We’ve passed the summer equinox and farmer’s markets across the country are in full swing. Over the past few years Durham has become the center of a vibrant local food movement in North Carolina due to its proximity to rich agricultural lands. But those lands also come with a long history of agricultural labor and struggle: from plantation economies that depended on slaves, to share croppers, to today’s immigrant labor camps.
As I browsed the Duke Farmers Market‘s selections of tomatoes, greens, squash, and other locally grown produce (mmm, golden beets!) I reflected on the Archive for Human Rights‘ own farm labor related collections: The Student Action with Farmworkers Records. SAF, as they are called, works to improve the working conditions for farmworkers across the Southeast, the laborers who are the backbone of our agricultural industries. SAF documents and advocates for improved conditions for farmworkers and a more just agricultural system. Part of their work includes labor organizing and activism. These guys in the photos are among the protest ephemera in the SAF collection.
Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.