Legacy of Shame

Promotional Material for CBS's "Legacy of Shame," July 13, 1995

Promotional material. Rather (Dan) Papers, 010_2014a002_006-007, University Archives, Sam Houston Sate University.

Thirty-five years after the celebrated “Harvest of Shame” with Edward R. Murrow, Dan Rather and Randall Pinkston, together with producers Maurice Murad and Kristina Borjesson, revisited the plight of farm workers in the United States. Recalling where the idea of the show came from, producer Christopher Martin remembers that there was an awareness, going into this project, of the work of Edward R. Murrow and a sense of honor to revisit such important topic.

While virtually no labor laws protecting the health, safety, and rights of U.S. farm workers existed in 1960 for the Murrow piece, Rather reported how laws had been enacted since then, but how lack of regulation allowed injustices to persist, especially since the voice of marginalized migrant farmers went largely unheard. As Rather reported in the July 20, 1995, show, "these are still forgotten people. Conditions for them are still awful."  

CBS heavily promoted the show internally, sending emails to CBS programs directors, and to the press. Reviews were positive with the Los Angeles Times calling the reports “some of the best, most aggressive network journalism of the year” and the New York Times noting that, while “the conditions are thankfully not what they were 35 years ago. Still, the revisit does good duty in drawing attention to how hard life continues to be for many of the workers.” The show earned an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism (program) and an Edward R. Murrow Award.