Migrant Photograph Collection (S4963)

ca. 1975-76

Historical Sketch

Mexican-Americans have been migrating to the Red River Valley since the late 1920s, primarily to work on the sugar beet farms during the summer weeding and the fall harvest. Since the introduction of mechanical cultivators and harvesters in the1950s, the need for field labor has declined, but the number of migrants has continued to grow. As a result, many Mexican-Americans have begun to settle permanently in Minnesota and North Dakota towns in the Valley.

In 1976, several students in a Latin-American history class began a project to document the activities of migrants in the Moorhead area. These students, under the direction of Dr. Dieter Berninger of Moorhead State University, began a video documentary of migrant life. Although the documentary was never completed, the project did produce 250 black and white photographs, and about eight minutes of video tape concerning migrant families, work in the fields, social services for migrants, and the migrant school program in Moorhead. These are the materials preserved in this collection.

Collection Description

The collection consists of 250 black and white photographs, sorted into several categories, and an eight minute color video tape, without sound. Because no notes were preserved, the families and individuals preserved in the photos are not identified. All materials are in excellent condition.


Box 1

  • Businesses Frequently Visited by Migrant Workers
  • Family Practice Center, University of North Dakota
  • Field Labor
  • Field Machinery
  • Hoe Preparation
  • Home Life
  • Meetings
  • Migrant Service Center
  • Migrant Summer School, Thomas Edison School, Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Vehicles
  • Video (Housed in S4868, Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association)