Members of the Como-Pickton High School Enrichment class are studying the effects of the Civil War,
Slavery, and the Cotton Culture.
Como-Pickton High School Enrichment Class
Explores Slavery, Civil War, and Cotton Culture
by: Bobby McDonald
In observance of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, high school students in the enrichment class are exploring the world of slavery, the causes and effects of the American Civil War, and the Cotton Culture of the Southern U.S. Students are researching such topics as life as a slave, the necessity of slave labor for the cotton fields of the South, and the impact that the cotton plant had on society, culture, and the economy of the Southern U.S., Texas, and yes, Hopkins County. Throughout the year a variety of speakers from the community will make presentations to the group, and they have already made plans to take a field trip to the Lincoln Exhibit, that will be arriving at the Sulphur Springs Public Library, on "Lincoln and the Constitution."
"I had no idea that Hopkins County was an area that had many slaves, during the Civil War," expressed one student. "I just thought slavery was 'big' in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana!"
Students in the class have each received a copy of "Out of the Darkness, the Black Face of Hopkins County" as a resource aid in the study. "It's interesting to learn that Hopkins County had many slaves during the period and the differences of opinions that existed right here where I live, concerning the Civil War," added another student. "I had no idea that there were loyal Unionists here in Hopkins County. I just assumed that everyone was a 'die hard' Confederate sympathizer!"
"And, it's so hard to believe that the 'humble' cotton plant has influenced the lives of our ancestors, dictated the way that people dressed, influenced the roots of much of our music, and structured many of our social structures in Northeast Texas," inserted another student.
Students have learned about how the Cotton Culture led to the "Jim Crow Days" following the Civil War and how that many, many African-American slaves were not much better off, following their freedom, as they spent almost 100 years as sharecroppers on Southern cotton farms. They've also begun to study the impact that the Cotton Culture had on seasonal and migrant workers of Hispanic orgin, and the life of many low income families of all races, who were entrenched and dependent upon cotton for their livelihood.
"It's a very interesting study and shows us how the history of this area was shaped by cotton!" added another student. "I'm looking forward to the study that will last throughout the year!"