Between 1936 and 1939, Lange and Taylor traveled extensively throughout the Jim Crow South, confronting a type of poverty and racial stratification that they — like many Americans — had never seen before. While Lange did not document specific acts of racial violence, her photographs and notes captured the subtle ways that white supremacy manifested in social and economic relations in rural communities, the endurance of plantation capitalism, and the deep racial hierarchies that structured day-to-day life.
Lange sought to document and expose all aspects of the racial caste system of the Jim Crow South. So, too, did she capture more quiet moments of interracial intimacy and camaraderie. Compared to other regions where she documented the impacts of farm mechanization and industrialization, her photographs in the South often showcased a world untouched by modern life and haunted by its past.
Portraits of the Jim Crow South
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be