One-Armed Farmer Coming Back from the War Going Down to the Pasture

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
1988
Carpet, plastic, enamel, spray paint, industrial sealing compound, on wood
48 x 96 inches

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Here Dial addresses a number of issues that, though not exclusively black problems, are certainly faced by larger numbers of African Americans than by whites.

Here Dial addresses a number of issues that, though not exclusively black problems, are certainly faced by larger numbers of African Americans than by whites. For many years, the military has offered many minorities one of the only dependable alternatives to "life on the farm"—that is, to a life spent in agricultural poverty, since few minority people can afford to engage in successful agribusiness—but it comes with attendant risks to life and limb and may indeed, in the end, leave enlistees worse off than before. Says Dial, "He's a one-armed man coming back from the Army and going back to the pasture. The farmer has gone away to war and lost his arm. He comes home to his wife and back to his old job milking his cow, which he can't do with one hand. Needs another hand to hold the bucket. And his wife, she had a child, the child got lighter skin."