World Pass Us By Jordan Robinson watches planes pass by overhead and her father Link guesses at their destinations. Link is one of the last remaining ‘Black Okies’. At 60, he has raised eleven children in the dust and heat and beauty of this rich farmland. Jordan is his youngest and he knows he will one day lose her to the outside world. The Reverend Eugene Harding asked me to photograph his installation service as the new pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist in Corcoran, CA. “This is not my day, it’s God’s day,” he told his new congregation, after they were sternly charged with following his every command as God’s servant on earth. He, in turn, took his own charge with dignity, shedding several tears for Mt. Olive, the church he would leave behind in Lemoore. Pastor Melvin Santiel tends to the congregation of Allensworth Christian in Allensworth California. The town was founded by Colonel Allen Allensworth to be run by and for its entirely African-American citizenship. Since then, demographics have shifted and Melvin has welcomed the Latino community to his church and has allowed Latino Catholics to use his church for Mass on Sunday evenings. A painting hangs at First Baptist Church in Pixley, California on the First Sunday Communion celebration. Dozens of Baptist and Methodist churches dot the landscape between Bakersfield and Fresno, acting as the last bastions of the African-American communities that are fading. Pastors remember a time when parishioners flocked to their congregations but now most struggle to fill a couple pews. Nathaniel works his uncle Dennis’ farm at dawn in Allensworth. Dennis recently purchased a 60-acre farm with hopes of employing a majority black workforce to reinvigorate this town that was founded and once run completely by African-American farmers. "He keeps reminding me that this isn’t just a pipe dream," says Nathaniel of Dennis. "It’s a lot of hard work. One step at a time.” Jennifer and Cameron share ice cubes and a few kisses on a hot evening in Tevistion, California. Both their parents emigrated from Oklahoma with the rest of the “Black Okies” in mid-twentieth century to work the fields of the Central Valley. Jennifer moved to the cities briefly but has been forced to return to her family’s crumbling home to raise her two children. Jordan’s mom yells from across the street for him to put on some shoes. A recent cut on his foot required stitches, but he says that he loves the feeling of the soft alkali soil between his toes. "The Alkali Kids" is an endearing term for a generation of poor African-American children who grew up in Teviston before Jordan was born. Despite coming to school with powdery white feet, most went achieved great successes and an unprecedented number went on to study in universities around the country. Mack cools off with a garden hose after a long day of yard work. Although homeless and struggling with a mental disability, members of the community allow him to work and play on their land. He can be found raking in the dirt or rearranging junk in his neighbors yards. In a town of this size, he is welcomed in a way that might not be possible in the cities. Every day Doris Brooks walks through her “prayer garden” and tells God all that she is thankful for: Life, Family, Community. As president of the Teviston Betterment Association, she asks God to remember her community and the young children in it, and she prays for funds for the community center in Teviston, which is forced to essentially close operations during the summers because they lack the resources to purchase air-conditioning. She believes in the youth of Teviston and wants more than anything to help them to succeed. Jordan helps Naynay to walk through the stickers and thorns in the alkali soil outside the Teviston Community Center. Without funds to keep the center open during the heat of the summer, children can play on the playground equipment and in the surrounding fields.