When Cotton Was King, I Was The Crown Prince

Posted on May 17, 2013 | 0 comments

When Cotton Was King, I Was The Crown Prince

Title: When Cotton Was King, I Was The Crown Prince

In the 1940’s and early 1950’s, the economy of the Mid-south was based primarily on cotton, 40 acres and a mule. The livelihood of many, many people depended on the mule. Mules were created by breeding a male donkey with a female horse and could not reproduce. They were crossbred because mules were much stronger than donkeys and less excitable and easier to handle than horses.

In this print, Alice Moseley depicts the mule as pulling a wagon full of watermelons; giving a ride to several children, one of whom has slipped off the rear end; bringing ice to the cotton fields to refill water jugs; plowing the cotton; pulling a sorghum mill; pulling the fish wagon; and being in the midst of a sitdown strike. Mules were very versatile creatures.

Miss Alice’s husband, W. J. Moseley, worked at the Firestone plant in North Memphis and obtained their mules from the Memphis Humane Shelter, which was on his way home. Back then, mules would stray and be picked up just like stray dogs or cats are now.

Recalls Tim Moseley, “My dad always had a very large garden courtesy of his series of mules. Being from the humane shelter, many of the newly acquired mules were on the elderly side, and I remember several of them ending up feet sticking straight up in the air as they landed in the creek bed that ran through our property.”


Available print is 10×16 and will arrive unmatted in cardboard tube.

Original not currently part of Museum collection.

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