Unnamed Negro Tenant Farmers 5

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Unnamed Negro Tenant Farmers 5
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Unnamed Negro Tenant Farmers 5
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The Negroes who work the land at the Harriss plantation are variously referred to in "Knight's Gambit" as "croppers" and "tenants" (163). As the owners of the land, both Mrs. Harriss' father and her husband use the tenant system, which became widespread across the South in the aftermath of Emancipation. The narrative notes that Mrs. Harriss' father managed the system in such a way that "a plow-team and its driver from the field could be spared" to drive the white family's carriage - an "old battered Victoria" - whenever his daughter wanted to go to Jefferson (155). Mr. Harriss is described as an "absentee-landlord" (158), and soon turns the system over to a "renter," who oversees relations with the tenants (160). When he decides to import his "own Negro farm-hands" from Memphis, "the Negroes who had lived and dropped their sweat on the old place" for years "were gone" (160).