"They are proud, strong people--patient, uncomplaining, intelligent. They want first of all to work, to have a home for their families, to educate their children." ~Sanora Babb, social worker
Discuss PBS’s The Dust Bowl, airing November 18th and 19th. Check local listings. Pre-order on DVD/Blu-ray here.
|Sanora Babb and her boss, Tom Collins, help hang laundry at a farmers' camp|
Out of the dust of this Great Depression emerged some independent, bright, hard-working career women. Women out in the field rolling up their sleeves trying to help when careers just weren't fashionable. Two such working women were Sanora Babb, a social worker (though later well known as a writer), and Dorothea Lange, a photographer for the state of California. The Dust Bowl will profile these two women tonight.
Sanora Babb didn't attend school until she was eleven years old, but graduated valedictorian of her class. During the Dust Bowl, she took a job with the Farm Security Administration, and in addition to helping set up migrant camps, traveled around to families providing assistance and resources for food, medical assistance, housing and education. She was just 30 years old when she took the job. Sanora Babb's notes on what she experienced were borrowed by John Steinbeck for his great novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Dorothea Lange also worked for the government, hired by California to photograph the hardships of the Dust Bowl. Her famous Migrant Mother photograph has come to epitomize the Great Depression. Neither Lange nor the family pictured was paid for the photo, as it belonged to the state of California.