The Migrant Mother

external image woman-holding-baby_small.jpg


The images of this woman and her children have become the photographic icon of the Great Depression in America. The photographer, Dorothea Lange, had just completed a month-long photographic assignment and was driving back home in a wind-driven rain when she came upon a sign for the camp. Something urged her to postpone her journey home and enter the camp. She was immediately drawn to the woman and took a series of six shots - the only photos she took that day. The woman was the mother of seven children and on the brink of starvation. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her. After returning home, Lange ipresented the editor of the San Fransisco newspaper her photos. As a result, the government rushed a shipment of 20,000 lbs. of food to the camp.






external image 3b41800r.jpg
Quoted by the daughter of the "Migrant Mother"
"We were embarrassed by that picture. We didn't want people to know we were poor. But we are proud of the story behind the picture."
"I don't think my mother felt like she was lucky. She had a hard life. But she was proud of us kids and we never went hungry. And we were proud of her."



"I dunno what to do. I got to feed the fambly. What'm I gonna do with these here? I can't send 'em away. I don' know what to do. Take your plates an' go inside. I'll let 'em have what's lef'."
-Grapes of Wrath