A 103-year-old grandmother became an internet sensation as she shared historical information regarding her days picking cotton for little to no wages.
Maddie Scott, a black woman who has lived through two wars, the Korean War, the Great Depression, the Civil War, and Jim Crow, is one national treasure that deserves her flowers. Her granddaughter, Shanika Bradshaw, is a TikTok user who filmed her grandmother sharing her experience picking cotton when she was a teenager, according to Buzzfeed.
During the three-minute video, grandma Scott explained how she and others would work in the field from 3 am to 5 pm each day to provide for themselves and their families. Many Black Americans who lived through slavery were forced to work in inhumane conditions to survive.
Grandma Scott started working in the cotton fields when she was 12 in her hometown, Georgia. She moved to Miami at 16 after learning she could make more money as a sharecropper there. “I was picking cotton all day,” Madie told BuzzFeed. “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.”
“You gotta know how to work to do it,” she told her granddaughter.
@blackbeauty_305Grandma picked cotton from 3am-5pm every day.. She was paid barely anything. Smh! #storytime♬ original sound – Denise B
The video gained more than 2 million views as grandma Scott provided a visual demonstration of how she would separate the rows of cotton she picked each day. She described how painful it was to work through the buds of cotton that felt like thorns, making it challenging to work through, Buzzfeed reported.
“Grandma picked cotton from 3 am-5 pm every day. She was paid barely anything. Smh,” Bradshaw captioned the now-viral video. When asking her grandmother how much she was paid for her hard work, Grandma Scott said it was just a few cents and nothing if you produced no cotton.
Bradshaw asked her spirited grandma what they used the cotton for, and grandma Scott daringly replied, “[To] make cotton clothes. What you think they did with it?”
After her days as a sharecropper had come to an end, grandma Scott started working as a cook in Miami Beach before becoming a nanny for a wealthy family.
“We hear about Christopher Columbus, but we don’t really hear too much of Black history,” Bradshaw said. “So I feel it’s important for me to put this out there so people can hear it firsthand.”
Grandma Scott retired in the 1980s when she was in her 80s. After discovering the poor work conditions and treatment she endured for her hard work, Bradshaw empathized with her grandmother.
“Today was the first day that I felt a little sad,” Bradshaw said. “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.'”