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Photos: Depression era Texas BBQ through the eyes of legendary FSA photographers

I was recently researching some historic photos when I ran across the Library of Congress website for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. Initially created in 1935 as part of the New Deal, the FSA was an effort during the Depression to document and combat American rural poverty. The FSA photo collection houses some of the most famous photographs in history, including Dorthea Lange’s migrant mother photo and Arthur Rothstein’s Oklahoma dust bowl photo. Other legendary FSA photojournalists included Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans. I was immediately curious if there were any Texas BBQ photos.…
 - 12/29/2016
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Posse members react to Clyde Biggins’ BBQ

There is no shortage of opinions on the Texas BBQ Posse. Often we differ among ourselves. That wasn’t the case when we ate lunch last week at Clyde Biggins’ house. We all agreed that the former Dallas BBQ King, trying to make a comeback after nearly 17 years in prison, can still cook. Here are comments from Posse members there: Michael Ainsworth: Took me back to a different time, when it was just a bunch of friends getting together for food and fun. It’s not re-creatable. It just is. Chris Wilkins: What a great setting for a Friday afternoon BBQ…
 - 06/26/2012
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Clyde is back, cooking some of the best BBQ in Dallas, but you can’t buy it

Sometimes, the only place to start is at the beginning. In early January 2010, a large manilla envelope came to me in the mail from the federal prison in Fort Worth. A reader commented on a story I had written for The Dallas Morning News about the Posse’s very first barbecue tour, to the Central Texas BBQ heartland. “It’s all good,” the reader wrote. “‘But’ have you really tasted the best barbecue in Texas?” The reader said his name was Clyde Biggins and that he once owned “Clyde’s Old Fashion Hickory Smoked Barbecue” on Westmoreland Road in Dallas. “‘Note,'” Biggins…
 - 06/25/2012
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Once last shot: FSA photographer Russell Lee and the 1940 Pie City Fair

I wanted to share one last batch of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photos shot by Russell Lee. These were shot during a free community BBQ at the Pie Town (NM) Fair in 1940. As a photojournalism student at the University of Missouri in the early 1980s, I was exposed to his work along with fellow FSA staffers including Dorthea Lange, Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans. Outside of Life magazine in its heyday, this has to be the most talented photo staff ever assembled. Their documentation of the Great Depression gives us an irreplaceable visual record of the struggles and…
 - 02/09/2012
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More historic BBQ photos from the files of the Farm Security Administration

Here’s another set of barbecue photos from the collection of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photo archive. These were shot in 1940 by photojournalist Russell Lee at a free community barbecue picnic on Labor Day in Ridgway, Colorado. After my blog post last week on FSA images of Texas BBQ, I spent some more time going through their photo archive searching “barbecue.” I found an amazing set of color photos from a community BBQ in New Mexico, also shot in 1940 by Russell Lee, a rarity as almost all FSA images were shot on black & white film. I’ll put…
 - 12/30/2011

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