Farm Workers at the Bottom
California farm workers lived in substandard housing, in labor camps, mobile trailers, and sometimes on the banks of a river. With bracero labor removing half or more of the jobs from California’s factory farms in the years from 1957 to 1965, California resident farm workers, legal and illegal, faced a life in poorly constructed labor shacks as they followed the crop harvests or found rents for permanent homes too high. During these years, resident workers came from many parts of the country, the state and from Mexico, Central America and the Philippines. Many workers, black and white, came from the South following the trail opened during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s when John Steinbeck wrote his famous book Grapes of Wrath and when Dorothea Lange photographed the migrants. Because of the seasonal nature of agricultural labor, the lack of unemployment benefits and the hardships of migrating with the crops, breadlines and soup kitchens arose in many towns in the central valley of California to help keep people alive. Rich growers contributed to the soup kitchens as a way to keep farm workers available without paying them or housing them in times when there was little or no work. The photos in this gallery show the diversity of people who worked in California agriculture and the homes they lived in. Buy or license these photos.
About the Harvey Richards Media Archive: The Harvey Richards Media Archive contains a treasure of images of the political and social justice upheavals of the 1960s on the west coast and of the devastating impact of capitalist resource exploitation in western forests, and mines among other subjects. All of his 22 films are available for streaming, downloading and as DVDs. The interest and demand for his images has continued to grow along with the interest in the legacy of the 1960’s political and cultural upsurge. Estuary Press is the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive video and photo image collections.
About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way by Nina Serrano and Heart Suite, a trilogy of three books of poetry by Nina Serrano. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of the social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit estuarypress.com for more details.
MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; email@example.com