Here’s a famous photograph which received much attention for many years:


While it was (and probably still is) widely seen as a poignant illustration of the social injustice that lies at the root of America, it depicts victims of a 1937 flood in Louisville.
The juxtaposition of black flood victims with a PR billboard showing affluent white people was an amazing photo opportunity, for a very talented photographer — Life Magazine’s Margaret Bourke-White. That’s because there was really no logical or causal connection between the National Manufacturers Association’s PR campaign and the Louisville flood. The connections are emotional ones, made in the viewer’s mind.
Not that there’s any denying the terrible racism of the 1930s or the lower standard of living for black people. The irony is that the billboard did not prove it; it only seemed to prove it.
The people standing in line for flood relief might as well have been starving as a result of the depression. Their plight might just as well have been caused by the refusal of affluent whites to share their wealth.
Imagine, manipulating people’s emotions by showing them pictures of flood victims!
People must have been really gullible in those days…