Corn Shucking, Virginia, 1840s

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails next image

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

Image Reference

Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, The Story of My Life (Hartford, 1897), p. 337

Caption, " A plantation 'corn-schucking'--social meeting of slaves." In the preface to her book, Livermore indicates she had lived in Virginia for 3 years, "55 years ago." "The corn-shucking was a combination of labor and recreation. The slaves enjoyed the evening away from the quarters, meeting friends and sweethearts, drinking the cider or hard liquor, eating cakes and pies, telling tall stories and singing hilarious songs. . . . Corn-shucking probably produced more secular songs than any other kind of work. In order to finish the work of removing the husks from his corn, a planter would invite all of the slaves in the neighborhood to gather one night at his barn. The slaves received whiskey and a big meal in payment for their labor" (John W. Blassingame, The Slave Community [Oxford Univ. Press, 1979], pp. 117-18).