Harvest of Shame (1960)

14 Feb
Director Fred W. Friendly
Producer David Lowe
Contributors Narrator and reporter Edward R. Murrow; CBS Productions
Length 54 minutes
B&W/Color B&W
UO Library Catalog description: Shows the degradation and exploitation of millions of migratory farm workers in the United States. Spokesmen for the groups present their views, both for and against the use of migratory workers under the conditions seen.
Call # Mc85
Genre Documentary
Rare Yes
Online http://youtu.be/yJTVF_dya7E
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition 2 reels: both good
Oregon-related No


Released a few days after Thanksgiving, 1960, Harvest of Shame is one of the most well known and important documentaries today. It focuses on the abuse of migrant farm works, and Fred W. Friendly (director) said it aimed “to shock the consciousness of the nation.” Harvest of Shame was narrated by the well known CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow, and produced by David Lowe, a colleague of Friendly and Murrow’s. Lowe said they chose to broadcast the film during the holiday season because:

“We felt that by scheduling the program the day after Thanksgiving, we could stress the fact that much of the food cooked for Thanksgiving throughout the country was picked by migratory workers. We hoped that the pictures of how these people live and work would shock the consciousness of the nation.”

The film was revisited in 2010 when CBS re-reported on migrant workers. The article can be found here.


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