Through The Lens: Copiah County Truck Farming
After the Civil War, Mississippi farmers struggled with their dependence on King Cotton. During this period, the price of cotton fell due to overproduction, a decrease in demand, and labor problems due to the demise of slavery. To break cotton’s hold, the modernization of various farming practices as well as crop diversification was advocated by agricultural organizations such as the Grange and the Famers’ Alliance.
Truck Farming – growing large crops of fruits or vegetables to be shipped to distant markets – proved to be an effective diversification effort, broadening the state’s agricultural economy and lowering the financial risk of many Mississippi farmers who had previously depended solely on the volatile cotton market. Beginning in Copiah County in 1874, farmers produced vegetables that could easily be trucked to shipping points and then transported by train to commercial markets in larger cities. As truck farming became a viable agricultural practice, other communities across Mississippi soon followed Copiah County’s lead.
At the turn of the century, photographer Luther M. Hamilton documented the changes truck farming brought to his community of Crystal Springs. Hamilton photographed trucks filled with produce waiting to be unloaded onto waiting trains, workers in tomato and cabbage fields, and many other scenes of people earning a living from the soil – without King Cotton. These photographs, now in the collection of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, provide a unique look at a changing community and a new direction for Mississippi agriculture.
“Through the Lens: Copiah County Truck Farming” Exhibit Specifications
Fourteen (14) panels: 22 1/2” x 19”
Photo panels include metal frames and hanging wire
One (1) shipping crate
Crate size: 126 lbs. 22” (h) x 25 1/4” (w) x 35 1/4” (l)
To learn more about the Traveling Exhibit Lending Policies and Procedures, the content of specific exhibits, or to book an exhibit, please contact:
Outreach Programs Coordinator
Museum Division, MDAH
P.O. Box 571
Jackson, MS 39205-0571