Restored Resettlement House, Tillery NC
Construction of Tillery Farms began in 1935 in Halifax County, North Carolina as an experimental farm resettlement that included segregated sections for black and white farmers, possibly the only New Deal-era planned community of its kind. The project was constructed on fertile land along the banks of the Roanoke River, near the small settlement of Tillery. Eventually it grew to consist of more than eighteen-thousand acres, with homes for more than two hundred farm families. Built on land carved out of nearby plantations, it also included a community center, cooperative store, grist mill, potato curing house, and an assortment of farm equipment used collectively by members of the community.
Individual family plots ranged in size from forty to fifty acres and included a chicken coop, barn, smokehouse, and privy, though some of the first houses constructed for whites additionally included tobacco barns and indoor plumbing. Farmhouses were built from at least six distinct plans. Examples of each style and many original utility buildings are found at Tillery today. Over time the project grew to include two separate communities: a section for black farmers, known as Tillery Farms, and an area for whites, located nearby in the town of Halifax, known as Roanoke Farms.
Many of the resettlement families – first, second, third, and fourth generations – still live in the original houses built during the New Deal. Other structures have been repurposed to better serve the current needs of the community. The ‘History House’ is an original two-story resettlement home that now acts as a museum, filled with pictures, artifacts, and the story of Tillery. The Concerned Citizens of Tillery (CCT) is a local organization involved in the physical preservation of Tillery’s built environment as well as the community spirit which has been a part of the project for more than six decades. CCT members have also been involved in fighting discrimination against African American farmers by the USDA and they actively resisted the influx of corporate pig farmers in eastern North Carolina during the 1990s.
Interviews with Grant Grant http://sohp.org/2013/10/29/breaking-new-ground-now-online/ http://www.cct78.org/history-house.html
Project originally submitted by Michael Verville on May 7, 2014.
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