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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins
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on the land of the farmers that employed them when permitted to. Usually alongside of an irrigation ditch was the favorite place. They washed their clothes, washed the babies, washed the vegetables and everything else all in the same ditch.

With the depression there had naturally been a falling off in the demand for fresh vegetables from the farmers of California. People couldn't afford to buy as they had from those great truck farms which had shipped East by refrigerator train. There was therefore a consequent falling off of the amount of employment available for these wandering people. There was also an immediate depression of the price of labor. Wages were pushed down, down and down until they were almost nothing. They were getting to be practically nothing. I've forgotten the figure now, but that's in the files of the Department of Labor because we made a study of these wages. One of the people from the Bureau of Labor Statistics went out to gather as reliable information as we could. They were paid starvation wages, with no possibility of living on them.

To this day we don't know whether some troublemakers got in among them or not, as the farmers said. The farmers claimed that some “anarchists” got in among them. At any rate, a movement started where they would just sit down

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