Migrant Mother 1936

This California farmworker, age 32, had just sold her tent and the tires off her car to buy food for her seven kids. The family was living on scavenged vegetables and wild birds. Working for the federal government, Dorothea Lange took pictures like this one to document how the Depression colluded with the Dust Bowl to ravage lives. Along with the writing of her economist husband, Paul Taylor, Lange’s work helped convince the public and the government of the need to help field hands. Lange later said that this woman, whose name she did not ask, “seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me.”

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