There probably aren't many adults who haven't seen this photo at some point in their education. It was taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression. This photo almost didn't happen, Lange was on her way home after a month long assignment, in fact, she drove on past this camp, but her gut told her to turn back. The sign read "Pea Pickers Camp", but all the pea plants had froze, there was no work for anyone there. This exhausted mother of SEVEN children was surviving on frozen vegetables from the fields around her, and birds the children would kill, she had just sold the tires on her car to buy food. The exchange between the mother and Lange was brief, but they both seemed to know these photos could be of help.
When Lange published her article she gave a face to a suffering nation. The authorities were notified and sent over 20,000 pounds of food to the Resettlement Administration.
Lange, Dorothea, "The Assignment I'll Never Forget: Migrant Mother," Popular Photography (February 1960); Curtis, James. Mind's Eye, Mind's Truth: FSA Photography Reconsidered. (1989).