Film Review: Letter to a Georgia Mother

This film, made by the American Agricultural Workers’ Union and recently shown at Head Office, gives a shocking picture of America’s four million unorganised migrant workers, who travel up and down America following the crops, and eke out a miserable existence picking peaches or pulling potatoes.

Their periods of employment are irregular and their wages low. The accommodation provided by their employers is usually primitive, and often disgustingly inadequate. The film showed dozens of negro workers sleeping side-by-side in a two-roomed shack, and whole families who cook, sleep and live in tiny wretched tarpaper huts.

Of course, it is the Negroes or Puerto Ricans who are the worst-treated, but even the condition of the whites is not to be envied, as anyone who has read Grapes of Wrath will appreciate.

This kind of film provides a useful rebuff to the usual Hollywood effusion in praise of the good life that America offers its citizens, and there is surely a moral to be drawn from the fact that in “the land of the free” the workers who have the misfortune to be unorganised and unprotected are viciously exploited in appalling conditions.

Albert Ivimey