A Black-owned cotton farm, Bridgeforth Farms, has become a supplier for Target’s new collection of Black History Month shirts.
“This year, Black History Month is all about the Black team members, designers, visionaries and entrepreneurs behind our exclusive product assortment and the latest in our Black Beyond Measure marketing campaign,” Target said in a statement.
It added that a selection of tees is made in part with cotton sourced from Bridgeforth Farms, a fifth-generation Black family farm.
Bridgeforth Farms dates back to 1877 when it started with George Bridgeforth, Sr., a former slave. He started buying land in North Alabama following the Civil War to establish a farm with his wife, Jennie.
By 1900, the Bridgeforth family had grown to include nine children. Their first son, George Ruffin Bridgeforth, became the first Black student to attend Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1897 after first attending Talladega College. Their second son, Isaac “Ike” Bridgeforth, attended Tuskegee Institute during this time.
George Ruffin Bridgeforth went to work at the Tuskegee Institute in 1902 with Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. By 1910, he had become the largest Black landowner in Limestone County. He then founded the Southern Small Farm Land Company, which established the North Alabama farming community known as Beulahland. Isaac Bridgeforth returned home from Tuskegee to farm on land adjacent to his father’s holdings.
The Bridgeforth family continued to grow and by 1988, Darden Bridgeforth, son of Issac Bridgeforth, and his sons had made history as the largest cotton producers in the state of Alabama, raising more than 4,000 acres of cotton along with soybeans and corn.
Darden retired in 1990 and passed away six years later after handing over the farm duties to his sons. The farm is now run by their sons, some of whom returned from major cities like New York and Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, Bridgeforth Farm said it is elated to partner with Target. “We are so proud to announce our arrival at Target! It’s an honor for us to say that some of the BHM t-shirts have been made from cotton we raised. We’ve come a very long way to make this happen and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have during every step of the process!”