Plight of Migrant Farm Workers

During America’s Great Depression, migrant farm workers moved from place to place as they followed crop harvests.

Their vehicles frequently broke down while they were en route, causing even more problems since they had no funds to make repairs.

Dorothea Lange took this picture during May of 1937. At the time, she was working for the federal government’s Resettlement Administration (later known as the Farm Security Administration).

The Library of Congress, which maintains the original negative, provides this image description:

Three related drought refugee families stalled on the highway near Lordsburg, New Mexico. From farms near Claremore, Oklahoma. Have been working as migratory workers in Calfornia and Arizona, now trying to get to Roswell, New Mexico, for work chopping cotton. Have car trouble and pulled up alongside the highway.

“Would go back to Oklahoma but can’t get along [by making a living] there. Can’t feed the kids on what they give you (relief budget) and ain’t made a crop there you might say for five years. Only other work there is fifty cents a day wages and the farmers can’t pay it anyways.”

One of these families has lost two babies since they left their home in Oklahoma. The children, seventeen months and three years, died in the county hospital at Shafter California, from typhoid fever, resulting from unsanitary conditions in a labor camp.

These were, as Great-Depression survivors recall, "terrible times."

Click on the picture for a better view.

Media Credits

Image, described above, online via the Library of Congress. Public Domain.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Plight of Migrant Farm Workers" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 10, 2015. Sep 20, 2018.
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