Local History: The Cotton Picker and the Exodus
This week continues a series of history stories by the late Ashley Harris that were first published in 1994 and 1995. This story appeared in the October 27, 1994 issue.
Fifty years ago this October people from across the region came to Hopson Farms outside of Clarksdale for a farm equipment demonstration. It was not as mundane an event as it sounds: the repercussions of this demonstration changed this country, for good or ill, forever and the change is still going on.
The mechanical cotton picker was not the product of any one person’s inspiration; it evolved over the years.
International Harvester had begun testing pickers at the Hopson plantation in 1927. The fleet of red pickers that harvested the Hopson fields in 1944 were significant because they not only could pick cotton (others had done so before them), but because they could become profitably reproduced.
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