Block #11: Cotton Boll
Sponsored by: Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore
Located at the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES)
7 N. 4th Street, Denton, MD 21629
Painted by Caroline County Council of Arts Board Members.
August 8, 2013
This amazing and versatile crop played a very important role in the story of slavery. Some of the founding fathers thought the institution of slavery would slowly die out as the country grew in population. However, cotton was about to change the country’s landscape. In the early 1800s, cotton became the most important crop in the South. A large labor force was needed to work in the fields and related industry. But, the importation of slaves was outlawed in 1807.
As a result, a large numbers of slaves from Maryland and Virginia’s tobacco farms were sold to cotton plantation owners in the south. This caused the breakup of many African American families. The constant threat of being sold “down south” was a major factor in the decision to make a run for the Underground Railroad. Cotton revived the institution of slavery and tied African Americans to the South and the cotton fields for the next 150 years.