More Than One Story

SAF's exhibition of stories and photographs from farmworkers over the last 25 years is presented in the summer issue of Southern Cultures quarterly magazine, Inside/Outside.

This is more than one story. This is twenty-five years of narratives from farmworkers, mostly in the Carolinas, told in labor camp kitchens, on trailer porch stoops, and in small living rooms with fans whirring and children playing nearby.

There are stories of cultural celebration, of helping a sick co-worker, standing up to the crew leader, of wage theft and illness from pesticide exposure, of crossing the Rio Grande, of deportation threats. Stories of struggles and dreams, why people come and what they miss about home, what they like about farm work and what they want to change, how they carry on, and how they resist. These stories defy borders; they follow farmworkers from crop to crop, state to state, and country to country.

Student Action with Farmworkers’ interns and fellows collected these oral histories from 1992 to 2017. There’s more than one story of farmworkers in the southeast, more than one dream, more than one hope for change.

“HERE, YOU work more. Because [in Mexico] it’s different. Because if you’re doing your own thing, you get tired and you sit down over there in the shade, nobody is pressuring you. You do what you can do, and that’s it. If you get tired, you rest a little bit, and that’s it. You keep going for a little while. There are schedules for starting and leaving. You’re more pressured to work here. Right now, we start at 7:30, and we leave at six in the evening.”  
—Miguel, South Carolina farmworker, 2012