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motto and play
My friends,  this is a long entertaining play that I wrote.  You may need to divide your time in reading it or you may want to read to the end.    I have an intermission.  If you would like to stop there or at any time and go to my other posts or pages, please do so.
The purpose of this play that I wrote is to entertain and to bring you “close” to a company I have loved since the 1960’s because Levi Strauss & Co. fitted my dad’s 47- foot cowboy with their 501 original jeans.   ENJOY THE PLAY.
theater at West Texas University

 

INTRODUCTION of the theater program.

Play’s Long Title– How Judy and Maggie  Relate the work of slaves chopping cotton to how Levi Strauss integrated factories with Black Americans long before the Civil Right’s Act of the 1960’s.

Play’s short Title-Levi plays a part in Black American History Concerning Slaves.

Act 1

Judy and Maggie learn about the role and work of the slave in the U. S.

slave-cabin-440349_640

A Restored slave cabin.  Laura Plantation near Vacherie, Louisiana.

Ray

This is a story about how Judy learned a little surprise about chopping cotton.   Her history class would benefit by researching how Levi Strauss, maker of 501 jeans for men and other styles of fashion did his part to symbolically free the black American by giving him his civil rights.

Relating her experience in the small town in Oklahoma, her students would realize the importance of their research.

slaves-in-the-field

Abby, Ella. “Slavery.” Emaze. Contributor public page.  www.emaze.com/slavery

Author of Play

According to what I have been told throughout the years in my life, the Wikipedia well expresses slavery, especially those in the field, is this manner.

Field slaves usually worked in the fields from sunrise to sundown, while being monitored by an overseer. The Overseer

was there to make sure that slaves did not slow down or cease their field work until the day was over.

Wikipedia contributors, “Field slaves in the United States.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.  4 Aug. 2016. Web. Nov. 23, 2016

The first part of this play takes place in a little town and a cotton field in Oklahoma.   The dialogue begins with two high school history teachers; friends who live in Dallas.

Open little theater

Ray— 

This is the stage in the late 1950’s that was used in this play. I may include it in other places to remind you that it is a play. It starts with two friends talking about their teaching jobs at the middle school nearby.  They are in Judy’s home relaxing after a long day of teaching.   Maggie lives nearby, and it is their habit to drink coffee and talk about their students and their history lessons.

But this ‘day’ would prove to be distinctive for both Maggie and Judy.  It was their lesson in history that would not be forgotten.

MaggieI am still elated that the kids are excited to learn about the cotton manufacturing plants.”

Judy” I am on the same lesson plan.”

Maggie I concentrate more on the cotton manufacturing process.”

Judy  “They just learned today in my class about all the products that can be made with cotton.   There are a lot of products and information the Story of cotton shows  When we came to the part about jeans, they all laughed.”

Maggie— “They said The Jingle, did they not?”

                  Pat,  Pat                                                                                                                                          clap,                                                                                                                                 snap  to  the, snap to the rhythm,  pat– pat 

         Judy “Here we go now–“                                                                                                                                                                                         RHYTHMtalk the talk

         Judy–“Find me jeans.”         

 

Maggie—“Jeans for me too?”

          Judy—“For you jeans?”

 Maggie—“501 Levi jeans?”

          Judy “Find me Levi jeans too, please”

 Maggie “501 Levi jeans for you too?”

 

Row, David, “Lesson, Songs, Ideas.”    Make Moments Matter.  Educational Teacher’s Guide,  Web. 24 Sept. 2016  “clicking fingers to the beat of the RHYTHM”                    

      Judy“Find me jeans too, please.”snapping finger

Maggie“501 Levi jeans for men?”

       Judy“Find me 501 Levi original jeans and tall & big original fit jeans

Maggie“Find me jeans too, please?

 

Row, David, “Lesson, Songs, Ideas.”    Make Moments Matter.  Educational Teacher’s Guide,  Web. 24 Sept. 2016  “clicking fingers to the beat of the RHYTHM”            

Weagley, Vance. “How to Snap Your Fingers.” The 11 Most Unnecessary ‘How To’ Guides on the Web.”   Feb.2009. www.cracked.com/article_17018_the 11-most-unnecessary-how-to guides.

Ray

Judy and Maggie discuss their trip to Oklahoma to visit Maggie’s family.  They both looked forward to visiting relatives and having fun at the Jute joint owned by Maggie’s aunt.  Maggie went often and Judy was happy to visit there.

Maggie went often and Judy was pleased to be invited

fun at the juke joint

Biafra, Jello. “Feature: History of the Juke Joint.”   WordPress Blog post.  Rock and Roll Junkie.  June 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2016

MaggieMy grandma’s stories will make you cry and laugh too.   Do you know why the slave was called a lazy coon in my family when they were slaves?”
wpba5d3557_05_06-hookworm

Picture of hookworms>>Walsh, Michael. “Hookworm.” Infection Landscapes. Other Infectious Diseases and Microbe sites. web. 13 Feb. 2012. Accessed Nov. 23, 2016. http://www.infectionlandscapes.org/2012/02/hookworm.html#uds-search-results

Maggie—“ According to the article about “Hookworms” caused the slave to be protein and iron deficient; not to mention the hard work involved working in the field all day.

