What Beyoncé's 'Formation' might look like if it were set in the 1930s.

There is no better way to celebrate Black History Month than with historic photographs from an era long-gone ... and Beyoncé.

The photos are publicly available for the first time thanks to the recently digitized collection from the Farm Security Administration, which captured America on film from the mid-1930s to 1942. Along with other agencies' photos, the collection totals more than 170,000 pictures

The images below offer a rare glimpse into the lives of African-American workers and families. Many were employed as sharecroppers or tenant farmers, but landowners often kept these farmers in their debt, leaving many hardworking families poverty-stricken. Conditions worsened with the Great Depression, as African-American workers were hit especially hard. By 1932, nearly half were out of work. It was a bleak period in history, but it laid the groundwork for many of the labor movements and civil rights protests to come. 


Like these photographs, Beyoncé's latest single, "Formation," (written by Queen B and Swae Lee) perfectly captures a spirit that is strong, fearless, and unapologetically black. 

In the spirit of Black History Month, why not experience the two together?

"Y'all haters corny with that Illuminati mess."

Natchez, Mississippi, 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Paparazzi, catch my fly, and my cocky fresh."

Watching the Columbia-Navy football game in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo by John Vachon/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I'm so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin')."

Church Sunday in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1935. Photo by Ben Shahn/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"My daddy Alabama"

Reading classes in Gee's Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bama."

A sharecropper's home in Independence, Louisiana, 1939. Photo by Lee Russell/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I like my baby heir with baby hair and Afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils."

Lee County, Mississippi, 1935. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Earned all this money but they never take the country out me. "

Fuquay Springs, North Carolina, 1935. Photo by Arthur Rothstein/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I got hot sauce in my bag, swag."

Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I like corn breads and collard greens"

Washing greens in Belle Glade, Florida, 1941. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Oh, yes, you besta believe it."

Granville County, North Carolina, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I see it, I want it"

"I stunt, yellow-bone it."

A woman works at a factory in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo by Jack Delano/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I dream it."

"I work hard."

A woman teaches lessons in her home in Transylvania, Louisiana, 1939. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I grind till I own it."

Memphis, Tennessee, 1938. Photo by Lee Russell/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Sometimes I go off (I go off)"

Singing during the collection at a black church in Heard County, Georgia. Photo by Jack Delano/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I go hard (I go hard)"

A man removes seeds from a cotton gin in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Get what's mine (take what's mine)"

A man buys supplies from a mobile general store in Forrest City, Arkansas, 1938. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I'm a star (I'm a star)"

Students in Omar, West Virginia. Photo by Ben Shahn/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"'Cause I slay, slay"

"I slay, hey, I slay, OK"

Friends gather at a juke joint in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I slay, OK, all day, OK."

Unloading tobacco in Durham, North Carolina, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I slay, OK, I slay, OK."

Easter morning, Chicago. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"We gon' slay, slay"

The bar at the Palm Tavern in Chicago, 1941. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"We slay, OK."

Swimming in the fountain at Union Station in Washington, D.C., 1938. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"OK, ladies, now let's get in formation. 'Cause I slay."

National Youth Administration meeting in Chicago. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"OK, ladies, now let's get in formation. 'Cause I slay."

Fourth- and fifth-grade students in Georgia, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Walcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Prove to me you got some coordination."

Construction workers in Washington, D.C., 1941. Photo by John Collier/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I might get your song played on the radio station. 'Cause I slay."

A blind street musician performs in West Memphis, Arkansas, 1935. Photo by Ben Shahn/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I might get your song played on the radio station. 'Cause I slay."

John Dyson plays the accordion in Maryland, 1940. Photo by John Vachon/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"You might just be a black Bill Gates in the making. 'Cause I slay."

A farmer with his family and mule team in Flint River Hills, Georgia, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"I might just be a black Bill Gates in the making. 'Cause I slay."

A young girl works on a sewing project in Creek County, Oklahoma,1940. Photo by Russell Lee/U.S. Farm Security Administration.

"Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper."

A former slave in her home in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1941. Photo by Jack Delano/U.S. Farm Security Administration

Don't let Black History Month end without checking out the rest of these incredible photographs.

There are hundreds more where these came from, and you can access all of them for free courtesy of the New York Public Library. 

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less