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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dorothea Lange: Person County, North Carolina


The tobacco barn, a distinctive American architectural form. Note tobacco growing in field behind barn. Person County, North Carolina

Looking down a country road in Person County, North Carolina. Note light, sandy soil.

Father of sharecropper family. He is sixty-nine years old, has six acres of tobacco, has a large family. Heard in conversation on his porch, "Land is like folks. It gets tired and needs a rest." Person County, North Carolina

Negro tenant topping tobacco, Person County, North Carolina

Car belonging to Negro share tenant family. The mother said they were not running it because they did not have the money to buy tags. "I always say rations and clothes comes before riding. I can stay at home." Near Gordonton, North Carolina

Negro plowing corn. He is a tenant; raises mainly tobacco; has lived here for four years. The cornfield is grassy and poor. On dirt road from Highway 144. Person County, North Carolina. He is saying "You ain't looking for money, is you?"

Wife and child of young sharecropper in cornfield beside house. Hillside Farm, Person County, North Carolina

Young sharecropper and his first child. Hillside Farm. Person County, North Carolina

Home of tenant, Hillside Farm. Note lathe fence to protect flowers in yard. They have no privy and haul water. Sacks hanging on line are used to haul tobacco to market. Person County, North Carolina

Hillside Farm road leading from sharecropper's house back to the public road. Disc harrow rusting in field and tobacco pack house with log "ordering house" adjoining. Person County, North Carolina

White and Negro boys wrestling by side of road. Person County, North Carolina

Young farm boys, natives of North Carolina. Person County, North Carolina

Farm boy with his dog as companion ties out cow in pasture bordering the road. Person County, North Carolina

Mailbox and farm along country road in Person County, North Carolina

Construction detail of rail fence. Person County, North Carolina

Double log cabin of Negro share tenants who raise tobacco. Family of eight has been on this place six or seven years. Person County, North Carolina

Construction detail of double log cabin of Negro share tenants. The cowhide was hung there after being dried on a barn to be used as floor covering. Shelf shows churn, also bucket of water in which baby's bottle is kept cool. Person County, North Carolina

Porch of Negro tenant house, showing household equipment. Person County, North Carolina.

Tobacco barn. Person County, North Carolina. Piece of sheet iron on the left is used to cover the opening of the furnace when starting the fire

Tobacco barn ready for "putting in". Person County, North Carolina

The one-and-a-half story part of this house was built fifty to sixty years ago. The two-story part was built in 1900. Farm is owned by a woman whose husband died seventeen years ago. Person County, North Carolina

Story-and-a-half weatherboard house. Note chinaberry tree, common for shade. Note soil erosion in foreground. Note corner of tobacco field. Person County, North Carolina

Scarecrow on a newly cleared field with stumps near Roxboro, North Carolina

Hoe culture in the South. Poor white, North Carolina

Congregation entering church. Wheeley's Church. Person County, North Carolina

Services are over. Wheeley's Church. Gordonton, Person County, North Carolina

Congregation gathers after services to talk. Wheeley's Church. Gordonton, Person County, North Carolina

Negro Baptist church, Person County, North Carolina

Young North Carolinian in old Ford. He does not farm. "Works for wages." At Tuck's filling station. Person County, North Carolina

Photos by Dorothea Lange, July 1937, from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress




"Chesterfields satisfy"

"Land is like folks. It gets tired and needs a rest."

"I always say rations and clothes comes before riding. I can stay at home."


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, golden-crowned sparrow’s oh dear
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

using as little as possible,
in which analogous to

which is relation to system,
it follows, such that

grey white fog against invisible ridge,
wingspan of egret disappearing into it

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

#18--the woman on the porch looking off to her left, stoic as the pile of rocks underneath her, helping to hold everything up.

TC said...

"Chesterfields satisfy," for sure, quoth Dr Death, reaping the harvest of all those cancer sticks produced by poor people's toil.

Vassilis, I found that shot particularly arresting. Last winter our ancient weathered, dry-rotted, steepish front steps collapsed, and had to be replaced and then boosted-up by an impromptu jerry-rigged arrangement of joists, not much more sophisticated than the rather precarious-looking set-up in the picture.

One step, one day, one winter, one lifetime at a time... just trying to stay above the ground.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...



lightly, my good
man, all

ways looking up,
never down.

TC said...


Well, I do I look down, I'm afraid to say. And feel about for the nonexistent handrail, point the torch beam in the direction of intended descent, tap tentatively with one foot to see if the wobbly step will hold and...


The last time I had negotiated those steps successfully, deep in the night (this must have been two nights ago, though in the wreckage of dying civilizations, it's said, temporal moments elide into a sort of warped blur), I heard a faint gnawing sound, which was impossible to interpret as applause... shone the beam in that direction, and saw a large raccoon, holding a bagel (!), standing its ground in the motley brush. And staring at me quite boldly, with incandescent nocturnal eyes.

(Leaving out old bagels for the raccoons, multiple offenses, a serial violation of social engineering ordinance #410279.)