In Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, people like to tell a story about how in the middle of the summer, it used to snow. The white flakes would swirl around and stick to your hair and your car and your lawn. It was all over the place.
This wasn’t snow, though. It was cotton, floating out of the town’s seven cotton mills. This was before air conditioning was commonplace, and the factories would open their windows to let a breeze in.
Acree Bell Lassiter, 89, who now lives just outside the town, remembers those days well. “My daddy was a sharecropper,” she explains.