Dorothea Lange’s photo on the right of an Oklahoma family struggling in California in 1939 was #009 of the images in my Eyes of the Great Depression series. In updating that post, I found more information taken from caption cards filed with other images.
Brawley, Imperial Valley. In Farm Security Administration (FSA) migratory labor camp. Family of mother, father and eleven children, originally from near Mangrum, Oklahoma, where he had been tenant farmer. Came to California in 1936 after the drought. Since then has been traveling from crop to crop in California, following the harvest. Six of the eleven children attend school wherever the family stops long enough. Five older children work along with the father and mother. February 23, two of the family have been lucky and “got a place” (a day’s work) in the peas on the Sinclair ranch. Father had earned about one dollar and seventy-three cents for ten-hour day. Oldest daughter had earned one dollar and twenty-five cents. From these earnings had to provide their transportation to the fields twenty miles away. Mother wants to return to Oklahoma, father unwilling.She says, “I want to go back to where we can live happy, live decent, and grow what we eat.” He says, “We can’t go the way I am now. We’ve got nothing in the world to farm with. I made my mistake when I came out here.”
Library of Congress images: