Picking in High Cotton: A Family’s Remarkable Journey from Poverty to Prosperity


Shirley Robinson Sprinkles chose teaching as a career and pursued many paths in the education field throughout her life, including earning a Ph.D. in educational leadership at UT/ Austin. It has been a long journey from cotton patch poverty to the richness of life, financial success, and the esteem of colleagues and scholars. Shirley lives in Austin, Texas. In addition to writing books and essays, she contributes to schools and students through school board service. She is a devoted mother, grandmother, and wife. When people ask her, “What’s next?” Shirley’s favorite answer is, “I’m gonna keep picking til I get to the end of my row!”

Other books published by Shirley Robinson Sprinkles include:
From Dunbar to Destiny: One Woman’s Journey Through Desegregation and Beyond
Seven Essential Keys to Successful Single Parenting
Platitudes and Attitudes
Grandma’s Special Visit
Bill’s Balloon
Implementing a Complex Classroom Innovation: Process, Problems and Potential

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When Copply Robinson leaves the oppressive Jim Crow South in the 1940s, she finds herself working in the hot fields of Safford, Arizona, picking cotton with other migrants and with her frustrated, philandering husband. Although she forms close friendships with some of the pickers, her life feels thwarted and bleak. But, Copply knows things are not as hopeless as they seem because she has a plan.

One morning, while her husband is sleeping off a drunken binge, she packs up her two small children, grabs a wad of twenty dollar bills she has saved, and drives their car west to Tucson. Life there gets better for her; then it gets worse—forcing her to flee once again.

Picking in High Cotton is the true story of author Shirley Robinson Sprinkles’s mother, whose courageous fight to thrive motivates her to never accept poverty and destructive social norms. She is determined to change her destiny and that of her family at every opportunity. Hers is both a timely and a timeless story.

Part one of this book has been adapted to a screenplay titled, High Cotton.


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