103-Year-Old Grandmother Shares Story Of Being Underpaid As Sharecropper On Cotton Fields
Madie Scott said she worked from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
November 29, 2021 at 10:19 pm
Madie Scott, a 103-year-old grandmother, shared her memories of working as a sharecropper and picking cotton in a TikTok video that has since gone viral.
Shanika Bradshaw asked Scott, her grandmother, about her life in America when she was a teenager. In the three-minute video, Scott recalls waking up at 3 a.m. to go work in the fields until 5 p.m.
@blackbeauty_305 Grandma picked cotton from 3am-5pm every day.. She was paid barely anything. Smh! #storytime
♬ original sound – Denise B
Bradshaw is seen asking her grandmother a series of questions to fully understand the back-breaking labor her grandmother endured. When she asked Scott how much she was paid, the grandmother gave a disturbing response.
"Sometimes it wouldn't be a one-hundred dollars," Scott said bitterly.
According to Complex, her daily wages totaled 50 cents per day.
Scott began working in the fields in Georgia at 12 and moved to Miami when she was 16 because she was told she could make more money as a sharecropper.
"I was picking cotton all day. That's all there was to do. You can work in the house [babysitting or cleaning], but if you work in the field you make the most money," Scott told BuzzFeed.
Sharecropping was an exploitative practice that Southern white landowners implemented after the Civil War to take advantage of enslaved workers. The workers could rent and work on the land and, in return, they would receive a portion of the crops. However, not all landowners paid fair wages or even paid their tenants anything at all, and there was no legal retribution for the ill-treatment.
Scott continued to work as a sharecropper before she landed a job as a cook in Miami Beach, Florida. She eventually left that position and began nannying for a wealthy family that she stayed with for 40 years, raising their seven children.
“We hear about Christopher Columbus, but we don’t really hear too much of Black history. So I feel it’s important for me to put this out there so people can hear it firsthand,” Bradshaw said to BuzzFeed.
“Today was the first day that I felt a little sad. I was asking her about the pay. I asked her if she forgave the people for how she was treated and she said, ‘Yeah, I did forgive them a long time ago. Even though I was overworked and put in so much work and was paid so little,'” Bradshaw added.
Scott retired from working in 1989 when she was in her early 70s. She is slated to celebrate her 104th birthday on Dec. 8.