Colored Farmers’ Alliance: The Voice of Black Farmers

Following Reconstruction, black farmers faced the same economic problems as the whites—low prices, growing debt and spiraling interest rates. Excluded on the basis of race from membership in the Southern Farmers’ Alliance, the blacks formed a separate organization in Texas in 1886. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance comprised both black farmers and farm workers. More than 1.2 million members were active by 1892.

Farmers in cotton field

The CFA engaged in cooperative efforts similar to those of the SFA. They also were active in the publication of a weekly newspaper and a variety of educational programs. In 1891, a strike of cotton pickers was called, but coordination was poor and the strike failed. Violence had flared up and a number of CFA members were killed.

The rising Populist Party siphoned off much of the membership and financial support, which led to the rapid decline of the Colored Farmers’ Alliance after 1892.