Dust Bowl Families

In this picture, three related drought refugee families have stalled on the highway near Lordsburg, New Mexico. From farms near Claremore, Oklahoma, they have been working as migratory workers in Calfornia and Arizona and are now trying to get to Roswell, New Mexico for work chopping cotton. They have had car trouble and have pulled up alongside the highway. “Would go back to Oklahoma but can’t get along there. Can’t feed the kids on what they give you (relief budget) and ain’t made a crop there you might say for five years. Only other work there is fifty cents a day wages and the farmers can’t pay it anyways.” One of these families has lost two babies since they left their home in Oklahoma. The children, seventeen months and three years, died in the county hospital at Shafter California, from typhoid fever, resulting from unsanitary conditions in a labor camp.
Dorothea Lange photographed this scene in 1937.

Document Type: Photograph
Historical Event: New Mexico Role in New Deal
Sub Event: Depression Migration Patterns
Origin: Library of Congress
Date: May 1, 1937
Author: Dorothea Lange
Permission: Public Domain
Contributor: Tammie Torres
Albuquerque Historical Society

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