The FSA Collection documents the living and working conditions of African Americans residing mostly in depressed rural and agricultural regions, primarily in the American South and border states, as well as some of the projects sponsored by the FSA to assist them, from 1935-1942. The collection consists of views of farmers, sharecroppers, and migrant workers; factory workers and service employees; their families; displaced persons, including evicted families and flood refugees from the Ohio and Mississippi River flood of 1937; housing and living conditions, including migrant camps; construction and resettlement projects; social and educational activities and religious gatherings; farm and plantation properties; rural towns and businesses.
The states most represented are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Depictions of other states, and of major urban areas aside from Chicago and Washington, D.C., are very limited.
Biographical/historical: The Farm Security Administration (1937-1942) was a federal government program that provided assistance to the rural poor and migrant agricultural workers during the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The program was created when its predecessor, the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), was moved to the Department of Agriculture. The program's photography project, formed in 1935 and led by photographer Roy E. Stryker (1935-1943), initially documented cash loan programs to farmers and community construction projects, but later focused on the lives of Southern sharecroppers, migratory agricultural workers in the Midwestern and Western states, and urban and rural conditions throughout the United States. The photography project, after becoming part of the Office of War Information (1942-1944), focused on domestic war mobilization efforts during World War II. The photography project ended in 1944 and the collection was transferred to the Library of Congress. In 1946, the FSA was succeeded by the Farmers Home Administration.