The slave did not wear shoes and this is where the slave most likely got the infectious disease.  The slaves were not lazy since they worked in the field.    And then had to take care of responsibilities upon return home from the field.”

Judy “I agree.  I did not know about hookworms being responsible for the slave’s image of laziness that prevailed in the Civil War times. That is another research item for my students.”

Ray

While staying with Maggie’s aunt Dot, Judy learned how to cook tripe.

Judy—  “What is it you are cooking?   Can I help?”                                               

Dot  “Mmm?  No there isn’t anything to do here?  Do you like tripe?”

Judy “Ugh?   Not sure.  What is tripe?  How do you cook tripe?”

                                                                             Dot—

“Tripe is just the lining of a cow’s stomach.  I am cleaning it; prepare tripegetting rid of the fat.  After that, I will put it in the pot on the stove and simmer it for about 2 1/2 hours.  I am cooking it for my ‘no good husband’.  You can have some tripe too or you can eat the chicken saved from last night.

Image from Spain  Lastras, Javier.  “Tripe.”  Blogspot.  Flickr.  8 Jan. 2010. Accessed Nov. 23, 2016.  www.flickr.com/photos/jlastras/4259276417  

Judy– Well, this time, I will eat the chicken.”  

 

After eating we all took a short nap and then walked to the Jute joint.  It became quite lively later on in the evening but I loved listening and dancing to the soul music.  Everyone had fun!!

The next few days, we talked with Maggie’s family.   Grandma talked about the days she was a slave.

Ray

Friday morning, everyone got up early to go to the farm to chop cotton.  Judy and Maggie were asked to help with the work.

JudyOf course I would love to go, but I do not know how to pick cotton.”

Maggie  “Don’t worry about that.  I will give you a garden hoe and show you how to chop cotton.  We will start at 5:00 in the morning.  And  I’ll have a hat for you to wear, but make sure you put on your jeans.”

Judy  

Soon we stopped beside the little track of a road, and I noticed there was no cotton that I could see.   Where is the cotton I asked in surprise.

Maggie—“Oh I am sorry,  We are going to chop cotton.  It makes it so that there will be more room for all the cotton, I guess.   Now here we have your garden hoe that you can use.”

 

(I do not know where this picture came from but it was a free image.)

Ray

Judy was surprised.    After meeting the other friends of Maggie and finished loading the extra supplies to the farmhouse, it was time to chop cotton.

INTERMISSION

{Go and relax for a while if you are tired of reading.  I hope you have enjoyed the play so far.  You may even want to check out my blogs or the pages to my website.  Comment too.}

Visitors, please continue at your own pace and email me at  judy@findmejeans.com.  I only use the email to let my visitors learn about a new post or Website that I have written.   If you are ready, please go to the second act.

Act 2

Judy’s time in the cotton field with Maggie in Oklahoma.   Levi Strauss & Co. integrate their factories and hire  Black Americans long before the Civil Rights Act on the 1960s.

MaggieWe are going to start on this side and go on down this row to the end. Let me show you how.”  

JudyThe rows seemed long to me but I was ready to start.

2178266091_a47da3cf35_zchopping-cotton

Wolcott, Marion Post, Photographer. “Bayou Bourbeau Plantation.”  Gallery by Christie. Library of Commerce.  circa 1940. accessed Nov. 24, 2016. https://www.flickr.com/photos/christie4679/galleries/72157623356053553/                

Judy

The plants and the weeds looked all the same.   Maggie demonstrated the chopping of cotton for me once again.  I started on my row and looked down to the end.  

It did not seem that far.  I was going pretty fast, but the others were doing it fairly fast too.  A little later, I started to slow down to an unsteady pace.  It was getting unbelievably wretched.

I was getting a more sweaty.  By the time we had reached the end of the row to go back, we all drank a lot of water first.

I thought it was a little too hot to continue, but everyone had started back down the row, and so did I.

About halfway down, or so I thought, my face was starting to be copious with tears of sweat.  My vision was blurred and  I was dizzy and did not complain, but I did slow down a lot.

I had heard a person commenting that the day was a scorcher.  Today there was a new meaning of the word, scorcher.

I looked up and glanced down at the end of my row.   Hot snot!!   It was just too far!  Sweat was pouring down my face like heavy, angry rain.  I heard some people singing.  Can’t remember a note they sang now.

 

Maggie notice me stumbling and talking to myself.  She gave me a rag to wipe my face.   I looked around for a water jug, but apparently, no one had one.

Water, water, water was in my thoughts.  It was at the end of the line, or was it?   Was I in a green desert?

You can see in this picture how hard I was working!

woman sweating and drinking water

Averkamp, Stephanie. “What is Sweat Made Of?” Fitness for Weight Loss, copyright 2015.  Accessed Dec. 17, 2016

To make a long story short, I did not think I could have finished.  My back hurt because you had to chop hard to get the weeds dug out and the garden hoe I used was too short.

