Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow
Chapter 3: “Bent Backs and Laboring Muscles”
In the rural south in the years 1880- 1995, women worked with the new hope that their sons and daughters would one day escape from the southern staple-crop economy, with its connected hardships and saddened opportunities. Maud Lee Bryant whom was a farm wife from North Carolina stated: “My main object of working was wanting the children to have a better way of living, that the world might be just a little better because the Lord had me here for something, and I tried to make good out of it, that was my aim”. Although in these woman’s words I find a great amount of pain, her strength is very visible. It is obvious that no matter how hard her life is, she tries to see her hardships as opportunities instead of feeling sorry for herself. A large amount of sharecroppers rarely stayed on the same plantation for more than a year or two for the reason being that their quest for household and group anatomy represented the tangible legacy of slavery. Although black families worked large amounts of hours they achieved neither consumer status nor total self-sufficiency due to the repressive labor system they worked for. It is right to say that black women were living a life of irony, although black women would pick cotton all day, they were never able to wear a cotton dress because of their low income and although they would work in agriculture as well, they barely survived on inadequate protein-deficient diets. Although blacks represented one-third of the southern population and 40 percent of its farmers and farm laborers, they were by no means the only penniless agricultural group. In 1910, nine-tenths of all southern black who made their living from the soil worked as tenants, sharecroppers, or contract laborers and most barely eked out enough in cotton to pay for rent, food, and supplies. During these years, a system by which a dominant...
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