I would like to address the controversy in the news about the offensiveness of cotton being used as a decorative accessory.
I am a white, southern born female. My grandfather was a sharecropping cotton farmer. He moved his family to places where the farmland was available. His six children picked cotton. They did not have a lot, but what they did have was Jesus, family, a strong work ethic and happiness.
For most of my childhood, my father worked in the cotton industry. Those of you who are old enough will remember the compress. It was a warehouse that took bales of cotton from the gins, compressed them to make them smaller for storage and shipping and then warehoused the bales until cotton brokers were ready to ship it. During the peak cotton harvest weeks each year, I did not see Daddy. He got up and left for work before I was awake and came home way past my bedtime. I can remember a lantern that had cotton bolls painted on it sitting on our hearth. There is still a painting of a cotton boll hanging over Daddy’s recliner, even though he has not worked in the cotton industry for almost 40 years. You see, those decorative items are symbols for my family. They are symbols of hardworking men who provided food, shelter, clothing and happiness for their families. They are in no way symbols of oppression or the sinfulness of slavery. I am extremely proud of my daddy, my pa-paw, my uncles and cousins who work or have worked in the cotton industry. It is a great heritage that makes be proud to be a part of the Lott family.