Steinbeck’s The Harvest Gypsies

A family from Oklahoma outside a makeshift dwelling in a growing settlement of lettuce workers on the outskirts of Salinas, California.

A family from Oklahoma outside a makeshift dwelling in a growing settlement of lettuce workers on the outskirts of Salinas, California. FSA photograph by Dorothea Lange, 1939, Library of Congress

Before he wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck was commissioned by The San Francisco News to write a series of ¬†articles on the migrant laborers of the Salinas Valley. The result, ‘The Harvest Gypsies” (1936) were published consecutively from October 5 to October 12, 1936. In 1938 the Simon J. Lubin Society published The Harvest Gypsies, with an added eighth chapter, in pamphlet form under the title, Their Blood is Strong. Steinbeck’s reportage is stark. The images seen in the Farm Security Administration’s photos bear out his every word.

John Steinbeck – The Harvest Gypsies by

 
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