As a strong believer in the need for government intervention and support for struggling farmworkers, Lange sought to document how relief programs were (and were not) reaching those in need. Many of her photographs featured those seeking aid in rural areas, showcasing both the scale of the need and how the government implemented assistance programs in small towns.
Lange sought not only to document government assistance programs but also how farm communities organized to support one another through crisis — including mutual aid efforts, cooperative ventures, and community organizing. Of particular interest was the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, a first-of-its-kind interracial organization that helped sharecroppers and tenant farmers hit hard by the Depression. Union members worked together to fight evictions, demanding a more equitable share of the profits their labor produced. In addition to photographing union members, Lange tried to capture the vicious harassment and violence they faced.
Relief and Resistance
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