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A New Deal Experiment— the Tillery Resettlement

All this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina’s black history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit from our state’s African American’s past. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government helped to establish homestead communities that encouraged landownership and, in many cases, fostered agricultural skills. In North Carolina, the resettlement projects took the form of rural farming homestead and one—in Halifax County—was the only resettlement project that held sections for both races. Of the 113 resettlement across the county, only 13 of offered homesteads to blacks. North Carolina hosted one of the country’s largest ventures in rural Halifax County. The overall project, launched in 1935, was named Roanoke Farms, with the white settlers assigned to a section called Roanoke Farms, and African Americans to a section called Tillery Farms. At its peak, Roanoke Farms (including Tillery) consisted of 294 forty-acre farms, each costing about $7,454. Homesteaders came from North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas to settle at Roanoke Farms, and the community spirit that was encouraged by the resettlement program continues in the community today. Check out this article on NCpedia for more on North Carolina agriculture during the era.

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