When I tell people that my father picked cotton, they think I am lying. My father was a cotton picker. So were his siblings and mother.
This story is not about cotton, but a sordid history many attempt to bury. This slice of my father’s life points to how some whites kept slavery alive more than 100 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Vice news recently ran a story interviewing a man whose family, along with him, were still enslaved in the 1960s. His story is not an anomaly.
My father, Paul Shivers, has a story that speaks to a slave system we thought long dead. The second podcast for Ark Republic, details how he, as an 8-year-old, escaped a kidnapper’s efforts to imprison then force him to work on a farm in Mississippi. More troubling, this happened in 1956, almost 100 years after slavery was abolished; however, what we learn is that it was still enforced by some white plantation farmers.