A 103-year-old great-grandmother has gone viral on TikTok, telling how she picked cotton 14 hours a day on a Georgia farm.
Madie Scott — who was born in the South in 1917 — told her granddaughter, Shanika Bradshaw, that she was only 12 years old when she started the job in 1929.
Scott spent every day between 3 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the farm picking cotton, which was then used to make clothing.
The centenarian was paid only 50 cents a day for her labor, and she worked the grueling job for four years.
They recalled the work in a TikTok shared by Bradshaw earlier this month, which has been viewed a whopping 3.1 million times.
The vivacious 103 year old tells her granddaughter: “You have to know how to work. When you get used to picking cotton, you pick it, you know how to pick it. I worked like a dog.”
Scott moved to Florida at age 16 to work as a sharecropper because it offered better pay.
The sociable grandmother has become an unexpected TikTok star since her video went viral.
Bradshaw has started recording and posting other videos of her conversations with Scott in an effort to draw attention to black history. Her videos now regularly reach hundreds of thousands of views.
Speaking of her experience on the cotton farm in Georgia, Scott later explained that she also worked with her sister.
“I was picking cotton all day,” she said BuzzFeed. ‘That was all there was to do. You can work at home [babysitting or cleaning], but when you work in the field, you make the most money.”
Prior to the Civil War in 1865, many black Americans enslaved in the South picked cotton on white-owned farms. After emancipation many continued to work on the farms while they were poorly paid by the bosses.
Scott says she has forgiven her employers “a long time ago” for both overtime and underpayment.
After working as a tenant farmer, Scott spent 40 years as a nanny for a wealthy family in Miami Beach. She has also worked as a cook.
Scott’s other jobs also included manual labor, but she found herself missing out on work when she retired in her 80s.
However, she says that kids today don’t know how lucky they are.
“None of these young people are going to have to go through what I’ve been through to get to where I am today,” she told BuzzFeed.
“Oh Lord, I wish we had – how will you have it all lined up for you” [in life] and you know where it’s going. When I came up, we didn’t know where we were going, we just knew how to work.”