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Americus: 1937

Americus: 1937

July 1937. "Thirteen-year old sharecropper boy near Americus, Georgia." Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange. View full size.


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Brings back memories.

That boy looks like my brother Bill.

Hard work

My grandfather used to tell tales of walking all day behind one of these bottom plows, all day, one row at the time. There are still very many of these one-row plows stored away and forgotten sitting under barns all over Georgia to this day.

Today we have air conditioned cabs and 10+ row plows that can do in less than an hour what it would probably take this boy the better part of a week to do.

From what I can make out it looks like cotton he's plowing.

Is it 100% real

Certain aspects of the clothes, appearance of the subject, the pose, all these items together just make me feel this is a fabricated picture. They did do those things even back then.

[Click here, take a look at the 5,000 or so photos in this series and judge for yourself. - Dave]


Dave, this comment isn't really meant to be posted, but I want to thank you for not posting every comment that's submitted. As I'm sure you've found by now, just a simple photograph of a young black sharecropper will bring all sorts of racist comments. And who needs that?

[No such comments for this photo. - Dave]

Thanks for the great blog. It's one of my favorites. By the way, I'm live in New Orleans, so I especially enjoy the pictures of old New Orleans.

My grandfather used a plow like this.

He was so young, the handles would smack him in the head if he hit a rock. Think about that.

There is nothing to say

Just look into that face.

A powerful photo

Seventeen in 1941, I wonder if this boy would or could have enlisted. It looks like he's been working that plow for quite some years, and would be ready to move on, given any sort of chance; though he was possibly the family breadwinner.


His clothes are falling off, but he looks so proud. Great picture.

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