farms were worked by tenants, The decline accelerated until by 1992, just 7.4 percent of farms were tenant operated. Once an omnipresent feature of the South Carolina landscape, tenantry has become largely a thing of the past.