Dale Maharidge

in Someplace Like America

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520262478
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948792 | DOI:

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Sacramento may be the capital of California, but the city has a long history of a hardscrabble underbelly. Among the attractions are the waterways that run through the city—the clear American and the muddy Sacramento rivers join near downtown. The draw is not the presence of water in rare quantity for parched California, but the riverbanks thick with vegetation that conceals the camps of the homeless “river people.” Michael S. Williamson and Dale Maharidge spent a lot of time in these camps back in the 1980s and fittingly end their journey in the place where it began—Sacramento and the surrounding Central Valley. The camps Michael and Dale found in the early 1980s weren't as elaborate as those photographed by Dorothea Lange. One camp later grew in size, a village of shanties belonging to Montana Blackie and his hobo buddies. The cops kept the river people cowering in the shadows through the 1980s. Dale wrote stories about most of those sweeps, for the newspaper and in a book about Blackie, The Last Great American Hobo. Then he left town.

Keywords: Michael S. Williamson; Dale Maharidge; camps; Sacramento; Central Valley; Dorothea Lange; Montana Blackie; hobo; California

Chapter.  6680 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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