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Missouri Farms: 1938

Missouri Farms: 1938

August 1938. Child studying in school. Southeast Missouri Farms, Missouri. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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The Joads

were "tractored off the land," too. (Although it was a Cat bulldozer that leveled their house and set them on the road to California.) I re-watched "The Grapes of Wrath" just last night; such an angry movie, much more angry, I think, than the book Steinbeck wrote.
Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

"Tractored off the land" ?

SEMO (Southeast Missouri to the uninitiated) stopped as a major cotton producer and the reasons for the mechanical cotton pickers (one of which my Great Uncle invented) fell because it no longer became competitive with other areas of the country. 'poor whites, and even poorer blacks' is pandering. Many of the poor whites were equally poor as the poor blacks. There was still a cadre of middle class blacks who wre part of the black community. I picked cotton along with others who had a "Cotton Vacation" from school. I always find it interesting when people with little knowledge speak as experts on a subject of which they know very little.

Tractored off the land

The Missouri Bootheel was historically a land of prosperous planters, poor whites, and poorer blacks. Eventually, mechanical cotton pickers would threaten to make the sharecropping system obsolete.

As the sharecroppers put it themselves, they were being "tractored off the land."

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