The Hungry Majority
The baby's stomach bulged. His arms and legs looked like sticks, and although four and a half months old, Jesus Sanchez weighed no more than he did at birth. The diagnosis: calorie starvation, scurvy, rickets, pneumonia, and no detectable vitamin C in his blood.
Guatemala? Peru? No, Southwestern U.S.A., 1971. H. Peter Chase, a Colorado pediatrician, was presenting medical statistics to the Senate Committee on Nutrition when his slide projector flashed the picture of little Jesus on the wall. A hush came over the gallery as Dr. Chase continued his report, for hunger had suddenly turned from a dull record into a visible tragedy.
As the child of migrant workers, Jesus belongs to a group that Edward R. Murrow described in a 1960 CBS documentary, "Harvest of Shame." On that broadcast one of the farmers said, "We used to own our slaves. Now we just rent 'em." Ten years later an nbc documentary, "Migrant," showed that slaves are still being rented. In 1971 migrant workers averaged an annual income of $1,400. They rank among the worst housed, least