Cotton Pickin' Days Photoshoot at Sights & Sounds

From left to right, James Horton, Phyllis Smith, and Harold Michael Harvey. Photo Credit (c) 2020 Sharon Dowdell

Thanks to James Horton, curator at Sights and Sounds Black Cultural Museum and Expo for permitting us to use the museum as a backdrop for the photoshoot of Phyllis Smith’s forthcoming book, Cotton Pickin’ Days.

Smith is a poet. She started writing as a pre-teen about her life growing up in Fayetteville, Georgia, during the 1950s. Smith never stopped writing. She seldom shared her poems with the public, except for poetic tributes to people in the community who had transitioned. Soon Smith started getting requests to write poetic eulogies for members of the city. She read them during their homegoing services.

One day Smith walked into the offices at Cascade Publishing House with several notebooks filled with hand-written poems from her childhood. She was not certain of her talent or just what she had written in those notebooks many years ago.

“We readily saw her talent as a storyteller and put together a plan to get her published,” said Harold Michael Harvey, Publisher at Cascade Publishing House.

“Our goal is to help people like Smith add author after their name,” Harvey, the author of three books, added.

Sights and Sounds Black Cultural Museum and Expo is a fantastic collection of the cultural history of Blacks in America from before the Mayflower through the Obama Presidency. The artifacts, curated by James Horton, located inside the North Dekalb Mall in Decatur, Georgia.

“Sights and Sounds was the perfect place for this photoshoot. I knew we would find items relatable to the period Ms. Smith writes about in her poem,” Harvey said.

Cotton Pickin Days release date is March 1, 2020.


Harold Michael Harvey is the author of Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is a Past President of the Gate City Bar Association. He is the recipient of Gate City’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award, which he received for his pro bono representation of Black college students arrested during Freaknik celebrations in the mid to late 1990s. An avid public speaker contact him at


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Harold Michael Harvey is a Past President of The Gate City Bar Association and is the recipient of the Association’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award. He is the author of Paper Puzzle and Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System, and a two-time winner of Allvoices’ Political Pundit Prize. His work has appeared in Facing South, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Black Colleges Nines, and Medium.

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