In the 1930s, mothers wrote to the US president and the federal Children’s Bureau asking for support for their sick children. They rarely received help.
Photographers and writers hired by the US government presented the foodways of the South to a wide audience.
The Farm Security Administration had photographers fan out across the country to document agricultural conditions. But they brought back much more.
Working well outside their jurisdiction, the officers patrolled their state's borders against white migrants.
“The idea that the federal government would be providing emergency relief and emergency work was extraordinary,” one sociologist said. “And people liked it.”