Document 80: Elayne DeLott to Benjamin and Rosa DeLott, Batesville, Mississippi, 2 April 1965, Elaine DeLott Baker Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

Introduction

   This is another of my half-true letters to my parents. The true part is the part about the co-op and my interest in becoming a photographer. I had started photographing during my work in Canton, encouraged by the women in Literacy House who helped me think about photography as an organizing tool. The untrue part is about me swimming and sun bathing in the state park--no such thing.

dear mama and daddy,

    i am still in batesville working on the farm coop. what it means in terms of the work i do is that a few hundred farmers have decided not to contract with the man they have been selling their okra to because the price was so low. they decided to try and find their own market. at that point i came in. i had to help them get a charter to operate in mississippi. then they applied for a government loan which is pending. then i helped them adopt bylaws to run the organization. i was most interested in this, to see if i could help them structure the organization democratically, so that it would not be run by a few men. then i went trying to find a market for their crop. we haven't been able to get a contract with any company like frozen foods, but we have had an offer from a chicago broker to handle the crop on the open market in chicago on consignment. I am writing uncle sam to ask him for any hints on things brokers might try to do or should do. [handwritten] please forward the letter.

i get to jackson about once a week for a few days for rest and reading. there is also a state park around where i can go on sunny days to swim and sunbathe. altogether it is a nice life. i should be in batesville about three more weeks. after i finish here i will probably take a week in jackson to rest up and make up my mind what i want to do. i would probably like to take a week or two to learn how to print and develop pictures. it is a kind of a trade. i am becoming a photographer of sorts. anyway, i have taken alot of pictures here, but i have to develop them, and learn that part. i speak to my sister every week or two, and she sounds fine. i would like to get home in may for a few weeks, but i'll have to see how that fits in.

love,
[Signed]
elayne

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