Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poor Black Girl

This picture was taken in 1937, and shows a poor black girl. Note that her home has no glass in the window, but only a wooden shutter. Also note that they are using newspaper to try and seal the cracks when the shutter is closed. I grew up in the 1960's and 1970's, and I can remember kids who would always want any cardboard boxes the school had. The kids took the cardboard home to reinforce and insulate their homes, which were primarily made of a few boards, tin, and cardboard for insulation. I would bet that if you looked hard enough, you could probably still find people living in conditions like this in this country.


  1. You dont have to look very hard. When I was a teenager we lived on the Apache Indian reservation for a while and people there still had dirt floors and NO doors...Im not THAT OLD...

  2. It is also worth noticing that the logs are chinked with mud/straw and not concrete or mortar.


  3. Between the US border and El Paso, Texas, is a community called Canotillo. Never have I seen such abject poverty and people living in lean-tos made from whatever materials they can scrounge. It's a shame that the US is, for the most part, a very prosperous country, and yet, so many people do without even the basic necessities (ie., electricity and running water).

  4. i grew up in TX, sonora, and then moved down to the valley. i thought that i knew something about poverty growing up amongst the colonias, but i had no idea, really.

    i moved to colorado 19 years ago.

    three years ago, i had a job contracting for the railroad (looking for steam engine era water wells), and i got to visit most of the west and the worst places of TX and LA.

    Plain Dealing, LA was striking to me from a poverty standpoint.

  5. Richmond, Kentucky has communities that are similar to those already described. My great-Uncle sold household goods out of his car to poor people.

    They paid whatever they could on their "accounts" when he made his weekly rounds. I believe that his paychecks went to cover most of those account balances while he extended more generous terms for payoffs.

    My great-Uncle made a meager living and helped many people have things they needed. No luxuries, only necessities.

  6. I'm not so sure she was poor. 1937 was deep into the depression, many people didn't even have homes. Her clothes appear clean and not ripped. She looks well fed. Those ole log cabins I've seen in BlueRidge area VA and southern Colo are actually cool in summer & really warm in winter with a fireplace. At least she had a roof over her head.

  7. I agree with the first poster, you don't have to look very hard. I worked for a governmental housing agency in Southside Virginia in the early 2000's. I saw a fair amount of this, mostly among the poor rural black. Newspaper "insulation" is still used, mostly to cut down on draft.