Sunday, April 21, 2013

The story of The Migrant Mother

“Migrant Mother” was one of thousands of pictures Dorothea Lange took on assignment for the federal government, documenting the poverty of the Dust Bowl. Before it had that iconic title, the 1936 photo was captioned “Destitute peapickers in California.” But this was the one that stuck, coming to symbolize all those suffering in the Great Depression. Later, Lange would rage, “People think I haven’t made anything else!”
As you all know, I am a huge fan of NPR and rarely listen to anything else on my radio. I watch a little morning tv while I'm having coffee and then it's NPR all day until the evening news and the tv goes on again. I listened to the story behind this iconic photograph this morning on Studio 360 and then listened to the podcast again on my laptop while I was unloading the dishwasher. It's very interesting in case you want to tune in when you have 9 minutes to spare -- or you can just read the article. Podcast and article at There is also a slideshow with 5 more views of this migrant worker's camp featuring Florence Thompson and her family.
This photo never fails to move me. It has become the symbol of hard times but has been exploited by the advertising industry to sell products from perfume to luggage. That should make you want to listen and I hope you will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this tip, Rosemary!