Arthur Rothstein (American, 1915–1985)
printed later, gelatin silver print
9 1/2 x 13 in. (24.13 x 33.02 cm)
Gift, Daveed D. Frazier, MD Collection, 2017.48.14.
Employed by the Farm Security Administration, photojournalist Arthur Rothstein traveled to Gee’s Bend, Alabama, to capture the lifeways of the majority African American community during the Great Depression. While there, Rothstein photographed Artelia Bendolph gazing out of the window of her grandfather’s log cabin. In contrast to White America, the hardships of the Great Depression were not new for most African Americans, as they had managed over the generations to get by with very little. Artelia’s family’s economic struggles are reflected in the newspapering of the home’s interior, seen in the window opening. The newspapers convey messages of abundance – advertising commercial food and products – and is juxtaposed by the hardship faced by Artelia and her family. Images such as these often documented the harsh realities faced by African Americans in rural communities. However they do not reveal the resourcefulness and determined spirit of these communities.