This is the rediscovered original magazine piece Agee wrote that was later transformed into Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It is probably impossible to overstate the esteem we—and readers at large—hold for Agee, and for this work in particular.
Cotton Tenants is the story of three families of desperate but proud farmers in the South in the great depression. They struggle under an endless mountain of debt. They postpone or forego medical treatment they can’t afford. They are victims of a mindless, cruel system that steals their labor, their lives, and in return gives them not happiness but only—and rarely—an unthinking stillness, a biding of time.
Thank god we’ve come so far since then.
Find it in you library or local indie bookseller now.