Fifty harvests have come and gone since Edward R. Murrow’s “Harvest of Shame” aired on CBS, shocking the nation’s conscience with its grim portrait of the conditions suffered by the migrant workers who tended and harvested America’s crops. Since that time the faces of the workers have changed—the impoverished African-American and white workers of Murrow’s day have given way to a population that is now almost exclusively Latino, mostly Mexican, and undocumented. Yet despite decades of legislative, legal, and regulatory reforms, and periodic media exposés, the essential features of migrant farm laborers’ abusive working and living conditions have changed little, if at all. Today, as in 1960, America’s migrant farmworkers toil endless hours for subpoverty wages under some of the most dangerous working conditions in the nation.
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