Hollman and Leona pick cotton with traditional 9-foot sacks on Hollman's
farm in Abbeville, MS. The introduction of the mechanical cotton picker
in the 1940's marked the end of an era in American society. Many African-Americans,
no longer needed for large-scale hand-picked cotton farming, left Mississippi
in search of opportunity in the North. Today, only a handful of farmers
still harvest cotton in the manner of their slave and sharecropper ancestors.
Octogenarian Floyd Hollman owns his own land and still hand-picks at least
part of his crop every year to keep his stamina up. "I used to be able
to pick over 300 pounds of cotton a day" says Hollman, "But now
I can only get about 100 pounds."