Picking Cotton on a Mississippi Plantation

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
This is what harvesting means in the south. Here is a group of negroes busy gathering in the fleecy bolls of cotton. Men, women, and children are busy with picking. Such a scene as this might be observed anywhere in the Cotton Belt during the fall of the year. This is the way the cotton is grown. The ground is plowed and a good seed bed is made. In the early spring months of March and April the seeds are sown. They are purposely sown too thickly so as to insure a good set. When the plants come up they are thinned to the proper distance. They are cultivated in the same way that corn is cultivated. The harvesting lasts through several months. This is because the bolls open unevenly, requiring several pickings to harvest the crop. Then, too, the cotton belt extends over a great distance north and south. The farther south, the picking begins earlier. The cotton field that is shown here may yield 400 pounds to the acre. Some fields grow as much as a bale per acre. A good picker in such a cotton field may gather as much as 500 pounds but this is almost twice as much as the average workman can gather. The Cotton Belt extends through the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. The last-named state produces far more than any of the others. Our crop averages each year about 15,000,000 bales, of which Texas produces more than one-fourth. Georgia grows one half as much as Texas; and Alabama about three-fifths as much as Georgia. South Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and North Carolina follow this order. Keystone ID: 9506 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.