Marker. The distinction there on about the, I'm talking to you or discussing here the AAA program and what reaction we had in Mississippi County, here in Arkansas. It was, they felt like when President Roosevelt and the Congress passed it, it was wonderful, a blessing, a big opportunity because everybody's broke and this is going to bring in some money and create some jobs and create work. We have public works here with the CWA, build roads, bridges and buildings and stuff like that. So everybody's on a high spot, you see, thought it was marvelous and everything. Then after, when the money came back to the farmers, the landowners, let's say 34 or 35, most of the money stayed in the hands of the landowner. He was, gosh, he was broke in any way. He could keep as much money as he could.
He did. And so the tenants didn't get too much out of it and they weren't, of course, the tenants, a great number of them weren't too happy with it, but the situation had been improved considerably so they went along with it. With the sharecroppers, the sharecroppers didn't make much difference one way or the other because a sharecropper in the eyes of the landowner was just as a, almost you'd compare him, he was one step above the mule. Maybe the mule meant more to the plantation and the farm than the sharecropper did. Have somebody working, just a hand laborer is what he was. And when they put in that program of, which was awfully exciting, you know, going to plow up a third of the cotton. So they plowed up a third of the cotton, everybody with their tongues hanging, I said, well, what do you want to do that for? Cotton was selling for five cents a pound. Didn't even pay for growing it. So they thought by cutting down production of cotton, it'd raise the price, which it did.
Then when they started slaughtering the pigs, then that got everybody's attention, you know, and why do you want to slaughter them? Why don't you just give them to all of these starving people and plenty of starving people here in the county? Truthfully, I don't know what happened to the pigs after they got killed because I wasn't down there and it wasn't my job to check them. But my guess is that none of that food went for waste, that it all went for the people that needed it. And you know really wanted it. But that caused a lot of criticism of the program that it wasn't the right way to do it and everything. And our people in this county who had money or had a little property were conservatives. They felt what Roosevelt was doing was good for them and they wanted it and everything. But he was radical. His views were radical and that. So then they began saying, wait a minute here, what direction has President Roosevelt taken us? And so you'd start getting criticism among the folks who had a little college education or thinking of that.
That wasn't true of Mr. Crane, who was the boss of Wilson. He saw that it meant a great deal to his, Willie Wilson, and it did. For instance, he was the political boss of the county. In other words, whoever's going to be in any of our offices, who's going to be in the governor's office, who's elected over there, he was instrumental in saying that they were elected. Can you tell me about how many people were evicted because of the AAA? The eviction thing that happened there, they didn't need as many sharecroppers, workers on there. You cut out a third of their production and so it means you could do with a third less of your labor force. And they didn't, Lee Wilson never, as far as I can remember, ever bodily ever moved anybody off the farm. But they just let him know that it might be better if he looked elsewhere, you know, and they'd cancel his debt and let him go. And I'd say a great number of them, sharecroppers, were moved or voluntarily moved themselves. I can't remember in my representing them that we ever filed a suit to remove one.
I don't think we did. Others did it, but now they had provisions in that AAA thing. You couldn't move them until you showed they were a detriment to themselves or to the community or to the landowner, threatening the landowner, before you could do it. There's an anecdote on that if you'd like to hear it.