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3.1.5 Inez Flores, Sunkist packing assembly line

A row of women and one man stand at their assembly line stations in a Sunkist orange packing facility. Each member of the assembly line stands near a numbered Sunkist Oranges crate. A large piece of artwork hangs on the wall behind the workers.
1939
Photographic Print
Inez Flores, Sunkist packing assembly line, 1939. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library of the Claremont Colleges.

This photo shows the inside of a packing house, where laborers carefully packed oranges in crates to ship to market. The people working here learned how to work very fast, selecting and packing oranges for many hours a day. On the back of this photo is the sentence that we see below (written in Spanish by Inez Florez to her mother):

Junio 16, 1939

Mama aqui le mando este retrato de el empaque en donde trabajamos.

June 16, 1939

Mama, here is a picture of the packinghouse where we work.

What does this sentence tell you about why Inez lived in this region?

In some packing houses, laborers were paid by how many crates they prepared per day. We can see here that many of the workers are women, from Mexico directly or of Mexican American heritage. The orange groves of Southern California are not far from the border of Mexico and have long offered agricultural work to people who move into the region.