Appreciate modern life
The song “Dixie” was written in 1859 and was a favorite song of President Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves by executive order on Jan. 1,1863, with the Emancipation Proclamation. One line in the song is “I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten.” Slaves picked a lot of that cotton before 1863, but there were no slaves after 1863 and lots of cotton was picked by hand until about 1950 when machines became available to do the job.
The industrial revolution was in its infancy in the late 1800s and demand for cotton grew rapidly. Workers in the mills were working 12 hours or more 6 days a week under deplorable conditions and small children were hired to do jobs adults were too large to handle.
In 1882 the first cotton mill was started in Danville. Those were the days with no social security, food stamps, unemployment insurance, health care, minimum wage, forty hour work week, overtime, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, central heat, electricity, cars, etc. The first fair labor laws wouldn’t be passed until 1938.
When you look at social conditions in our country today, excluding the coronavirus, it makes you wonder what all the protesting is about. People think things are bad today. Try to imagine how it was in those days. Makes you wonder how people could sing “I wish I was in Dixie, away, away in Dixie Land. I’ll take my stand to live and die in Dixie.”
They must have appreciated something about life in those days. I think most people appreciate the life we have today. It’s just that the complainers get all the news coverage.
RAY F. LAWSON
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