MORRIS MUSEUM OF ART PERMANENT COLLECTION

"Weighing the Cotton" by Hal Alexander Courtney Morrison

Hal Alexander Courtney Morrison (c. 1850–1927)
Weighing the Cotton
1885–90
Oil on canvas
31½ x 45½ inches
Museum purchase; 1989.01.123

During the Reconstruction era after the Civil War, many freed African Americans and poor white farmers worked as sharecroppers. In this genre painting, a group of what is likely to be brothers are weighing their cotton crop. In the system of sharecropping, some of the crop would be sold to support the family, and the rest would be given to the landowner from whom they were renting the land. Since Morrison resided in Atlanta, it is likely that he came upon such a scene in his travels between Georgia and North Carolina and Florida during the summer and winter months.