What is the Cotton Picken Deal With Cotton? 

What is the cotton picken deal with cotton?

This is a raw cotton plant and the center of this whole debate… Those who have never seen a cotton plant, the cotton is not pure white. It is creamy white and it stinks. In part because of the pesticides and there are seeds.  

Over the past few weeks there has been a great deal of debate over how Hobby Lobby and other arts and craft stores are selling cotton stems for decoration. Some are saying that it is racist to sell cotton like this and that it isn’t respectful to those who are black and those who were slaves. I have my own thoughts on this topic, which is that this is all nonsense.

Cotton Farms in Arizona 

When my parents moved to Arizona back in the 70’s my dad worked for farmers. For the most part the farmers grew cotton. We lived in a tiny little farming area in the middle of the desert. Betty and Jerome Thompson had cotton farms. They were the most awesome people.

My parents along with my family are Caucasian (white) and we all went into the fields to pick cotton. It wasn’t based on the color of someones skin. A job needed to be done and picking cotton, weeding,tromping and all of the other things that needed to be done were done by everyone. I don’t even think there were any workers that were black.

Men, women and children went out to pick cotton and do other things. We did have a lot of Hispanics since we lived in an area that was close to the Mexican border. My dad worked the cotton pickers, my mom would haul the cotton trailers to the building where they would weigh and clear out the trailers at the cotton gin.

The cotton gin, which mechanically separates the seed from the lint fibre. Whitney named his machine a “gin,” short for the word “engine” that could do the work 10 times faster than by hand.

That is a full trailer of cotton. The person in the trailer is tromping it. If you look in front of the trailer, you will see a cotton picker. All of us kids would be the person tromping cotton down in order to fill the trailer and get the most out of it that we could weight wise. 

All of us kids would tromp cotton. We started at 2 in the morning since AZ was so hot. We would have to get into the trailer and my dad would dump the cotton into the trailer and we would have to tromp it down so that it was compacted. The more cotton that could get into the trailer the better. I actually think  many of my health issues are from this because cotton plants were sprayed with pesticides. We were in direct contact with the cotton as it was dumped into the trailer. To this day I hate the smell of cotton fields.

Betty and Jerome Thompson moved to Willcox, AZ and we shortly followed. It may have been were we moved first and then they did, I can’t remember. But, anyhow, we once again worked with cotton farmers. When cotton wasn’t being picked, my dad was a diesel mechanic. In Willcox, once again, it didn’t matter what color your skin was. In Willcox, it was also mostly Hispanic and white people. The farmers would go to the prisons to pick up inmates to work the fields. They normally would pick the weeds between the rows and whatever else.

I live in Utah now and the area where I live is also called Dixie.  I have never seen any cotton fields here, but it seems like Dixie is a big name around here because of the cotton fields. I can’t escape the whole cotton thing since my life has been surrounded by cotton and that is even true now. Not really in the literal sense, but in the historical sense.

The settlers began growing cotton and other temperate cash crops during the later 1850s on land that had fed the Paiute. The Paiute population was decimated as a result of starvation and disease. The largest community in the region, St. George, was founded in 1861, when Brigham Young selected 300 families to take over the area and grow cotton, grapes, and other crops. The region was nicknamed Dixie by 1860. Click here to learn more about the cotton history in Southern Utah.

I know that there were times in our countries history where the slaves in the south were the primary cotton workers. I understand that most of them never got paid and they didn’t choose to do that. I find it deplorable that people are treated differently because of the color of their skin. It shouldn’t matter.

Freed American hostages disembark from a plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Jan. 27, 1981, one week after being released. More Information

I do think that people now days are trying to make statements over some of the stupidest things. Slavery is and was very real. There is nothing funny about people being forced to serve someone because they happen to be black. Nobody should be chained up and stripped of their dignity and taken from their homeland.  I have participated in protests against the KKK, white supremacists and the need to release prisoners that were taken in the 70’s. I have no problem when it comes to standing up against hate. Everyone has a right to stand up for what they believe.

