While travelling on a side road just off Highway 61 we came across a cotton gin. I’d been wanting to photograph some cotton bales and they had plenty in the yard. We pulled into the yard. It was clear from the noises and the cars in the yard this was an operating gin. I figured I’d better go to the office and ask permission.

“Hello ma’am.” I said to the lady behind the desk. “Would it be alright if I photographed the cotton bales outside. You see I’m from New England and, well, we’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Well of course you can. But don’t get in the way. They’re working out there. “

“Come to think of it I’m not busy right now and you folks from up north always want to see this. Y’all want a tour of the gin?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Y’all go get your wife or whatever and get right back in here.”

Well that’s what goes on at a cotton gin. All that machinery only runs about 3 months out of the year. Carolyn was quite proud of how well they tracked the cotton from field to the cotton mill. She also pointed out several times that they pay time and a half. At peak harvest season they’ll run a 12-15 hour shift. “They can make a lot of money working here. That’s why our workers come back year after year.”

“A lot of folks have a bad impression of Mississippi. But it’s not like it was years ago. Everybody’s equal now. More folks should come here and see how it is.”