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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Hot Sugar: 1942

Hot Sugar: 1942

January 1942. Guanica, Puerto Rico. "Burning a sugar cane field. This process destroys the leaves and makes the cane easier to harvest." Medium-format safety negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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Dirty War

Reminds me of northern Argentina during the 1970s while the military fought the leftist guerilla and it rained soot from the sugar cane harvest's burning fields.

Memories

Even in the 80s in the Rio Grande Valley; I remember charred bits of sugar cane leaves floating through the air. Don't know where the fields were or how far the wind carried the stuff.

Da Do Rum Rum

This was still a common practice in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, at least) in the early '60s. I remember a hair-raising nighttime taxi ride through the cane fields during which the taxi would stop periodically while a fire singed the cane by the side of the road. At the time, the cane was grown mostly to feed the needs of the Cruzan rum distillery. Rum was probably the end use of the Puerto Rican cane, too.

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