The Black Okies by Matt Black

Photo journalist, Matt Black, creates a rich project that documents life in rural Central Valley California. Freedom Village Allensworth, CA is one of the places he documents. 

These photographs document a disappearing group of black sharecroppers who migrated to California’s San Joaquin Valley over a half century ago. Unlike their white counterparts — the “Okies” of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath — the story of these migrants has gone largely untold.

Today, just a handful of surviving migrants and their descendants still live in the Valley, scattered in remote communities built amid the cotton fields. These photographs chronicle daily life in these disappearing communities, and document this forgotten chapter of American rural life.
— Matt Black (website)
I grew up in the Valley, started photography there, and I came to realize pretty early on that circling the globe with nothing really to say about what I was seeing was not going to be my thing. I felt like the last thing the world needed was another photographer chasing headlines, and I knew this other place.
— Matt Black

To learn more about Black and The Black Okies Project, read this interview with Columbia Visuals. Also make sure to see the complete series here.