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The past wasn’t black and white, though we often imagine it that way. Thanks to the Library of Congress (and the Denver Post) for bringing maroon, green and yellow back into the picture of history.

Bound for Glory, a LOC exhibition from 2006, drew together 70 prints taken by photographers for the U.S. Farm Security Administration 1939 1943. Unlike the famous shots we associate with Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans, these are in color. A girl in Pie Town, New Mexico, squats beside a pink rose bush, a farmer brings a load of golden Colorado peaches from the orchard.

And what a difference those hues make. Suddenly rural America seems less hardscrabble and deprived than a place where all sorts of things are happening. There’s less irony and more humor, less sympathy and more energy.

The photo above, taken by Jack Delano, shows workers chopping cotton in Greene County, Georgia, 1941.

Thanks to Anne Lewis for alerting us to the show.

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