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Robert McNeill

Spring Planting, from the project The Negro in Virginia
1938
gelatin silver print
9 3/8 x 7 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase

The position of the plowman precariously balanced on his rig with no distance between him and the viewer conveys the tenuous position of black farmers and sharecroppers in the South during the 1930s. McNeill's dignified image of a humble laborer was among a series of photographs he created for the 1940 publication, The Negro in Virginia, sponsored by the Works Progress Administration.