Cotton experiences being recorded for posterity
by Elisabetta Zengaro
May 30, 2014 | 4604 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Telling stories is a way humans have maintained history for centuries and a program from Khafre Inc., is working to keep history alive in Mound Bayou.

Cotton Memories Sessions are to provide a forum for the public to listen to the memories and experiences of those who lived in a time when cotton was “king” of the Delta.

“That’s the narrative not talked about anymore,” said Professor C. Sade Turnipseed, executive director and founder of Khafre, Inc., said. “We want to make sure the legacy prevails.”

According to Mound Bayou Mayor Darryl Johnson, this event is a wonderful way to display the integrity and history of Mound Bayou.

"I think this is an awesome way to celebrate who we are. We have gathered stories and we are in the process of archiving and saving accounts that people share with us about their experiences in the cotton field," said Johnson.

This is the first year the “narrative of cotton” will be brought to Bolivar County via the Cotton Memories Sessions, as part of the Cotton Pickers of America Monument.

“It’s a huge narrative that needs to be discussed,” Turnipseed said.

Anyone with a “connection” to the cotton industry is invited to come and share their story, Turnipseed said.

The Cotton Memories Sessions are one-on-one interviews that will take place weekly throughout the duration of the summer.

Johnson said he is excited about the event because it is very important to remember who we are and where we came from.

"Individuals will share their stories and recollect upon their experiences. Most of the African American history is based partly on cotton picking and experiences while in the cotton field," added Johnson.

Turnipseed said they will collect the interviews to archive the stories for the Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center.

Any artifacts and other archival material will also be welcomed as part of historical collection.

Those who wish to share their story need to fill out a registration form to reserve a time for their interview.

However, Turnipseed said they do not require that people schedule interviews ahead of time — drop-ins are also acceptable.

The sessions will be held at two locations: da’ House of Khafre in Indianola from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Mound Bayou City Hall from 3-6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Johnson said he and Turnipseed welcome any individuals who may want to share historical accounts about the cotton field and their cotton-picking experiences.

Currently those are the only two locations, but Turnipseed is hoping they will be able to expand to other places.

Turnipseed said it is free of charge for the public to come and listen to the interviews, but as Khafre is a nonprofit organization, any and all contributions would be accepted.

"We would like for individuals to come out and enjoy some rich history in story telling. This is a great way for members of the community to become more knowledgeable about their ancestry," said Johnson.

For more information, contact Turnipseed at (662)-347-8198 or at sade@khafreinc.org.