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Blog #4: Life in Alabama, 1941

We see a house with a lot of people in front of it (maybe living together). There is farmland behind it. The house has a roof, no door, and one window. We notice their clothes first: they look a little worn and dirty, but still put together.
This photo shows a group of people who could be a family (the title says “tenant family”), all standing in front of a house. There are farming tools (a plow, rope, etc.) around them. The objects look like they are put away: some a
re hanging on the walls of the house, and the plow is off to the side. The people are arranged loosely: five of the adults are standing on the porch, one is carrying a small child and walking, and a baby is playing/dancing in the yard.The physical setting is outside a house surrounded by farmland. The title of the photograph says it was taken near Greensboro, Alabama.

I think this was made to create a record of how people lived. The photographer, Jack Delano, said, “To do justice to the subject has always been my main concern. Light, color, texture and so on are, to me, important only as they contribute to the honest portrayal of what is in front of the camera, not as ends in themselves.” Some African-American tenant farmers are living a day of normal life in this picture.

Americans who didn’t live in the rural South were the audience for this image; the photographer wanted them to see & understand life in that part of the country, and perhaps understand that African-Americans lived life like everyone else. Segregation might have made it difficult for people to realize that during that time.

Published inPre-AP ELA I

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