Migrant workers in Michigan – 1940 photographs of a largely invisible population

Since hand labor is still necessary for the production of the blemish-free fruits and vegetables that consumers demand, migrant workers shift from place to place picking fruits and vegetables to feed a hungry nation. Although invisible to most people, the presence of migrant farm workers in many rural communities throughout the nation is undeniable.

Today, between 1 and 3 million migrant farm workers leave their homes every year to plant, cultivate, harvest, and pack fruits, vegetables and nuts in the U.S

With the added advantage of a car or owning a car or truck, they could travel greater distances. The photographs below reveal the condition of their lives in 1940, after the Great Depression while they picked fruits in Michigan.

 Migrant fruit worker and child camped with fifteen other families along roadside in Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit worker and child camped with fifteen other families along roadside in Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit workers during slack season in between cherries and berries. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant fruit workers during slack season in between cherries and berries. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit workers from Arkansas. They live in tent with three children. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant fruit workers from Arkansas. They live in tent with three children. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Wife and child of migrant fruit worker in their tent home. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Wife and child of migrant fruit worker in their tent home. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Camp of migrant fruit workers in field on outskirts of town. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Camp of migrant fruit workers in field on outskirts of town. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit worker making biscuits in her tent home. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant fruit worker making biscuits in her tent home. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit workers from Louisiana fixing flat tire along the road. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant fruit workers from Louisiana fixing flat tire along the road. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Sleeping quarters in old barn occupied by migrant fruit workers. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Sleeping quarters in old barn occupied by migrant fruit workers. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant woman from Arkansas in cherry pickers camp. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant woman from Arkansas in cherry pickers camp. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant girl fixing her sister’s hair. Roadside camp of fruit worker. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant girl fixing her sister's hair. Roadside camp of fruit worker. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant son picking cherries, Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant son picking cherries, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Grading cherries in packing plant. Berrien County, Michigan. These women are wives of migrant fruit pickers 1940Grading cherries in packing plant. Berrien County, Michigan. These women are wives of migrant fruit pickers 1940

Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 19407Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

6Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan

Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 19405 Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 19404Migrant girls working in cherry canning plant, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit workers. Berrien County, Michigan. The cherries were picked for their own use 1940Migrant fruit workers. Berrien County, Michigan. The cherries were picked for their own use 1940

Migrant child in front of tent home, Berrien County, MichiganMigrant child in front of tent home, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrants getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrants getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940 2

 

Migrants getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrants getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

 Migrant fruit worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Family of migrants from Arkansas ready to move to new work location. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Family of migrants from Arkansas ready to move to new work location. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Family of migrant fruit worker about to move on in search of work. Berrien County, Michigan 1940Family of migrant fruit worker about to move on in search of work. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Migrant fruit worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, MichiganMigrant fruit worker getting car ready to move on in search for work, Berrien County, Michigan

Migrant mother taking a picture of the family before moving on to new work location.

Berrien County, Michigan 1940Migrant mother taking a picture of the family before moving on to new work location. Berrien County, Michigan 1940

Check out these books by author Donna R. Causey

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Bibb County, Alabama

Filled with drama, suspense, humor, and romance, DISCORDANCE continues the family saga from the Tapestry of Love series with the children of Mary Dixon who married Thomas Cottingham.

Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me

All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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