Families Together

Making it in the Muck

The movement of migrant laborers was done first and foremost to provide for families.

For some families, the mother and children stayed at the shelters together while fathers worked picking crops or in canning facilities, if shifts were available.

For other families, mothers also went off to work while the children watched after themselves and depended on the makeshift communities in worker camps for assistance.

Older children also worked if necessary in order to provide enough for themselves and to aid the needs of the entire family.

Migrant worker cleaning her daughter's scalp: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Migrant worker cleaning her daughter's scalp: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC02700

Young woman packinghouse worker from Tennessee, trying to get the black muck, which causes an itchy rash and sores and scabs on scalp, out of her oldest child's hair. The water is from the dirty canal nearby. She has three other children. Belle Glade, Florida.

Migrant children workers: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Migrant children workers: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC18523

Children of migrant packinghouse workers, living in a "lean-to" made of pieces of rusty galvanized tin and burlap. They are left alone all day and often until three a.m. Both parents work when possible. Belle Glade, Florida.

Family of migrant agricultural workers: Canal Point, Florida (1939)

Family of migrant agricultural workers: Canal Point, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC02710

Migrant laborers' camp near Canal Point, Florida. In foreground is a bean hamper which they use to sit on and they call a "muck rocker." Some of them are from Missouri and Arkansas.

Family of migrant agricultural workers: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Family of migrant agricultural workers: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC02683

Migrant agricultural worker and his family: Canal Point, Florida (1939)

Migrant agricultural worker and his family: Canal Point, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC02699

Migrant mother, 32, has 11 children: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Migrant mother, 32, has 11 children: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC18526

Migrant laborer's wife and child. She is thirty-two years old has had eleven children.

Children of citrus workers: Winter Haven, Florida (1937)

Children of citrus workers: Winter Haven, Florida (1937)

Image Number: RC18528

Written on the door in the background: Bath Room.

Children of citrus workers in hallway of apartment house. Winter Haven, Florida.

Family of migrant workers having supper: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Family of migrant workers having supper: Belle Glade, Florida (1939)

Image Number: RC08994

Woman migrant packinghouse worker from Tennessee with four children and two relatives eating supper. Belle Glade, Florida.