Dorothea LangeAmerican (Hoboken, New Jersey, 1895 - 1965, San Francisco, California)
J. R. Butler, President of Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, Memphis, Tennessee
During the Depression, Lange was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, the government aid agency commonly known as the FSA. She traveled across the country on assignment in the 1930s and 1940s, documenting the conditions under which poor farmers lived and worked.
The Southern Tenant Farmer's Union was formed in response to the exploitative practices of landowners in the 1930s. Its president, J. R. Butler, organized tenant farmers and sharecroppers to protest their inhumane treatment. Although he was repeatedly threatened by landowners, local businessmen, and unsympathetic government officials, Butler was ultimately successful in garnering attention for his cause through much-publicized strikes.
Wide-eyed and exhausted-looking, Butler's peculiar facial expression is made stranger by his shock of uncooperative hair.