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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Ford Foundation: 1936

Ford Foundation: 1936

A one-room hut houses a family of nine in an open field between Camden and Bruceton, Tennessee, near the Tennessee River. The hut was built over the chassis of an abandoned Ford. Photograph by Carl Mydans, 1936. View full size.

 

Happy

Looks like the girl on the left is happy to be in the picture.

Poor

Arf arf! Too funny! Look at the white trash!

I know for a fact my family lived in this manner at the same time, about 150 miles east of where this was taken. I inherited feelings of shame, sadness and regret from my mother, as well as the strongest feeling of pride. I don't know anyone else who can identify and I feel ashamed because I don't represent them well enough. In comparison, I have done nothing and deserve nothing. Then again, I see the ignorance of people who have no clue what "poor" is and I wonder if it's worth it at all.

They had no choice

I believe it was mentioned that the Ford was abandoned. I'm supposing they had to use what was left of it.

Poverty

It is interesting that, when faced even with historical pictures of people living in poverty, a great many people can do nothing but make snobby comments.

These people could have been your grandparents. Or your great-gradparents.

There but for the grace of God go thee.

A Theory and a Thought

A quick calculation, and it's clear that NO WAY could nine people stay, much less "live" in the box atop the car frame!
I believe the photographer was referring to the small building just out of frame on the left.

[The photographer wrote the caption, and the caption says the hut is on the car. He's not saying they all piled in at once. The structure at left is the lean-to shown in the next photo down. - Dave]

This picture reminds me of stories my mom told about living in workers' cabins owned by the seafood factories in Biloxi, Ms.
Their cabin had a dirt floor, and NO DOOR. (The cabin had been walled in half, and the door belonged to the occupants in the other half.) Mom's family had to use the window to enter and leave!

...unimaginable today, but commonplace in the Great Depression...

Just a thought...

Cheap rent

On the weekends we fire her up and head into town for the hoe-down.

I wonder if they used the

I wonder if they used the car to keep the hut off of the ground so that they wouldn't be sleeping in mud when it rained.

Wow, white trash today

Wow, white trash today should see how good they have it!

FIRST MOBLE HOME--

FIRST MOBLE HOME--

Mobility

I wonder why they used the chassis in the first place. Maybe it was structurally sound, but then why not use the entire thing? Why leave the front half open? It certainly doesn't look like that motor was going to start again.

"How do I get to the Susquehanna Hat Company?"

Have you lived in a Ford Lately?

Now there's a tragi-comic moment if there ever was one.

 
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