Analysis Of 'Kentucky Flood' By Margaret Bourke-White

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The era that followed the Roaring Twenties was a time period that was filled with tragedy and desperation, more commonly known as the Great Depression. During the 1930s, the majority population of Americans suffered from the abrupt economic collapse in addition to multiple factors such as crop failure, dust bowls, and other natural causations. For past decades, the devastation has been told through journal entries, letters, and photographs. Each resource has the ability to recount the emotions and thoughts of those during the Great Depression. A perfect example that exhibits such an ability is a famous image titled the “Kentucky Flood” that was produced by a photographer named Margaret Bourke-White. Her photograph of a billboard and a group…show more content…
Bourke-White presents the idea of racism within America by providing the viewer with a contrasting image of impoverished African Americans in front of the billboard. Furthermore, by following the law of scientific racism, a form of “deductive reasoning” that determines the hierarchy of races, the viewer would understand that African Americans are considered socially inferior to Anglo Americans. Thus, through the photograph, America is displayed as a home where white Americans are able to live a prosperous life while the “inferior” race is deemed to poverty, therefore creating the image that America is racist. To continue on with that idea of America’s intolerance against the inferior race, the audience is bestowed with the appearance of African Americans awaiting for food. Furthermore, by being observant of the clothing and the objects being carried, one may note that the destitute people were in dire need of assistance. When thoroughly viewing the photograph, there is a slight difference in the article of clothing between the two images. The attire that a few people had on were similar to that of the family within the billboard but the majority of them had on clothing that most minority groups that was not as extravagant and contemporary as the fashion items during the time period, but rather partially analogous to the style. This keys into the assumption that the clothes the people were wearing were of lesser cost, thus showing a race being a subordinate of the other. Concurrently then, the two images provide a large contrast which creates a sense of irony because the message embodies the dream versus the reality. Specifically, the American dream is illustrated by the billboard while the reality is mirrored by the African

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