Today there is great concern among some of us about the deluge of undocumented immigrants at our southern border and the resettlement of these migrants throughout the land. This is nativist thinking in my opinion. These immigrants are refugees just as many of the “natives” ancestors were a long time ago. If you believe in nothing more than a market economy, forgetting all moral issues for a moment, these newcomers will be fueling our economy with the purchases they make in the future with everything from toothpaste to automobiles. All they need is a temporary helping hand. Remember that during the Great Depression many native born people were refugees in our own land. “The Migrant Camp“; California (August 1932).
Just another farm photo you say? I could not disagree more. Fred and Thelma cannot bear to watch as a piece of their farm equipment is hauled away on a flatbed truck. Look to the left of the car. This is Kansas during the Dust Bowl. The farm equipment appears to be a horse drawn plow or hay rake. I would argue that they are selling off pieces of their farm in order to pay for the necessities of life. Farms became unproductive and many farms were eventually abandoned as their owners moved to California and elsewhere. Normally I would object to the photographer’s shadow in this photo, but the significance of the photo outweighs any technical defects in my opinion. A very sad day indeed as we can see by the expressions on their faces.
“And So It Came To Pass“; Kansas (1933)
There is not much commentary one can add to “Despair“; Elkmont, Alabama (1933). In this case a picture is worth 1,000 words. Tragic times during the Great Depression. Tragic for many people. This is the type of photo often seen in the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers during the 1930s. But this photo is not one of them.
Just another dust bowl photo? Maybe, but previously unpublished ones are getting more difficult to find. This is the latest addition to our collection: “Dust Bowl: Black Sunday” taken on April 14, 1935 of course. Research indicates that the exact location is somewhere on the line that runs through Springfield, Colorado in Baca county thence through Boise City, Oklahoma in the strip and then through Dalhart, Texas in the panhandle.
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Just one great photo. The longer I look at it the more I appreciate it, and I see things that I missed earlier. Honestly, I did not see the man covered in mud bending down by the rear tire as if camouflaged. “Stuck in the Mud“; California, 1938.
We think that this photo, “Lady With A Broom“; Foley, Alabama c.1921 is similar to those taken by some of the great Farm Security Administration’s (FSA) photographers during the Great Depression. This rural image is representative of the work of Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee and possibly Jack Delano in our opinion. It is the intention of DPI to maintain their standard of excellence in photos we present to the public. Although the Great Depression impacted rural America perhaps to even a greater extent than urban centers, “Lady With A Broom” shows that a depression was already in Alabama before the Great one arrived in the 1930s.
Welcome to a brand new year! Worried about inflation? The time to worry about inflation is if it were to turn into hyperinflation such as seen in Weimar Germany following World War I. The opposite of inflation is deflation as we can see in the photo “The Coffee Shop“; U. S. c.1934 during the Great Depression. Lunch for 25 cents! But few people had the 25 cents. You don’t want to see that now do you? Then there was 25% unemployment. Today, everyone is hiring but many jobs have no applicants. Inflation? We can handle it!
A look at the struggle of Egyptian cotton workers during the Great Depression. The sack of cotton weighed 120 lbs. Workers were paid the equivalent of 10 cents/day. In today’s economy it does not sound like a living wage, but during the Great Depression salaries in the U.S. were only a few dollars/day. In that sense it was probably just a living wage for these cotton workers.
Clearly symbolic of the Great Depression. These two women are most likely mother and daughter as they share an uncommon genetic trait, cleft chins. What are they searching for? An uncertain road lies ahead.
“Far and Away“; U. S. c.1934
The Great Depression creates images of the “Dust Bowl”, migration, soup lines and many more especially those of images taken by the Farm Security Administration’s photographers in our minds. But how many of us think of the Jackrabbit Drives in Kansas where a population explosion of jackrabbits created havoc for farmers? See: https//www.kshs.org/kansapedia/jackrabbit-drives/12097.
“The Jackrabbit Drive“; Oakley, Kansas (1934)