Bring Back Jim Crow: Cotten Gin Workers File Federal Suit

Antonion Harris - Atkinson Cotton Warehouse

We all use or wear cotton, but for blacks in the south when we pass fields of cotton memories come flooding back to the days of slavery. The hot, harsh conditions picking cotton by hand from sun up to sun down with very little break and not meeting a quota meant being whipped or no food. Though they may not have happened directly to us, these stories have been passed down and the vision is ever so real.

On the heels of the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou comes this shiniggity from Memphis, Tennessee. Black workers at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse in Memphis, TN has filed both an EEOC and federal complaint against the company claiming the companies supervisor subjected them to racism and Jim Crow type conditions. Antonio Harris and Marrio Mangrum who worked at the company are the main complainants on saying the main supervisors made threats of hanging them if they drank from a water fountain. The affidavit also claims the supervisors pulled down his pants, exposing himself and telling the black workers to kiss his white a$$.

Before you start to say this is a fabricated story, we assure you it is not. ABC News has just picked up this story, as well as The Root, CNN, MSN, Huffington Post and CBS.

When the black employees tried to drink from the water fountain they were met with the words “that’s a white only fountain.” The workers were subjected to comments such as: hey black boy get my cotton; I need to hang a sign that says whites only; and bring back the good old days when they could “hang” you. Harris who was fed up after months of enduring the racist comments and threats decided to record one of the incidents using his cell phone.

The EEOC is working to mediate the settlement with the Atkinson Warehouse company. The owner of the company stated that the supervisory staff is outsourced to another company and does not condone discrimination.

You maybe shaking your head thinking this is not 1940 or even 1840, but 2014 and you are right. However, this is 2014 and things of this nature are starting to happen more frequently: the racists comments of Donald Sterling to the allegations that cost Paula Deen her network show. It seems that since Obama has come into office we have seen more of these incidents happening. politicians, celebrities, companies and sport owners are being exposed. What’s done in the dark will always come to the light.

While you are out there today, tomorrow, next month just remember some people still want to take you back to the Jim Crow days… Wake the Hell up.


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