In fact, many educated minds believe that cotton played a major role in the beginning of the American Civil War and it was the number one industry in America for over 200 years.
No agricultural crop has played a more significant role in shaping American history, both culturally and economically, than cotton and one group, Khafre, Inc., made a project proposal to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors at Monday's meeting to take a major step forward in preserving the crops' role in the history of the Mississippi Delta region.
C. Sade Turnipseed, executive director for Khafre, Inc., along with Cheryl Line, director of Tourism for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, and Hermon Johnson, chair of the Khafre, Inc. Board of Directors, introduced their project, "Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center," to the members of the board of supervisors.
"This project is a way to recognize the people who prospered from the early cotton industry and to honor the people who planted, chopped and picked cotton," said Turnipseed.
Khafre, Inc. has secured two plots of land, or approximately 20 acres located on U.S. Highway 61 in Mound Bayou, for the statue and museum project and expects groundbreaking to begin sometime within the next year.
"The plan is to have a monument erected that will stand between 25-30 feet tall," continued Turnipseed. "The statue's purpose is to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of historic sites, structures and landscapes relating to the cotton industry and sharecroppers experience."
The design of the project includes a "walking tour through the history of cotton."
Families of landowners, pickers, slaves and sharecroppers can purchase bricks that flow through the grounds to commemorate their service to the industry.
"In this design there will be individual exhibits like cotton processing, cotton fields with a tribute to cotton pickers, a tribute to slave labor, a tribute to the Delta Blues, which began in the cotton fields of Mississippi, a tribute to sharecropping and a tribute to black farming," Turnipseed added.
Khafre, Inc. was organized in Dec. 2009 as a 501 (c) not for profit organization.
The mission of the organization, located in Indianola, is to offer educational workshops, seminars and conferences that celebrate the Mississippi Delta heritage and its contributions to world culture.
After a short period of deliberations, the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to provide a proclamation in support of the project.