Library of Congress: Bound for Glory — America in Color, 1939-1943 (thanks to Dan and Angi for sharing this link.
I love these pictures as they give a glimpse into ordinary life for folks at a interesting point in history, at the last days of the Great Depression (which honestly lingered into the 40’s for those in rural America) and into World War II. The pictures are compelling for both their color (the eye-popping color photography, similiar to that of National Geographics in the 40’s and 50’s) but also for what the photographer shot, the kind of things that most people at that time would have thought was unremarkable, ordinary or even ugly.
I guess part of my feelings towards these pictures is one of nostalgia, for a time when communities still stood together in solidarity and when love quite literally was what folks lived on (because there wasn’t much else). Of course those times were bad too, maybe even worse than today — the lynchings of African-Americans had ended (I think the last lynching in Oklahoma was in the 1930’s) but Jim Crow still was alive and well… and of course at about this time was when Japanese-Americans were being sent to the interment camps and war was waging with incredible ferocity. I guess that is what is so strange to me, in some ways things are so much better today, but in other ways things are so much worse. But I also think maybe these pictures help us to remember than even in dark times, there is still a lot of good in this world.