Hardy in Franklin County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
How Tobacco Farms Used Slavery
The many stages of planting, growing, harvesting, and curing tobacco required a lot of hands.
• Plant seedbeds in February using seeds from last year's best plants.
• In late spring, "pitch" thousands of small seedlings from seedbeds, and plant them in the fields.
• Weed and water the plants.
• Pick pests off plants by hand. (This tedious job was often done by enslaved children.)
• Take off or "top" the plants' flowers and pinch or "sucker" shoots off the stem. This diverts the plants' energies to grow large leaves.
• Harvest plants with a tobacco knife.
• Hang plants from sticks in the tobacco barn, where the heat of small fires cures the leaves.
• Sort or "prize" leaves by quality.
• Haul leaves to the tobacco factory to be processed into "pig-tail twists," a form of chewing tobacco.
Think about it:
Working For Your Life
What kept the enslaved African workers in the hot fields, for hours, day after day, at back-breaking labor? Fear of punishment and violence was a major reason. But just as powerful was the hope that hard work might keep their loved ones from being sold away. Harvest time was an anxious time for the enslaved Africans. Would the tobacco crop earn enough money? The crop was harvested in the fall, and the workers often didn't know until early spring in the new year what their fate would be.
Images of people working are contemporary photos of the Park's living history volunteers.
Erected by Booker T. Washington National Monument, National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture.
Location. 37° 7.165′ N, 79° 43.877′ W. Marker is in Hardy, VirginiaTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12130 Booker T Washington Hwy, Hardy VA 24101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Freed Here, At Last (here, next to this marker); Slavery on the Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); Booker T. Washington National Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Booker T. Washington's Birthplace (within shouting distance of this marker); Booker T. Washington Birthplace (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jack-O-Lantern Branch Trail (approx. ¼ mile away); Carry Me Home (approx. ¼ mile away); Taylor’s Store (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hardy.
Also see . . .
1. Booker T. Washington National Monument, National Park Service. (Submitted on August 17, 2019.)
2. Dr. Booker Taliaferro Washington, Tuskegee University. (Submitted on August 17, 2019.)
3. Booker T. Washington National Monument, National Register of Historic Places. (Submitted on August 17, 2019.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 19, 2019. It was originally submitted on August 17, 2019. This page has been viewed 58 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 17, 2019. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.