Sep 5, 2007

Miners' Houses, Vicinity Birmingham, Alabama

Miners' Houses, Vicinity Birmingham, Alabama


Walker Evans

(American, 1903–1975)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 12.8 x 21.8 cm (5 1/16 x 8 9/16 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1991.243



In 1935 Evans, unemployed and broke, happily accepted work documenting rural and urban poverty for the Farm Security Administration. The modest homes of these miners were far more comfortable and had more conveniences, including electricity, than those of the sharecroppers he would photograph the following summer in Hale County, just 100 miles away. But some of the inhabitants were likely unemployed and receiving government assistance. The Depression ravaged coal mining and textile production, two of the state’s major industries, shuttering half of those companies by 1933. A year later, 40% of Birmingham residents were receiving some form of government aid.

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