Besides that, it was just too hot to work.  Water, water. Water—I was slowing down and was way behind the others who were joking and zipping on down.  Someone noticed me and told Maggie. 

The man said that  ‘I was in low cotton’ today and then she helped me into the truck that was parked in the shade.  I was glad.  When I got back, I took a long swig of water (and poured some on my face).  My T-Shirt was soaked.  When Maggie got back, we just took the truck on back to the farmhouse.

Then we took her car home.   But first, she went to the house to thank the woman who had cooked some beans and rice.  She smiled so kindly.

Judy“I am sorry I did not finish my row.”

Maggie“That is okay.  You are not experienced in working in the sweltering heat. They will work for a few more hours and will be stopping before it gets too hot.  Probably around noon.  {You got to be kidding, I thought!!!}    “Everyone will take a nap, and leave early evening to work the fields again. They will stop when it gets too dark to see.”  

Judy What does it mean, ‘she’s living in low cotton’?”

Maggie“It means that you are just having a bad day.”   

“in low cotton.” McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. 2002. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 8 Nov. 2016 http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+low+cotton


Judy
I have thought about that morning several times in my life.   Yes!  I was living in low cotton.  But I wanted to go back someday to try picking cotton once again.  I felt a little sad knowing how the slaves must have felt like having to do the arduous work in the field all day without letup. How could anyone call a slave—lazy?
Yes!  I would have a lot to say to my students in my history class and to teach it in the direction where my students would get a better understanding on how the slave really must have felt by chopping and picking cotton.  

I had also learned how Levi Strauss, the maker of Levi 501 jeans, had his sewing factories integrated before the Civil Rights Act was in place.   The following is an account that happened in The Civil Rights Movement on the 1960’s.   It shows how Levi Strauss was one of the first to integrate his factories.

          Levi Strauss and Co.’s innovations in workplace, practices and social responsibility led the way to corporate

          America throughout much of the 20th century.  For example, the company’s commitment to equal employment

          opportunities diversity predated the U.S. Civil Rights movement of federally mandated desegregation by two 

          decades.   Levi  Strauss and Co. opened integrated factories in California in the 1940’s.     In 1960, to supply a

          growing need for jeans,  the company expanded production to towns in the Southern United States.  As a pre-

          condition to opening manufacturing plants, the company insisted that the workforce was to be integrated from

          day one, which flew in the face of established regional norms.   The company encountered fierce community

          resistance, but eventually provided and set an example for other employers to follow.

  
                     Strauss, Levi & Co.  “Original for 150 years: Story of Levi Strauss.”  PRNews Release.  01 May 2003.  Accessed Dec. 1, 2016.

Judy–continues.  In researching Levi Strauss & Company, I learned their issues of desegregation, equal rights, sustainability, and other important social events were topics my student would find relevant and engrossing.  

Their example being first in many social awareness issues gives evidence that the icon, Levi Strauss, maker of the first 501 Levi jeans for men, is still, in spirit, with the same example of his business acuity, honesty, and hard work

He was generous with his charity and in fact. he was known for his philanthropy.   The Levi Strauss & Co has also donated lots of money to various charities with the real idea of helping.  

And when the history lesson comes to the turbulent times of the 1950’s and the 1960’s there will be a variety of research findings.  

Individuals and companies did their share of the issues of those nervous times and sometimes violent times.  But I know that my experience with chopping cotton and relating it to the slaves will perk up and magnify their interest.

My students loved the 47-foot cowboy who Levi Strauss fitted with Levi jeans in 1960.  The next project will involve the production of the jeans from cotton fields to the distribution of the final product-Levi denim jeans.

The picture is owned by Angelica Paez.  Visit her on facebook and Ipernity.  You can see her works on Y Scrapatorium.   I am grateful for her generosity and loving concern for me.  Her artwork probably began as a young child, but she has been doing a particular style of art for twenty years.  I met her on a website called Ipernity. 

This story play is dedicated to Levi Strauss, Angelica Paez, and Tracey Panek of Levi Strauss & Co. from me, the writer, Judy Kingsberry and my dad’s cowboy seen here on this page, the 47-foot cowboy.
49 foot cowboy statue

THE END OF STORY Of the Drama written by Judy.

Please leave any comments or questions here.  Judy feels everyone is important.  That is the reason my motto is, “Everyone has a Story.” What is your story?   Are any of you familiar with chopping or picking cotton my hand?

If you had a company, what would your values be in the making of your product?  Please, I would like for you to give me feedback and critique about this story.   I would like to hear from all of you.

Maybe you can share a few Southern expressions or idioms of your own.  Perhaps, you may have a story to tell too.  You are my readers and hopefully, by reading this play and the page, 501 jeans, you will understand my love for 501 Levi original fit jeans.

Thank you!!   email comments, questions, and/or request to judy@findmejeans.com   Just leaving a comment is fine too.   Judy, owner of the Website, https://findmejeans.com   The title of my Website is 501 Levi original and tall & big original fit jeans.

If you leave this site, please remember that the big cowboy says, “Y’all come back when ya feel like it!  Here?”

 

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