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Arts & Culture

Snapshots Capture Life in Depression-Era North Carolina

Roadside meeting with Durham County farmer. North Carolina. He gives road directions by drawing the dirt with a stick. July 1939
Dorothea Lange
/
Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-020259

During the Great Depression, the federal government sent photographers around the country to meet Americans and document their lives. Those photographers took some 170,000 photographs throughout the latter half of the 1930s and into the 194os. The images they captured are among the most iconic of the era.

There's a new way to browse the images by state and even by county. The site is called Photogrammer and it was created by a team at Yale University.

In North Carolina, photographers captured migrants passing through the state, sharecroppers harvesting cotton, workers in the tobacco warehouses and more. Take a look:

Farm hands. Threshing day near Durham, North Carolina. July 1936
Credit Dorothea Lange / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-009337
Farm hands on threshing day near Durham, North Carolina. July 1936

This old street car was converted into living quarters for family of four. Family born and raised in Fayetteville, but could not get a place to stay. Husband works at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Just outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina
Credit Jack Delano / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-043350
This old street car was converted into living quarters for family of four. Family born and raised in Fayetteville, but could not get a place to stay. Husband works at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Just outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina

Woman making 'chitlins' after hog-killing. Near Maxton, North Carolina. December 1938
Credit Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF33-030387
Woman making 'chitlins' after hog-killing. Near Maxton, North Carolina. December 1938
Native American children near Maxton, North Carolina. December 1938.
Credit Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-050656
Native American children near Maxton, North Carolina. December 1938.
Lincoln Market, Winston Salem, North Carolina, 1935.
Credit Walker Evans / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF33-009084
Lincoln Market, Winston Salem, North Carolina, 1935.

J.A. Johnson's oldest daughter picking cotton, Statesville, North Carolina. Johnson is a sharecropper who works about ten acres. He receives half the cotton, must pay for half the fertilizer. Landlord furnishes stock and tools. Oct. 1939.
Credit Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF33-009084
J.A. Johnson's oldest daughter picking cotton, Statesville, North Carolina. Johnson is a sharecropper who works about ten acres. He receives half the cotton, must pay for half the fertilizer. Landlord furnishes stock and tools. Oct. 1939.

Florida migrants studying road map before leaving Elizabeth City for Delaware to work in a cannery. July 1940.
Credit Jack Delano / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF33-020566
Florida migrants studying road map before leaving Elizabeth City for Delaware to work in a cannery. July 1940.

This photo was taken near Shawboro, North Carolina. The travelers are on their way to New Jersey, to pick potatoes. July 1940.
Credit Jack Delano / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-040841
This photo was taken near Shawboro, North Carolina. The travelers are on their way to New Jersey, to pick potatoes. July 1940.

H/t to KPLU's Quirksee.

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