The vacation-bound tourist en route to South Florida often follows highway A1A past the glittering motels, mile on mile, that dot the beaches of Florida’s Gold Coast, or chooses perhaps to drive along the flowing curves of the Sunshine State Parkway farther inland. There is a third route south to Miami, however, that is quite dissimilar from the better known pair; it is a highway of many repairs that is used principally by far less affluent travelers. The motorist who bumps along U. S. 441 sees limitless flat vistas of fertile ebony soil stretching out to the horizon, striped with unwavering thick bars of rich green: beans, cabbage, celery, or potatoes for the nation’s tables. Occasionally stretches of barbed wire enclose herds of Brahma cattle, and here and there are patches of incongruity in the prosperous panorama - hundreds of yards of highway frontage where filthy hovels nestle among ragweed and waste paper. Though these dilapidated shacks resemble inferior chicken coops more than anything else, none shelter livestock; the farmers of Florida are too progressive to allow cattle or poultry to be kept in such surroundings. No, these hovels are the winter residences of human beings. Winter homes only, because the unfortunates who live in them, along with their more fortunate co-workers who occupy more decent housing around Lake Okeechobee, are as vital in the summer to the economies of states farther north as they are in the winter to the economy of Florida. They are agricultural migrants, members of a ragged army of part-time Floridians that for the better part of the twentieth century have been toiling north with the sun every spring, filling the harvest needs of growers whose produce would rot and be plowed under without the migrants’ labor.
Grubbs, Donald H.
"The Story of Florida's Migrant Farm Workers,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 40:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol40/iss2/2