With leadership from H. L. Mitchell
and Clay East, 11 white men and seven black men met in a
small schoolhouse near Tyronza in July 1934 and formed a
Much of the unionís historic
importance came from the fact that it included both black
and white tenant farmers as members and leaders. Women
were also welcomed into leadership ranks. This
integration was rare at that time and place.
used such means as strikes, demonstrations, and
rallies to call attention to their plight. Often,
their efforts were met with intimidation and violence.
Efforts to destroy the STFU included eviction of tenants and
firing farm laborers who joined.
Union leaders received many pleas
for help from evicted tenants and interceded on their