“Banana Inspection”

By an unknown photographer, unknown location, ca. 1910

Longshoremen load and unload ships. Working on the docks meant stiff competition for employment, an intense few hours of dirty, heavy labor, followed by hours of waiting. They labored in work gangs that reflected strong ethnic ties. African American dockworkers initially worked at southern piers in cities such as New Orleans. Their first appearance in northern and western ports was often as strikebreakers.

National Archives, Records of the Food and Drug Administration (88-GS-92-C1608)