At his second inaugural address in 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” This president was attuned to the people who had little, not to the rich who had it all. Due to the reforms, relief, and public projects he initiated during his first presidential term—enlightened progress known as the New Deal—the plight of the poor was brought into the foreground. This was because photographers, too, were part of the deal. In an attempt to educate millions about the Depression’s toll on fellow citizens, the likes of Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, Ben Shahn, and Dorothea Lange were sent to capture images of rural life and its challenges. What they brought back—heartbreak, hunger, grief—is the subject of this online exhibition. —E.C.
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