Cotton Rally, 1914



Cotton Rally, 1914


Cotton farmers
Agriculture and politics


Cotton farmers rally together to raise the price of cotton to 10 cents a pound.

Cotton Crisis of 1914: In 1914, Tuscaloosa and the rest of the south suffered severe economic shock. With the outbreak of World War I, the foreign market for cotton – usually two-thirds of the crop – disappeared. The war and the largest crop of cotton in history staggered the economy in the South.
The Board of Trade called “A Monster Mass Meeting of Citizens” at the courthouse in a campaign to boost the price of cotton through the buy-a-bale movement at 10 cents a pound. It was said that the program would boost the price of cotton, give an impetus to trade, relieve the money stringency and save hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tuscaloosa County.
At the same time, a call came out for a meeting in New Orleans on the cotton situation. Bankers, farmers, merchants and every other interest represented in the south were called to attend to help make definite and systematic plans for holding, warehousing, financing, marketing, minimum price and cutting the cotton acreage for 1915. Harvie Jordan, president of the Southern Cotton Association, said the south had to depend upon its own resources and cooperation to solve the cotton crisis.
All offices and stores were closed in time for the Tuscaloosa meeting. A parade, the first of its kind in the country, had a large motion picture company making a moving picture of the parade. Mrs. Ellen Peter Bryce represented the women of Tuscaloosa who attended in large numbers for relief of the situation. As a result of the local activity, at that point scarcely any cotton had been sold for less than 10 cents a pound and it was thought that the mass meeting would encourage farmers and businessmen not to sacrifice any cotton for less than 10 cents.
The cotton parade idea, originating in Tuscaloosa, was said to have swept the South. A smashing success, the parade featured farmers hauling cotton, prominent citizens driving drays and Judge Brandon spieling from the top of a bale. Many people agreed to buy bales of cotton, hoping to encourage and enable farmers to hold their cotton for better prices. Nationwide, more than a million bales of cotton were purchased and retired from the market to be held until the market price went to ten cents or higher.
From the Tuscaloosa News, September 21, 2014


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Betty Slowe (Description)






Tuscaloosa County (AL)

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