Photo Essay: Migrant Farmworkers in a California Town


8-19-09, 10:32 am

TAFT, CA - 12JUNE09 - Taft was once a speculator's boomtown, surrounded by a forest of oil wells, hotbed the state's burgeoning petroleum industry. Today it is a divided community, home to a growing farm worker population, who work in the fields of the southern San Joaquin Valley. Hundreds of families have migrated to Taft from the town of San Pablo Tijaltepec in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. These Mixtec migrants charge that they are not treated as welcome participants in Taft's town life. Meanwhile, families try to preserve the indigenous Mixtec culture they've brought with them, while working and sending money home to those who depend on remittances from the north to survive.

--David Bacon is the recipient of the C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008 for Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.