One hundred years is a long time. Nearly two world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and Jim Crow are all events that 103-year-old Madie Scott lived through.
Madie has seen and experienced so much in her lifetime, that her granddaughter, Shanika Bradshaw (@blackbeauty_305), decided to use TikTok as a way to preserve her grandmother's memories and to share her story.
Madie started "working in the fields" in her hometown in Georgia at only 12. At 16, she moved to Miami, Florida because she heard she could make more money working as a sharecropper there. "I was picking cotton all day," Madie told BuzzFeed. "That's all there was to do. You can work in the house [babysitting or cleaning], but if you work in the field you make the most money."
For those who need a quick refresher, sharecropping is a type of farming where tenants would rent and work a portion of land in return for a share of the crops. It became extremely popular in the US after the Civil War, as a way for white landowners to take advantage of freed slaves looking for work. Landowners were able to get away with paying the sharecroppers virtually nothing for hours of labor, while facing no legal retribution.
For 50 cents a day, Madie was picking cotton from 3 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"My sister — oh, lord — she looked at me at 11:30 (a.m.) or quarter to 12, [because] she wanted to stop and rest," Madie teased about her late sister, who eventually worked alongside Madie as a sharecropper as well. "She had a lunch break at 12, but she wanted to stop working at 11:30."