Hughes Town, between Center and Aiken in southwestern Shelby County, was the largest of several area communities of Black sharecroppers. Most of these settlements took their names from the surname of the owner whose land the residents farmed. Important centers of community life at Hughes Town were the gristmill, the syrup mill, and the Hughes Chapel Baptist Church. Children from these small communities attended the Turner school, which served thirty-eight Black students in 1938. During the 1940s and 1950s Blacks began to leave the farmland for urban jobs, and farmers began to put less emphasis on cotton production; as a consequence, these communities disappeared.
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