University of Texas Arlington

Southern Tenant Farmers' Union Collection:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Southern Tenant Farmers' Union.
Title: Southern Tenant Farmers' Union Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1934-1980
Identification: AR164
Extent: 2 boxes (0.63 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

The Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union was organized in 1934 in Tyronza, Arkansas, to serve the interests of tenant farmers in the South. The headquarters moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1935. The union affiliated with the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America from 1937-1939. In 1946 it affiliated directly with the AFL and changed its name to National Farm Labor Union.

H. L. Mitchell was a co-founder of the S.T.F.U. and was active in it and its successors.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, clippings, convention proceedings, guides, lectures, transcripts of interviews, articles, and books. Printed material is primarily about the founding and early history of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union and H.L. Mitchell’s part as co-founder. Includes transcripts of interviews by and with H.L. Mitchell and photocopies of the Share-Croppers Voice, 1935-1937.



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Mitchell, H. L. (Harry Leland), 1906-
Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union--History.
Agricultural laborers--Southern States--History.
Alternate Titles
Texas Labor Archives

Related Material

The UT Arlington Library's Oral History Collection contains two transcribed interviews with H. L. Mitchell (OH 29 and OH 51).

Southern Tenant Farmers' Union Proceedings.

"Farm Labor Organizing, 1905-1967" (vertical file).

Oral history interview with Gardner Jackson, 1952-1955, Columbia University Oral History Collection. (Published on microfiche by the New York Times Oral History Program. Copyright, 1972, by The Trustees of Columbia University.)

George Tindall, The Forgotten Farmers: the Story of Sharecropers in the New Deal. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965) HD 1478 U6 C6

The University of North Texas owns the entire collection of S.T.F.U. papers on 60 reels of microfilm.

Administrative Information


Southern Tenant Farmers' Union Collection, AR164, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.


Gift and purchase from H. L. Mitchell and Ray Marshall.

Alternative Form Available

Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, 1934-1970, are available on microfilm (M17).

Location of Originals

The materials in this collection are duplicates and photocopies. The original materials are owned by the Southern Rural Welfare Association, Inc., and are on loan to The Southern Historical Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

Container List


Box Folder
1 1 History of the S.T.F.U.,
S.T.F.U. Study Course 13 pp. (photocopy from mf); contains draft of proposed constitution, July 23, 1934
2 Share-Croppers Voice - (S.T.F.U.) Memphis, Tenn., April, 1935 - Sept., 1937
(photocopy from mf; also have mf.)
3 Mitchell, H. L., The Southern Tenant Farmer's Union (Southern Student Organizing Committee, Nashville. Tenn.) 1968
5 p. Reprinted from the April, 1968 issue of The New South Student; and miscellaneous clippings.
4 Correspondence, General, 1936;
also includes interviews with sharecroppers and farmers.
5 Proceedings, S.T.F.U. - 3 rd annual convention, Muskogee, Okla. 1937
5th Annual Convention; Cotton Plant, Ark., 1939
6 Finding Aids
Beecher, John. Papers, 1899-1972. Guide to the microfilm collection, published by Microfilming Corporation of America, Glen Rock, New Jersey, 1973;
Fair Employment Practices Committee. Records, circa 1941-1946. Guide to the microfilm collection, MCA, Glen Rock, N.J.;
Kester, Howard. Papers, 1923-1972. Guide to the microfilm collection; MCA, Glen Rock, N.J.; 1973;
Southern Tenant Farmers in the News: A Collection of News Stories, 1934-1973. Guide to the Microfilm Collection;
Southern Tenant Farmers' Union Papers. Guide to the Microfilm Collection.
7 Mitchell, H. L.- Interviews and Lectures
Interview, WSIX-TV, Columbia, So. Carolina, Sept. 20, 1972; Lecture sponsored by the History Department, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, No. Carolina, September 28, 1972;
Lecture sponsored by the History Department, University of South Florida, Tampa, Jan. 23, 1973;
Lecture: "Race Relations in the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union" - sponsored by the History Department, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, April 4, 1973;
Interview: "Early Days, Southern Tenant Farmers' Union - Published by the Southern Rural Welfare Association, Montgomery, Alabama.
8 Transcripts of tape recordings:
Coreil, Jules, retiring Secretary-treasurer of District Union No. 327, Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, AFL-CIO, interviewed by H. L. Mitchell, Feb. 3, 1972, New Orleans (labeled Tape No. 3);
Stanfield, Charles W., international representatives, AMC and BW of NA, AFL-CIO, interviewed by H. L. Mitchell (?), Jan. 4, 1972, Alexandria, Louisiana (labeled Tape No. 2)
9 H. L. Mitchell, The Founding and Early History of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union,
reprinted from the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXXII, Winter, 1973, No. 4
10 Howard Kester, Revolt Among the Sharecroppers,
Arno Press and the New York Times, New York, 1969
11 Donald Grubbs, Cry from the Cotton: The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union and the New Deal,
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1971
12 Jerry Voorhis, The Strange Case of Richard Milhous Nixon,
Popular Library, New York, N.Y., 1973
13 Mark Naison, The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union and the CIO,
New England Free Press, Boston, Mass., 1968
14 John Beecher, Report to the Stockholders and Other Poems, 1932-1962,
Red Mountain Editions, Cocoa Beach, Florida, 1971
15 John Beecher, To Live and Die in Dixie,
Red Mountain Editions, Birmingham, Alabama, 1966
Box Folder
2 1 Mean Things Happening in This Land,
The life and Times of H. L. Mitchell, Co-founder of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, H. L. Mitchell, 1979
2 Labor Unionism in American Agriculture,
Stuart Jamieson; photocopy of chapters 14-18, 1900-1940