From the beginning of crop production in South Dade, farmers faced the issue of finding and employing enough men, women and children to harvest their crops and transport them to the packing houses. This issue received extensive coverage in the local newspapers at the beginning of every harvesting season. Farmers brought in African-Americans from points further north, from the Bahama Islands, from Jamaica and from other Caribbean islands and also from Central America. No doubt, there were also a substantial number of migratory White workers also, but, because of segregation, those workers are not easy to document. Farmers’ complaints about having to pay high wages to their laborers, the need for tariffs to protect domestic farmers from foreign competition and pleas for government help were issues that also received frequent coverage.
I am not at all familiar with the academic research on this issue but I’m sure that a number of papers and books have been published on the subject. This document lists the names of the “Camps” or “Quarters” that housed laborers which were named in the 1930 and 1940 censuses of South Dade. The 1930 and 1940 censuses in Excel format are available on this website and should be used in conjunction with this document. I would caution researchers not to jump to any conclusions about how the laborers were treated unless they are familiar with the literature in the field. The people who lived in the “Camps” or “Quarters” constituted a minority of agricultural laborers who lived in South Dade. Why they lived where they lived was likely due to a combination of factors which may have included economics and their need for temporary housing for the harvesting season. I’m presenting this information for the use of researchers who might find this list useful.
Labor Camps and Quarters Listed in the 1930 and 1940 Censuses