103-year-old Grandma Recalls Picking Cotton From Age 12 for 14 Hours-a-day for Just 50 Cents

Trigger warning: This story contains themes of slavery and race-motivated violence that some readers may find distressing

Even as conservatives argue against the need to educate youngsters about the history of racism in America, people like Madie Scott are a reminder of the kind of ways Black people were exploited through slavery. Madie Scott is 103-years-old and spent years picking cotton as a child and her granddaughter Shanika Bradshaw (@blackbeauty_305) is now documenting and sharing Scott's recollections of the time on TikTok. Scott revealed that she was made to pick cotton from when she was 12-years and worked over 14 hours a day, earning just 50 cents in Georgia. "Grandma picked cotton from 3 am-5 pm every day. She was paid barely anything," Bradshaw captioned the video.
In one of the videos, Scott explained that she used walked up and down the rows every day, with thorns often thorns hurting her fingers. “When you get used to picking cotton, you pick it, you know how to pick it,” she said. Scott said the owners of the fields would send a bus to pick her up at 3 am. She would then work through the day before returning him at 5 pm. Scott said they were all overworked and exploited. “I worked like a dog,” recalled Madie. “Cotton you plant. It’s got seeds. And I used to go to the field with Momma, my Momma. You chop cotton… I know all of the tricks because I done it. Oh Lord, all the work I done.”
Bradshaw frequently posts videos of her grandmother sharing life experiences and viewers want to know more about her life. “Wow she’s probably seen so much in her lifetime,” wrote one person. “She is her ancestor’s dream,” commented another. “To live through all that and be free to see the world today.” Many pointed out that it just goes to show slavery wasn't as far back many would have the public believe. “But their favorite line is ‘get over it’ as if ppl who experienced aren’t STILL alive,” wrote one person. Another said Scott's videos made such a huge case for reparations.
Scott is set to turn 104 in December and people are lining up o send her gifts and cards after Bradshaw shared her home address for those who wished to. Bradshaw also said her grandmother shares a close relationship with a family she worked for and posted an image of a white woman holding her hand. "Pure love" is how Bradshaw described their bond. If "We all could just stop judging people and love, this world would be great. All of us are not the same. Racism is taught. You are not born that way!!" wrote Bradshaw. She also raised her children and posted a video of Jack, who Scott raised. Bradshaw said Jack lover her so much. "Jack sends my Gma flowers and money every chance he gets. When I tell you he loves her to death. On this day, he sat on that couch and held her hand most of the day. He was her baby. He tells her he loves her all the time. ❤" she wrote in one heartwarming post.
It highlighted how recent slavery really was. For many, Bradshaw's videos urged them to find the women who raised them. One person wrote, "I would give my right arm to find the lady who looked after me while my parents were at work. Not even sure if she's living." Bradshaw said she felt a little sad when asking about her pay. "I was asking her about the pay. I asked her if she forgave the people for how she was treated and she said, 'Yeah, I did forgive them a long time ago. Even though I was overworked and put in so much work and was paid so little,'" Bradshaw told Buzzfeed News.

Sources: upworthy, tiktok

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