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Lucille Burroughs, daughter of a cotton sharecropper.
Hale County, Alabama

This photograph was used on the book cover of Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.

In this activity, you will meet one of the curators at the Library of Congress and examine photographs taken by Farm Security Administration photographers during the 1930s.

1. Go to the Website and read the article Meet the Curator. Prints and Photographs Curator, Beverly Brannan, shares her expertise and great insight into the photographs of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and Office of War Information (OWI).

2. From pea picking to cotton picking, migrant workers searched for work. Examine two of the photographs that depict the life of farm workers during this era using the What Do You See Guide. Click on the photograph or text that will take you to the bibliographic record and a larger image. One of the unique features of the FSA collection is the ability to display adjacent images. Take advantage of this feature. It will often lead to more photographs of the same individuals that will provide a greater depth of information.

1. The English teacher, via PowerPoint, will show the students seven photographs: (1) Black blizzard over Prowers Co., Colorado, 1937. (Western History Collection, University of Oklahoma); (2) Dust Storm in Baca County, Colorado (Library of Congress) (3) Aftermath of dust storm in Colorado (Library of Congress) (4) Dust storm approaching Lubbock, Texas (Library of Congress) (5) Dust storm approaching Elkhart, Kansas in May 1937 (Library of Congress) (6) Farmer and sons walking in the face of a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma (Library of Congress) (7) An abandoned farm. Cimarron County, Oklahoma (Library of Congress)

2. By way of journaling, students will be asked to answer to the best of their ability: What is happening in these photographs? When do you think these photographs were taken? Why? What geographical area(s) is captured in these photographs?

3. To culminate this activity, students will discuss their findings. This can be in class or via an online discussion forum.


Updated January 6, 2009
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