U.S. History

"Cotton Tenants: Three Families"

James Agee; Walker Evans

About the Program

In 1936, five years before they published "Now Let Us Praise Famous Men," James Agee and Walker Evans produced a feature article for Fortune magazine titled "Cotton Tenants," about three poor families in Alabama living through the Great Depression.  The 30,000 word article and accompanying photos were never published by Fortune, but "Cotton Tenants" was discovered decades later in a collection of Agee's manuscripts housed at the University of Tennessee.  It was recently published as a book by Melville House.  During this event hosted by the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, Hank Klibanoff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and director of Emory University's Journalism Program, leads a discussion about the book with "Cotton Tenants" editor John Summers, James Agee historian Hugh Davis, and Atlanta photographer Chip Simone.      

About the Authors

James Agee

James Agee (1909-1955) was an author, film critic, and screenplay writer.  His books included "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Death in the Family."


Buy the author's book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Walker Evans

Walker Evans (1903-1975) was a photographer who worked for the Resettlement Administration, Time magazine, and Fortune.  He spent the last decade of his life teaching at Yale University School of Art. 


Buy the author's book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Program Information

"Cotton Tenants: Three Families"

Watch This Program
Watch This Program

Purchase This Program

Past Airings

  • Saturday, August 24th at 8am (ET)
  • Saturday, July 27th at 7pm (ET)
  • Sunday, July 14th at 10pm (ET)
Listen to C-SPAN Radio