Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Great Depression: From Farmer to Tramp

"1927 made $7000 in cotton. 1928 broke even. 1929 went in the hole. 1930 went in still deeper. 1931 lost everything. 1932 hit the road.”

The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929 and lasted until America's entry into World War II.

During an economic depression farmers usually remain economically stable, but during the Great Depression the U.S. not only experienced an economic crash, but also an environmental disaster known as the dust bowl. It destroyed croplands and sent farmers packing up to look for work, like the man and his family in this photograph.

According to Open Culture, "the Farm Security Administration took on the task of 'introducing America to Americans' through photography. The FSA hired Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and other artists to capture images of ordinary Americans, specifically poor farmers."

Many of the Farm Administration's photographs have been missing for decades, but recently a NYC library curator tracked them down, cataloged them, and created an online archive.

We often think -- even in this economic recession -- that things could never get as bad the Great Depression, which may or may not be true, but these people lived through hardships that, hopefully, we will never experience.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; what words would you use to describe some of these pictures? How would our society react to such a catastrophe today?


  1. This picture shows a family who is going through very hard time since they are going through the great depresion. You can see through the mother's face that she is worried. It may be bacuse they have 4 children and through those hard times people didnt have money, that may be the reason why she is looks worried. The children look like they are laughing but that is beacuse they dont really know what is going on. As we already know the great depressing was hard for Americans. Unemployments rates were really high it was really hard to find jobs. Money was not worth much either, it was hard to buy food for a whole family. If we were to have a great depression once again our society would panic. Who wouldn't? Our society is very different from many yrs ago while that happened. we are used to having many things and being able to buy them whenever we want. Adjusting to that sort of situation would be very difficult for us. I do not think we will reach that point because it happened once and thats why we record about it so we do not end up repeating the same catrastophe once again. We learn from our mistakes.

  2. I really love this black and white photo period. This picture is worth a thousand words, like hard-ship, lost, not knowing the future, need, and help for example. In this photo the mother looks terribly worried, the father looks worried for his children and his family. He wants to give them everything but he can't. The baby in the mother's arms has no idea what is going on which is a good thing; the baby does not need to know what is going on. The littlest toddler looks like he is having a great time with whatever is in his hand. The oldest boy toddler is very interested in the little boy and with what he is playing with. The girl is just smiling for the camera. Our society would be the worst in a great depression. We are too caught up in technology and we take too many things for advantage. I feel like a lot of us would go crazy in a great depression.

  3. Each individual has different ways of viewing a picture, interpreting its meaning and the area of attention they choose to analyze. Personally what I can see in this picture is family unity. If the article would of not stated that this was a picture of family during the great depression I would have not thought about so. Now being that I know this picture is depicting the great depression I can say that I do not really see depression in it, I see commitment. Commitment to move forward and aim to a better future. Commitment to each other to stay together and bring up the family the way they (the parents) were brought up or even better. I would also like to state that the family on the picture does not really seem as poor. Why? Because they all have clothes, not torn just dirty maybe and they are standing next to a mobile they probably own. In my opinion I think that our society will not know how to react to such a catastrophe because the people of today have a totally different mindset than the people during the great depression. I think that people's greed will get in the way of their thinking will not be able to focus on the needs of others but solely on of themselves.

  4. every time i look at pictures that were taken during the GReat Depression, i also feel sad for the people affected by the Dust Bowl. not only did people lose all of their things during the Depression, but victims of the Dust Bowl lost even more. The suffering of families desperate for work, with no belongings, and no money, its hard to look at people in poverty. you wish that the pictures were posed or fakes, but they are all real. rela people suffered through hardships. that everyone wishes never happened because of the hard impact.

  5. I think the photo says it all as what they say a photo depicts a thousand words. The great depression had caused millions of people to starve, business had closed which had resulted for most of the people to be jobless.

  6. I think i may use "real" to describe those pictures. If you just read the word description, you need to build a image in your mind which is based on your understanding of the word description. However, vary people will have vary understanding. So, the pictures will let us all know what it really was on earth during the Great Depression. The pictures will give us a real image instead of our own imagination.
    Actually, I do not know what actions the government really will take to react to such a catastrophe. Maybe the government should protect poor people first, not the rich man. I think Roosevelt did a very good job. The New Deal help America recover step by step.