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"Low Paying Wages For Workers In Louisiana's Cotton Fields "
"Low paying Wages For Workers In Louisiana's Cotton Fields"
"Low Paying Wages For Workers In Louisiana's Cotton Fields"
I started working in homes at twelve years old, baby sitting, cleaning and cooking. That was okay even though, it only paid $ 3.00 for the whole day.There was one other job that I hated with a passion and that was going to the cotton fields. When I was in my teens, I couldn't find anything to do, but my parent found out about the cotton fields was hiring workers. Young and old, so to my parent that was something to do. Even though we only made a lousy $ 3.00 a day for eight hours. This cotton field business wasn't new to me because my grandma had taken me to the cotton field with her to pick cotton. When I was nine years old and the only thing I liked about it was lunch time and time to go home. When we picked cotton we would have this long linen sack that we would pull the cotton from the bulbs and put it into the sack. The cotton rows would be so long, that most times their length would reach unto the woods which was where you went to the bathroom, to do your business. The bad thing about picking cotton was you had to pick it fast and continuously through out the day, to try and get a hundred pounds.
Even Then, you were only paid $ 1.00 a hundred pounds of cotton, that meant you really had to pick your butt off to get a couple hundred pounds of cotton a day. To makes some dollars for your work, or shall I say a decent amount of pocket change. Working in the cotton fields wasn't a good thing for me. In fact it was the pits for me. I am and always have been a humble and obedient person. I've always tried to do what ever my parent told me to,even if I didn't agree with it. I always tried to honor my parents because that was what I was taught. I guess doing all kinds of odd jobs is where I got my work ethics. To do what ever you can, until you can find something better. We have some people that want work at all, if they can't find what they want to do. Times are tight and sometimes, you take what you can get until better comes along. I will walk you through what you do in the cotton field. First you prepare you a brown bag lunch. They have cold water for you to drink. If you want a pop or something else you have to bring it yourself. You have to dress yourself in long pants and long sleeves shirts to keep form being eaten up by the mosquitoes, you also need a wide rim hat like a sombrero to keep the scorching sun from burning your face or toasting you like a marshmallow.
Every now and then you get a break from the sun, when it goes under the clouds for a little while. I use to get so hot and sweaty in the cotton fields, that the sweat would just pour down with a vengeance, and a windy breeze would send a chill over me. That made me shiver and be cold for a instant. I hated the very words of the cotton field, even the thought of the cotton field, make me cringe and grit my teeth. When you chop or hoe cotton, we're given a hoe which is garden tool. We start at the beginning of a long row of cotton that goes to the end of the field. We take the hoe in our hand and cut through the cotton to get the grass an thin out the cotton. a This is the action that we do all the way to the end of the cotton row. Then we start on an other row. This action goes on until lunch time at 12.00 o'clock and after and hour for lunch, we start over again until 4.00 o'clock. When it's time to go home ,at the end of the day you get in line and go to get your $ 3.00 wages. Talk about cheap hire, I don't think its any cheaper than that job. Believe it or not; there were many people in the cotton field trying to make a few bucks. Now, I look back at what I did to make a buck and now I think it's ludacris to work for $ 3.00 a day. Fortunately for people now days they make better money compared to the pay in the 60's.
We work in the cotton fields every day except for Saturday and Sunday; until the cotton chopping season was over for the year, then it was time to pick cotton. That was my forte. I only picked a hundred pounds of cotton once in my life. There are so many people that don't want to work the jobs they have available to them. now days. If they had to do the work I had to do in the 60's, they would close their mouths and count their blessings. I have no love lost about the cotton fields of Louisiana or anywhere else, but I do use the cotton just like everyone else and get my revenge on the cotton balls. LOL.
Benny Faye Douglass