Ferguson, MO Riots

I do want to make one exception, well, maybe a few. But, if you are standing up for something you believe, you should not be destroying property, killing others and spreading more hate. You aren’t accomplishing anything by doing that. Your point is lost because of acting out like heathens.  For example the riots that happened in Ferguson. I have zero issues with them standing up against how they were treated. But, for property to be destroyed and the livelihood of those who live in the community are left in ruins. If you’re standing up against hate, why retaliate with hate and destruction? I don’t get it, I never will.

Everyone was created by God and nobody should be looked down on because of what they look like. This whole thing over a craft store that sells cotton stems for decor is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.  I could easily take offence to all kinds of things and I could easily take offense over someone selling cotton in a store since I was raised by cotton fields and everyone in our family and area worked the cotton fields. Whatever it took to get the cotton to the gin, then it needed to be done. On another note, none of us kids ever got paid. So I guess I could go cause a stink over child labor offenses.

This is a cotton gin. The trailers would pull into where the open area is under the awnings and then a huge vacuum would suck the raw cotton up and then we would take the empty trailer and do it all over again. 

I’m pretty sure that most people realize that we use cotton each and everyday of our lives. I have compiled a short list of just some of the things that we use cotton for.

  • Clothing such as jeans, dresses, shirts, undergarments and socks.
  • Bedding such as blankets, sheets, quilts and pillow cases
  • Towels, wash cloths, handkerchiefs.
  • Cotton balls, q-tips and gauze
  • And a whole lot more…

Here is a link that tells you all about cotton and how it is harvested and how it is used. Click Here

I want to close this by saying that if you are going to stand up for something, then by all means do it. I would say that if you are trying to make a change, do it in a way that will draw attention to the real issues and don’t focus on things that are distracting, such as a cotton decoration. Don’t go destroying people’s lives by taking lives, burning buildings and acting like an idiot. Anytime you go after hate with hate, it is a lose lose situation and your point is missed.

Anymore it seems to be the liberals against the republicans, the Christians against the world and so on. As a country, we should be on Americas side and since I am a Christian I am always on the same side as Christ. Hate never wins. 

4 thoughts on “What is the Cotton Picken Deal With Cotton? 


  2. I read about this, and I must say that lady is very misinformed if she thinks slaves were the only cotton pickers! My dad, a full blooded Irishman, raised cotton in Oklahoma in the ’30’s and ’40’s. He rotated his crops and cotton was about every other year. He plowed and planted behind a strong horse and plow. If you’ve ever watched an old west movie with the man plowing, the reins around his shoulder, keeping that plow blade going in a straight line, that’s exactly the way Dad did it! My older brothers drug that long cotton sack behind them day after day. The only automation was a strong back, hands, and a sturdy cotton sack. I even had my child size sack! Until I was about 5 years old, my brothers would let me ride on their sacks until the sack started getting full. Mom would fix the noon meal (you would hardly call it “lunch”) and me and my little wagon would take it to the cotton pickers.
    By 1943, all my brothers were in the military, as were most of the young men in our farming community, so the farmers would go to each others farms at “cotton pickin’ time”. The wives would cook the noon meal on their wood cook stoves, and those kitchens would be so hot, the women’s faces were red, and perspiring constantly, and many times they’d cook supper for the pickers. Back breaking labor, long hours, dusty, hot weather – it gets REALLY hot in Oklahoma in the summer – To that offended woman:yeah, cry me a river, lady!

      1. My parents and the farmers also rotated crops. One year it was cotton and the next year it was hay or corn. I think it’s crazy that people get butt hurt over things like this. We would also make lunches that would go out to the fields to feed everyone. Between loads, the food was brought in so everyone could eat. I hated it when we would have to weed. There was rattlers in the fields.

        We use to live in Oklahoma also. I think we lived there for a year or two. Thats where I learned how to eat beans with cornbread and ketchup. There was this super sweet black lady that would always make sure we ate.

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