Homeless? Starving? Cheer up! These Great Depression billboards told poor Americans how lucky they were

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1937

African-Americans displaced by the Great Ohio River Flood line up at a relief station in Louisville, Kentucky.

Image: Margaret Bourke-White/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

In January 1937, while covering the disastrous flooding of the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky for LIFE Magazine, Margaret Bourke-White captured an image that quickly became famous and eventually rose to become an icon of the Great Depression.

The photo features a simple but sharply ironic juxtaposition: African-American flood victims line up for relief below a billboard with a beaming white family proclaiming WORLD’S HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING. Read more…

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