Nov 26, 2021

Video of 103-year-old grandmother describing her life as a cotton picker goes viral

TikTok grannie

“Grandma picked cotton from 3am–5pm every day. She was paid barely anything,” wrote Denise Bradshaw (blackbeauty_305) on TikTok.

The video of Madie Scott showing her explaining how she picked cotton as a teenager has been viewed more than 3 million times.

“Was it hard work?” Ms Bradshaw asks her grandmother.

“Yeh! You got to know how to do it,” Ms Scott replied, explaining how she used to go up and down the long rows and the rough texture of the cotton plant.

“But you get used to picking cotton,” she said. “I knew all the tricks.”

“What they used to do with the cotton?” Bradshaw asks.

Ms Scott told Buzzfeed she started picking cotton when she was 12, working for the owners of the cotton farm. She was picked up for work at 3am and finished at 5pm.

She was paid barely “nothing”.

In the video Ms Scott said she was paid $100, but it was more likely to have been around 50 cents per day.

“But what you gonna do, starve or work? I worked like a dog,” Ms Scott shared.

At 16, Ms Scott moved to Miami, Florida, where she could earn more money as a sharecropper, she told Buzzfeed.

“I was picking cotton all day,” she said. “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.”

After working as a sharecropper, Ms Scott turned to cooking, and after that she worked as a nanny, a role she filled for 40 years.

She helped to raise a family of seven children while also raising her own family. In one video, Ms Scott is shown holding the hand of the woman she worked for for four decades.

Scott only stopped working in her 80s, but found she missed it. 

“I used to go to the building in the front [where I used to work] and sit and look at the people working because I missed it,” she told Buzzfeed.

However, she conceded that she’s begun to feel “a little sad”. 

“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.’”

Ms Scott turns 104 on December 8.

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