SGBC's Tift Ave Location Will Host Cotton Mill Exhibit May 5-10
On Saturday, March 15th, South Georgia Banking Company sponsored the kick-off of one of the most moving, historical exhibits Tifton has ever seen. Through a Georgia Humanities Council grant, Georgia Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College was able to bring to life a series of photographs taken at the H.H. Tift Cotton Mill in Tifton 105 years ago through a large-scale exhibit, The Cotton Mill Children: Tifton’s Impact on America.
During the early 1900’s, photographer Lewis Hine used his camera to document the conditions of the working class in the factories and mills of the urban and rural parts of the United States in the early 20th century, in particular, child labor. On January 22, 1909, Hine took a picture of two children in the Tifton Cotton Mill, a photo of a mother and nine of her 11 children in front of their Cotton Mill village house in Tifton, along with three other images. These photos were published and contributed significantly to raising awareness of child labor and bringing it to an end.
The picture of the two little girls captured the attention of Massachusetts historian Joe Manning who decided to uncover the identity of the people in images – which, after many years of work and research, along with a little luck, he did.
On March 15, Manning met nearly 100 descendants of Catherine Young, the mother in the photo, at the exhibit's opening, including those of the little dark haired girl in the photo he first saw, who was Young's daughter. The little girl in the photo, Young's daughter, who was adopted not long after the photo was taken, turned out to be the mother of long time Tifton resident, Dr. Earl Parker.
The Cotton Mill Exhibit is considered a permanent display at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture but is available to schools as a traveling educational exhibit. From May 5-10, the exhibit will be on display at South Georgia Banking Company's Tift Avenue location in Tifton. If you have not seen this piece of local history, please come by and enjoy!
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