Photos of Refugees through History
Many of the refugees featured in these photos would now be called “internally displaced people.” For example, the flood “refugees” of the Great Depression in the United States. We might also call some of them “homeless” or even, “enemy combatants.” These photos are from the Library of Congress’s vast collection of photographs. They span from U.S. / Indian relations in the 1800s to the displaced of World War II. During this time many of these families were uprooted with them having to move around a lot which meant that it was hard to track where they ended up back then. Luckily with today’s technology not only are we able to see what happened we can also search for family members on websites like Genealogy Bank to connect the dots and reunite distant families. These pictures show the stark reality of the time and what families had to do to survive together, it is no wonder that many got displaced and had to split up for the sake of work to help feed their families. The resilience of these people shows how strong they were to go through this and still be able to function and have their bloodlines carry on throughout history. Whilst we may not be in the same times as back then it goes to show how anybody, no matter where they are from, can become a refugee.
The captions are original, so they reflect the thinking of the photographer at the time. The above photo is by Arthur Rothstein, the caption reads, “Drought refugees from North Dakota, 1936.” Photos like these were commissioned by the U.S. Government. Others in the slideshow below were taken by missionaries or travelers.