The name of the 1970 Ossie Davis-directed Blaxploitation film, Cotton Comes To Harlem, has taken on a new twist in 2016.
Willie Morgan, who hails from Georgia, grows actual cotton in Harlem to teach children in his neighborhood about slavery. Cotton, of course, was the cash crop that allowed the United States to flourish in capitalism during the 19th century. The free labor of enslaved people allowed the country’s economy to grow by leaps and bounds.
“I tell the kids … that the jeans they’re wearing come from cotton. They don’t know anything about it,” he said in a recent interview with the Independent. “I give them the cotton and they can take it into their classes.”
Morgan began planting his cotton plants in 2005, and they now sit right at an iconic Harlem statue of Harriet Tubman at the junction of 122nd Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
“This is what slavery was about. They did not have machines. They needed people to pick it…[That way] they know about the cotton, they know what their forefathers did,” he said.
Morgan plants the seeds in June, and harvests them in September and October. He also plants peanuts, collard greens, okra, onions and stevia in his own plot of land not too far from the statue of Harriet, also known as Black Moses.
Happy to talk to Fox 5 News about Willie Morgan, a horticulturalist in Harlem, cultivating plants, peanuts and cotton. #nycgrow #CTCA1937 pic.twitter.com/tyuYq74JIN
— Chef Toni (@ChefToniNYC) September 25, 2016
Morgan has been in Harlem since 1969, and today has six customers he shares his bounty with. Fox5 also notes that he is a chef and runs a small catering business.
Alas, many of those neighbors have been forced out with the rising prices of rent happening in Harlem, and all over New York City.
“The prices are going up,” Morgan says ruefully. “They are putting up more buildings than ever.”
SOURCE: Independent, Fox5 | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter
Activists Push For Harriet Tubman Statue At Maryland State House
Empire Of Cotton: Institution Of Slavery Made Capitalism Possible In The U.S. & Around The Globe
Today’s Freedom Fighters
Anti-DEI Bill Would 'Prohibit' Black Fraternities And Sororities In Florida, Lawmaker Worries
Jonathan Majors Video Evidence, 'Woman Recanting' Assault Claim Will Clear Actor Of Charges, Lawyer Says
'Get Out Of The Country': Video Shows Black Man Kicked Out Of School CRT Meeting As 'Racist Woman' Stays
Thanks, Ron DeSantis: Florida School District Pulls 'Ruby Bridges' Movie After 1 White Parent Complains
Graphic Videos Showing Tekashi 6ix9ine Being Brutally Beaten In Florida Gym Go Viral
University Of Kentucky 'Karen' Pleads Not Guilty To Racist Attack On Black Student Despite Video Evidence
NAACP Opposes Cash Reparations To Descendants Of Enslaved People In San Francisco