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Farms of America in color 1939-1943

By: Lea Holland on Jan. 13, 2011, 5:10 a.m.

Photo: Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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Tending the cotton

Chopping cotton on rented land near White Plains in Greene County, Georgia, June 1941. Laborers were needed to hand-pick the cotton on plantations before reliable harvesting machinery was introduced to the South in the 1950s. Before this, cotton harvesting machinery was too clumsy to pick the cotton without shredding the fibers. The machines began to replace laborers, causing employment in the cotton industry to fall and the South's rural labor force to dwindle during the first and second World Wars.

Reproduction from color slide.