Jack Delano, Hinesville, Alabama, 1941
Jack Delano captured perhaps one of the most beautiful shots of a woman at work on her quilt, this image of an African American woman. While many migrant farmers were displaced and resettled due to the dust bowl and economic collapse, families near Hinesville living in three villages, Clyde, Taylors Creek, and Willie, were displaced when in 1940 the federal government acquired land to create Fort Stewart, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, during the build-up to the United States’ entry into World War 2. According to a Department of Agriculture estimate, more than 1,500 families were displaced by the camp’s construction, many likely African Americans like this woman quilting in her smokehouse. Once again, using deliberate composition—meat hanging on hooks, a stoic, dignified expression, the photo showcases American resiliency in the face of adversity. Keep in mind, this is Jim Crow Georgia. Many of the FSA photographers photographed African Americans who were not merely suffering from the Great Depression, but also from severe discrimination and persecution, presenting them with dignity and grace, even when the government had done little to integrate society or counter the injustices African Americans faced—including displacement by the building of Fort Stewart.