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Tammy Davis' Multimedia Blog

Blog EntryBlog: Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Dust Bowl Migration

During the Great Depression there was a series of dust storms on the American prairie land that destroyed the crops on many farms.  The people that lived in these areas such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, worked on the farms and after the dust storms they had no way to make a living.  Since it was the time of the depression, jobs were scarce.  Many people heard of job opportunities in the western United States, California and Arizona.  Since they couldn't pay for their houses or work on their farms people decided to leave their homes on the praries.  Over 200,000 people moved to California alone!  The struggles of the dust bowl migration impacted America so much that there were songs and books written about it.  In 1939 John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath , a novel about a family forced to move from their home and search for a new life because of the dust bowl.  Woody Guthrie, an American folk singer, wrote many songs about the experiences of the dust bowl migrant workers.  Read the lyrics of one of his songs below:

Woody Guthrie's "Dust Storm Disaster"

On the fourteenth day of April of nineteen thirty five,
There struck the worst of dust storms that ever filled the sky:
You could see that dust storm coming the cloud looked deathlike black,
And through our mighty nation, it left a dreadful track...
This storm took place at sundown and lasted through the night,
When we looked out this morning we saw a terrible sight:
We saw outside our windows where wheat fields they had grown
Was now a rippling ocean of dust the wind had blown.
It covered up our fences, it covered up our barns,
It covered up our tractors in this wild and windy storm.
We loaded our jalopies and piled our families in,
We rattled down the highway to never come back again.



From the song and picture above, do you think the people of the dust bowl wanted to move?  For what reasons do people move, both in the past and today?  Have you moved?  What was your experience like?



"Dust Bowl Days." Edsitement. 21 May 2002. National Endowment for the Humanities. 27 Sept. 2008 <http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=300>.

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