1936 Yakima

We are working on the preservation program in Yakima, the place I grew up and my family landed after working the mines in Butte like so many other Irish immigrants. This post from September 9, 2014 goes with my thoughts these days.

I’m headed over to Yakima tomorrow via Chinook Pass on one of those late summer journeys that takes you into the riches of harvest time. Tonight I discovered riches of another kind, a trove of documentary photographs that capture a time of struggle and courage in our state. These are compelling photographs by Dorothea Lange, Athur Rothstein, and other documentarians of the New Deal.

If you wonder about the era of the Great Depression and how it shaped Washington State you will be spellbound by the black and white images in this data base created by Yale University and just opened to researchers.

Take a moment to look into the face of this beautiful young woman, poised in the soft light that washes the inside of the tent that is her home. She has migrated to the Yakima valley with her family, where the long harvest season of 1936 provides a meager means of support picking fruit and a glimmer of hope for a better future. She is surrounded by a simple open air kitchen and the most basic of utilitarian possessions , probably everything she and her family own . But there is no defeat or embarrassment in her gaze. She will make the future we live in here today in Washington State.



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