There is something both surreal and humbling about being a Black British-African woman on a cotton farm in Georgia with a White American man, who used to pick cotton as a boy, as my tour guide.
Surreal? Because of all of the above.
Humbling? Well, standing amidst all that history in the Georgia State Cotton Museum, touching the cotton and feeling the thorns, imagining how incredibly painful it would have been to pick that 'white gold' all day under the burning southern sun and never see a dime of the profits and yet still have a song to sing and a hope for freedom with none in sight. History really came alive for me in Vienna, Georgia.
Why was I on a cotton farm in the middle of Georgia? Wax print is made from cotton and most of the cotton used in the early days of wax print production originated in the USA before being transported to mills in England to be processed and dyed. In fact this 'white gold' and the African slaves that picked were the reason for one of the the most bitter wars fought in America and the great cotton famine that arose in the north of England as a result of that war.
Earl Collier, my tour guide, was the epitome of southern hospitality and warmth. Some of the stories he told would bring tears to your eyes and others much laughter and inspiration. I can't wait for you to meet Earl in WAX PRINT: From the Cradle to the Grave.