Voices from the Dust Bowl

The great drought that was affecting people in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s was widespread, and affected most of the U.S. This, coupled with the great stock market crash and economic hardships caused the widespread depression. As we were seeing, people in the “Dust Bowl” area were hardest hit, and had their entire livelihood destroyed by the environmental conditions and those who did have crops, had nobody to sell them to.

But there was one area of the country that seemed to be booming for farmers. In fact, they needed more farm help to pick and process the crops that were already growing, as well as grow new crops, and that was the Southern California area. Farmers were encouraged to move to the area to start new lives. There were rumours and even promises of great opportunities and great riches to be had for people who moved to the area, so a great exodus began.

Unfortunately, not everyone who made the move was successful. The government set up camps to house people who came flocking to the area, but they filled up quickly. Those who didn’t get in to the camps were left homeless and desperate. Even inside of the camps, people were crowded in and not always treated well.

Today we’ll look at some of the lives of people who came to this area and became migrant farm workers.

Youtube video:

You’ll need to analyze some sources of information, using this document (or a similar format): Primary Source Analysis

The U.S. Library of Congress has a great collection of photographs from the era. You’ll need to choose a few photographs, and analyze at least one.

Photos by Dorothea Lange – Imperial Valley, California, February and March 1937

Voices from the Dust Bowl photographs (or go to: project home page and click on Photographs)

Collection of audio recordings from the time or of people recalling the time. You will want to skip a few pages, until you’re at items 172-204.

You’ll also need to SUMMARIZE:

Interview about life in Oklahoma and how and why Tom Higginbotham came to California (part 1 of 2)

Interview about life in Oklahoma and how and why Tom Higginbotham came to California (part 2 of 2)

Tell Mr. Robson what's on your mind!