Pick a bale o’ cotton

Song of African American origin


We have taken the decision to remove this song from the Song Bank since information about its problematic history has come to light.

Although initially recorded by Leadbelly, Pick a bale o’ cotton (and the original song lyrics in particular, which contain multiple instances of racial slurs), has been criticised as being reminiscent of and reinforcing the false ‘happy slave’ narrative, and glorifying slavery in North American history. These associations make the song inappropriate to include in our resources.