Join us for a fascinating evening with the talented Kim Stringfellow to celebrate the opening of her photographic exhibition at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and the publication of her newest book, Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape. Ms. Stringfellow will speak about her work and will sign books.
Beyond the proliferation of big box chains, car dealerships, fast food joints, and the nameless sprawl located along California State Highway 62 the desert opens up and after signs of familiar habitation seem to fade from view, new signs of habitation appear: small, dusty cabins—mostly abandoned—scatter across the landscape. The majority of the existing shacks, historically found throughout the larger region known as the Morongo Basin, lie east of Twentynine Palms in outlying Wonder Valley.
The curious presence of these structures indicates that you are entering one of the remaining communities of “jackrabbit” homesteads left in the American West, the remaining physical evidence of former occupants who were some of the last to receive land from Uncle Sam for a nominal fee through the Small Tract Act of 1938.
This project is a visual examination of this historical and sociological phenomenon which is relevant to us now, too. While a great deal of energy is spent on limiting the growth of residential developments today, the government was once strongly promoting the growth and occupation of the wide open spaces in our country.
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