Based on daily journals and personal interviews with surviving family members, this article examines the life of Ed Robinson, a renting farmer in the Blackland Prairie of Texas, who succeeded financially despite the inherent inequities of the crop-lien system and the economic crises in agriculture between the 1920s and 1938. Robinson (1886–1958) and his landlord conducted farm business outside the parameters of typical landlord-tenant relations, and while many renters faced eviction for non-payment of their debts, the Robinsons’ landlord allowed them to be virtually self-sufficient. Not even the evictions of tenants associated with the New Deal’s crop-reduction payments posed a real threat to the Robinsons. Although few renters achieved the Robinsons’ success, historians have since discovered a class of landless farmers who survived the depression.

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