African American Cotton Pickers Day

Cotton Picking Day
Cotton Picking Day


Special to The Dallas Examiner


African American Cotton Pickers Day is on the fourth Monday of October, created this month by Clarence Glover. Also referred to as Cotton Monday, it recognizes Americans of African descent who raised and picked cotton during slavery and Jim Crow, which served as the foundation of the development of America’s economic system. It is a day to recognize the history of cotton in West Africa, where it has been a part of the culture of African people for many years.

The commemorative day was created to allow all Americans to study, recognize and appreciate how Americans of African descent have contributed to the cotton industry and the impact on the economic, political, educational, religious, and cultural life of America. It is day to recognize how inter-cultural relations were impacted by the cotton industry in America both past and present.

It is held on the fourth Monday because it represents the height of the cotton picking season – when Americans of African descent picked cotton.

At one point in history, African American were not allowed to go to school until all the cotton was picked in the fields.

In recognition of the day, many people wear all black and white clothing made of 100% cotton.

The black represents African Americans and the white represents the cotton they picked.

The day should be observed and celebrated in all homes and schools, as well as all religious and community organizations by recognizing the thousands of named and unnamed Africans in America who raised and picked cotton during slavery and Jim Crow. Participants should research and identify the many institutions and products developed in America and throughout the world as the result of hand picked cotton in America, which lasted from the 1830’s to 1960’s. Schools should explore science, technology, engineering and math careers created by cotton both farming and industrial for today’s students – particularly African American students.

An important part of this day is also to encourage surviving African American cotton pickers share their stories.


Theme: Cotton Pickin’ Proud

Song: Cotton Fields (1940) by Led Belly

Food: Hoppin’ John with Smoked Turkey


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