You can describe Dee Dotson as Mr. Rural America. He has lived 97 wonderful years by managing God’s natural resources and supplying families with locally grown vegetables throughout central Mississippi. Mr. Dotson is universally loved by everyone because of his unique personality and radiant smile. Dee’s humble beginning started five years after the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1923 on the Dotson Family Farm, located in Choctaw County, MS. Dee learned the art of work under the tutelage of his parents, grandparents, and the community’s leadership. At the tender age of six years old, he learned how to plow with a mule, under the watchful eyes of his father. Learning the art of plowing provided a gateway for others manly chores to be perform on the farm, including driving wagons, leading the middle buster team and carrying a 50-pound bag of fertilizer on each shoulder to supply the planter. This enduring work helped propel Dee Dotson through a period of unkindness towards African Americans in the deep south. As the author of this article, I promised my editor to keep this commentary below 450 words. However, conveying Dee’s experiences and legacy required more than the stated limit. Dee’s life encompasses seventeen U. S. presidents, Wall Street crashing in 1929, the reported hanging of 3000 African Americans (AA), the 1930’s Dust Bowl, World War II, Jackie Robinson and the integration of Pro-baseball, the Korean War, the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, America’s 200th birthday, the first AA president, and many other historical events. Through all the past events above and his personal circumstances, Mr. Dotson maintained his love for his family and growing vegetables, to help develop healthy families.
Most farmers around the state of Mississippi are just beginning to cultivate and plant their gardens due, to the excessive amount of rain received in the first four months of 2020. According to Allen McReynolds, Cooperative’s Business Management Specialist, “Weather conditions have hampered most farmers from planting. However, Dee’s impeccable skills of growing vegetables shined through under these adverse weather conditions. In fact, Mr. Dee started harvesting turnips and mustard greens on March 30, 2020. Currently he has collard greens, mature white potatoes and onions ready to be harvested.” Allen estimated Dee’s pole beans will be ready to pick in the second week of May. Indeed, Mr. Dee Dotson is an incredible farmer and family man.
Willie Dotson, the youngest son of Dee, indicated “On an average day, my Pops spends upwards of 10 hours working in the garden, and around the family farm at 97. Pops is always on the move, and his life centers around working to provide for his family, and the community.” Willie affectionately calls his dad (Pops). We, as his family, appreciate his enthusiasm for creating a fruitful legacy for the next generation.”
Dee’s weekly itinerary is filled with community activities including attending church. Dee serves as an usher and sings in the male chorus at Union Chapel M.B. Church in Greensboro, MS. Bennie Edwards, Chairman of the Deacon Board said, “we are extremely fortunate to have Mr. Dee Dotson as a member of our church. He is a shining star for us to emulate.” Additionally, Dee is a founding member of the Winston County Self Help Cooperative (1985). In my closing, Mr. Dee Dotson, “we convey love and appreciation for you being an exceptional individual who inspires others to excel. Your leadership skills are leading America through these dark days of uncertainties. We know in 97 years of living; you have weathered an abundance of storms. Therefore, we need your guidance more today than ever before in our life.”
Mr. Dee Dotson, better known as Mr. Rural America, we salute and love you!
Written by Frank Taylor