Plantation Overseer and His Field Hands, by Dorothea Lange

The photograph titled “Plantation Overseer and His Field Hands” was captured by the artist Dorothea Lange near Clarksdale, Mississippi. This image is a black and white photograph that embodies a historic era, depicting a group of African American men sitting and standing on the steps of a wooden building while a Caucasian man, presumably the overseer, dominates the foreground leaning against a car.

In the image, the overseer is wearing a hat, glasses, and a white sleeveless shirt. He has a watch on his left wrist and a cigar in his mouth. To his right, there’s a vintage car with a visible license plate. On the steps behind him, there are four African American men. The one standing at the top is also wearing a hat and appears to be looking into the distance. The others are sitting; two of them are wearing hats and the third is bareheaded, and they all seem to be looking at the camera. A sign for Coca-Cola hangs on the building above the men, and there’s a visible window with a wooden frame. The feeling of the image offers a glimpse into the past societal roles and social dynamics of the time.

Other Photographs from Dorothea Lange

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