Stationery -- Post Card
The photograph "Memphis Day Laborers" was taken by Dorothea Lange in June of 1938. During the Great Depression, Lange worked for the Farm Resettlement Administration which later became the Farm Security Administration. These agencies were among the Depression era government programs that provided jobs and pay checks for those who would otherwise have neither. The photographers working for the FRA and FSA were given the task of documenting the living conditions of the poor in rural areas and on farmlands and then of photographing the improvements created by the agencies. However, Walker Evans, another photographer employed by the Farm Resettlement Administration, felt that the photographs should be "pure record not propaganda." This photograph may be viewed on the Library of Congress Web site at http://www.loc.gov/shop/index.php?action=cCatalog.showSubCategory&cid=23&scid=155&page=0 under "People and Culture: The Great Depression". Because these photographs were created as works-for -hire for government agencies, they are in the public domain. "Memphis Day Laborers" captures two of the hundreds of African-American workers who congregated daily at dawn in the hope of being hired to harvest cotton. In the 1920s, unregulated speculation resulted in an oversupply of agricultural products. The U.S. took many steps to decrease supply and stabilize declining prices, including paying subsidies to farmers to not to grow crops on “land bank” fields. That subsidy and others are still paid to farmers and large corporations who buy farm land for investment, speculating that urban development will increase the land’s resale price. However, in the 1930s, the reduction in planted acres left large numbers of seasonal farm workers unemployed. One of the men in the photograph reportedly told Lange: "You can't live the commonest way on six bits [75 cents] a day. Not alone nor no way. A man like me can't get no foothold. It's a mighty tough old go. The people here in the morning are hungry, raggedy, but they don't make no hungry march." The design is available on a number of products at Grand Old Values http://www.zazzle.com/GrandOldValues under "Workers Are Worthy of Their Hire."