This is a photograph of African-American cotton pickers in Georgia’s New South economy. Many of these workers lived on the property of white landowners and in many ways acted and lived in the same way as they had in Antebellum Georgia–often in the same slave shacks as their enslaved ancestors.
Between 1883 and 1892, photographer William E. Wilson documented the lives of sharecroppers and day-to-day life in Georgia through his photography. Wilson made his living doing portraits but he had a passion for documentary photography. This type of photography focuses on capturing the everyday. Unlike a posed portrait, these photographs show a more unstaged view of life in the Savannah area during the late 1880s and early 1890s.