Granddaughter shares video of 103-year-old grandmother who picked cotton and makes her a viral star

Georgia native has thousands of fans on TikTok after sharing her experiences of 1930s America

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 23 November 2021 20:02
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A grandmother aged 103 has become a viral TikTok sensation after sharing her experiences of cotton picking as a child.

Madie Scott, who said she begun working aged 12, was helped by her granddaughter and TikTok user BlackBeauty_5 to tell her story of working in Georgia’s cotton fields.

She said she worked from 3am to 5pm everyday picking cotton, and earned 50 cents a day for her work.

Asked what happened to the cotton, Ms Scott told her granddaughter: “They turned it into cotton clothes! What else do you think they did with it? That's what cotton does!”

She added that she was experienced at picking cotton at a young age and learnt to avoid thorns found on the stems of cotton plants.

Her granddaughter, Shanika Bradshaw, wrote: “Grandma picked cotton from 3am-5pm every day. She was paid barely anything. Smh!”

More than 2.9 million people have since viewed the TikTok, with 22,000 commenting on Ms Scott’s experiences of cotton picking in the south.

Cotton picking has been carried out in the southern US for centuries, and is historically associated with slave labour and the end of the Civil War.

And while slavery was abolished in 1865, working conditions for Black Americans continued to be unstable long after.

“The way so many people talk about this as if it was so long ago. People are still living this trauma,” wrote one TikTok user.

“She is her ancestor’s dream,” wrote another. “To live through all that and be free to see the world today.”

BlackBeauty_5, also known as Denise B, told her TikTok followers that her grandmother “wasn’t a slave but had to work as a sharecropper to survive”.

She added that tenant farmers like Ms Scott “were overworked and underpaid”.

The grandmother, who lives in Florida, will celebrate turning 104 on 8 December.

Ms Bradshaw has invited her TikTok followers to send messages to her grandmother ahead of her birthday.

“Ain’t none of these young people will have to go through what I went through to get where I am now,” Ms Scott told Buzzfeed in an interview.

“Oh lord, I wish we had that — how y’all got everything laid out for you [in life] and you know where you’re going. When I was coming up, we didn’t know where we were going, all we know to do was work.”

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