In the Land of Cotton

How Old Times There Still Shape Alabama's Future

Title Details

Pages: 20

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 06/01/2015

ISBN: 9-781-6030-6397-5

List Price: $7.95

In the Land of Cotton

How Old Times There Still Shape Alabama's Future

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  • Description

In the beginning there was the land promising prosperity and independence. Enough that the population of what is now Alabama increased 1,000 percent from 1810-20. Descendants of Barbados slave lords in South Carolina heard about the rich, fertile soils in central and west Alabama. Scots-Irish came down the Appalachians to settle in the Tennessee Valley and Piedmont sections.

To a very large degree, this newfound world revolved around cotton to feed the ever-hungry mills of England. Now, looking back over the span of two centuries we see that this cotton culture established a mindset that has yet to loosen its grip on Alabama. Cotton declared that manual labor always trumped the capacity to think and that a keen mind was of little use when cotton needed to be planted, chopped, or picked. So plantation owners made sure slaves could not go to school; later, landowners with sharecroppers figured children should be in the field instead of the school house.

This mentality trapped thousands of Alabama citizens in an endless cycle where poverty and lack of education became a shaky foundation for hoped-for prosperity.

About the Author/Editor

LARRY LEE spent forty-five years "studying country folks and country places." He directed the Center for Rural Alabama and is co-author of Beyond the Interstate: The Crisis in Rural Alabama; Crossroads and Connections: Strategies for Rural Alabama; and Lessons Learned from Rural Schools. He also directed the West Alabama Economic Development Authority, the Covington County Economic Development Commission, and the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning & Development Commission. He frequently writes about education and is chairman of the advisory board of HIPPY Alabama, an early childhood learning program. An authority on rural development, Lee has presented to the Southern Legislative Conference, the Southern Growth Policies Board, and the Delta Regional Authority, as well as VOICES for Alabama's Children, Alabama Association of School Boards, Alabama Farmers Federation, Association of County Commissions, and School Superintendents of Alabama. Lee is a graduate of Auburn University and was an editor with Progressive Farmer before diving into community development.