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11.6.3 All races serve the crops in California

4 photographic prints (one page). Photographs show four agricultural workers, each representing a different ethnic or racial group. Individual image titles: Filipinos working in pole peas; From Texas (white man); Pea picker from Texas (African American man); Future voter and his Mexican father (Mexican man holding his infant child).

Lange, Dorothea
Library of Congress

Dorothea Lange, photographer. All races serve the crops in California. California, 1935. Photograph.

Dorothea Lange, one of the most famous photographers who captured images of ordinary Americans during the Great Depression, created this collage, with the theme of "all races serve the crops." Who does she include in this image? What are the differences and similarities between the people in the four images? What claims about ordinary people does she make with this collage?

This themed collage of photos from Dorothea Lange depicts four male agricultural workers from different ethnic/racial groups working on California farms. The subjects include Filipino men picking peas, white and black farmers relocated from Texas, and a Mexican farmer holding up his son, whom the caption describes as a "future voter." Lange worked with the Farm Security Administration (a newly created federal agency that aimed to help struggling farmers) to document the impact of the Great Depression on different groups of Americans.

This source offers students an opportunity to consider the human face of farmworkers, many of whom came to the state as a result of the devastation of the Dust Bowl. The collection emphasizes how the ecological and financial devastation of the Great Depression affected people, particularly agricultural workers, from the many different ethnic and racial groups that called California home in the 1930s. These photos can be put into conversation with the framework's multiple considerations of systemic and explicit legal racism during the Depression. The photo of the Mexican father with his "future voter" son and the titular claim that "all races serve the crops" may allow students to consider the claims that Lange is making about who is Californian and American.

Series of four portrait-style photographs arranged as a collage

Captions on the photo, starting in upper-left:
Filipinos working in pole peas
from Texas
Pea picker from Texas
Future voter and his Mexican father

All races serve the crops in California