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Six Bits a Day: 1938

Six Bits a Day: 1938

June 1938. In Memphis, hundreds of colored laborers congregate near the bridge every morning at daylight in hopes of work chopping cotton on a plantation, where they are taken by truck. Reduced acreage has made employment scarce for this class of seasonal labor in all towns. "You can't live the commonest way on six bits a day. Not alone nor no way. A man like me can't get no foothold. It's a mighty tough old go. The people here in the morning are hungry, raggedy, but they don't make no hungry march." View full size. Photograph by Dorothea Lange.

 

Hard Life

The years of pain are so evident on these faces it's heartbreaking. The man in the foreground is particularly hardened. It's hard to imagine what they saw and experienced.

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