FSA COLLECTION: Dorothea Lange – “Memphis, Tennessee” (1938)

In Memphis, Tennessee hundreds of colored laborers congregated near the bridge every morning at daylight in hopes of work chopping cotton on a plantation. They are hauled to and from work on trucks. Reduced cotton acreage has made employment scarce for this class of seasonal labor in all towns. “You can’t live the commonest way on six bits 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”.

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