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The Dust Bowl

Posted by lily316 z5PA (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 20, 12 at 2:20

I just finished watching the second two hour part of Ken Burn's documentary on PBS. I'm sure it will be rerun many times , and I highly recommend it. It will have you in tears. I don't think I knew that the cause was man made. I vaguely knew the years and the states, read The Grapes of Wrath and saw many still photos, but this was mesmerizing. You figure it happened 80 years ago so the people still alive were children then . It was good to get the story before they're gone.

I had no idea the "Oakies" who went to California were very discriminated against. One sign in a theater said "No Ni--ers and Oakies. Those people who remained were tough. The very sad part was it could and probably will happen again. The aquifer under these states will dry up in 20 years, experts say.

You could wipe dirt from Oklahoma off cars on the east coast. Just a terrifying time, and the drought lasted a decade. One old lady said it rained the other night, and she loves rain now since they were without it for much of her childhood.


Follow-Up Postings:

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Just liberal nonsense by that commie. He even made one on baseball that tried show discrimination. Some people are never happy with their circumstances...


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We've been watching it and recommending it to many others.


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You don't remember the rough treatment toward the Oakies depicted in Grapes of Wrath? Speaking of which can we all agree that is at least in the top ten novels of all time?

I'm looking forward to watching the series. BTW, there is an industry toady named Avery who claims that the dust bowl events were a result of "organic" farming practices (because he equates organic techniques with those prevalent pre-WWII).


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The Grapes of Wrath made a deep impression on me when I read it as a teenager, but I'm not sure it is generally considered a top-ten novel. It is rarely taught in colleges, for instance, and I'd guess there are many English majors who haven't even read it nowadays--which is too bad since it is a very moving novel.

I must keep an eye out for the Ken Burn's series rerun--didn't know it was being shown. I realize the farming practices at the time contributed to the decade long drought, but "caused" it? How could farming practices cause it to not rain? Can someone explain that to me?

Kate


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I thought of you last night lily. I'd seen where you'd watched this and wondered if I could stand it. It sounds like so much hardship. How much do they delve into that? If they are stories of triumph, I could watch it easier, but I bet it's a warning tale, as it rightfully should be.


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Really? I thought GofW was totally top-ten (you know, like, totally). It's not still a high-school lit must-read?


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I recorded it. Will watch it with my mother today. She is 89 and does remember some about it. They had newsreels at the movies when she was young.

You are really funny tobr.


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Kate, the farming practices of the time employed deep plowing of the fields at the end of the harvest, expecting snow and rains to recharge soil moisture. Soil left so exposed was easily eroded by winds as drought continued.

My part of California was settled by Oakies who came to work on farmlands and oil fields and occupied some flood-prone river bottoms. Some of the old timers here have stories told to them by their parents who arrived here as children.


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pnbrown--maybe GofW is still on a list of "popular" novels--like Gone with the Wind, for instance--but I don't think it makes the top 10 of the "best" novels if we are considering the literary qualities--which is why it often doesn't make college reading lists. On the other hand, I'm not saying I think it is a bad or unworthy novel, cuz I don't believe that. I think it is a very, very good novel--perhaps just missing the top 10 rating. But, of course, the future may reverse that ranking. It has happened to other novels--Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening being ignored for 75 years and now considered indispensible on any collge reading list, for instance.

marshall, thanks for the info on 30's plowing practices. I see how that contributed to the dusty conditions. I guess I thought someone was arguing that the plowing practices somehow "caused" the drought. I wish my dad were still here--he grew up on a farm during the 30s, but all he ever said about the 30s was one disgust-drenched phrase: "dirty thirties!" Never heard a phrase uttered with such deep disgust! Wish I had asked him more about those days.

Kate


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Mandatory reading in HS when I was a Freshman.
We had one priest try to say it was a socialist myth. Dorothea Lange photographed the migrants.
Some blamed government loans to farmers for some of the trouble with the loans the farmers were able to mechanize and no longer needed tenant farmers so they consolidated the lands & put tenants out.


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Mandatory reading in high school for me too, graduated in 85.


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Grapes of Wrath was required reading in my final year of high school. I'm ashamed to admit that I read the first chapter (which was literally about dust) and decided that I was only going to tolerate the Cliff's Notes version, which was enough for me to be able to write a fairly good essay on the final exam.

Like most books on the required reading list in high school, I honestly think I was too young and immature to appreciate it at the time. In fact, I didn't read ANY of the required reads when I was in high school (except for maybe To Kill A Mockingbird, which is my all time favourite novel, and I had read it about 3 times before I was even in high school). I have made a point going back and reading the novels I was supposed to read back then though. Still on my list are Grapes of Wrath and Brave New World.


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Although it probably had untold connotations to those experiencing it - the "dirty thirties" generally refers to the whole Dust Bowl era.

Someone in Kansas remembered the worst of the "storms" being in 1935 - the dust was black and it just rolled in relentlessly.


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Folks, I'm not putting down Grapes of Wrath. I'm sure it is still taught in many high schools--but to tell the truth, high schools have been known at times to teach "popular" novels rather than necessarily the "best" (literarily speaking). But that doesn't change the fact that it is rarely taught in college courses--and that fact should tell you something.

Not trying to cause a fight here, folks. Just sharing some information. As I said above, I myself was impressed by this novel when I read it as a teenager on my own time. Don't think it was a high school required reading back in those days, but I see nothing wrong with requiring it of today's students--very good novel about an historical period they might not otherwise learn much about.

Kate


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 20, 12 at 9:31

Thank you Marshall .. I saw a program some time ago on the causes of the dust bowl. The great plains are dry and windy and native grasses with deep roots were replaced with plowed fields. The wind blows and the thin layer of soil blew away. At least that was my understanding.

It is why many of us grow native plants in our respective regions that are already adapted to cold, heat, wind, rains etc.


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I know I've mentioned it before, but here we go again - the show featured Timothy Egan who wrote a recent book about the dust bowl, "The Worst Hard Times" which I would recommend. The show essentially played around the characters and events depicted in the book, although the book barely mentioned the massive migration to California.

At the link is a video of what is now termed an 'Haboub' around Phoenix last year, which, I guess, sounds better than a dust storm. Now imagine that going off every other day, and then think about Black Sunday, when there was a dust storm 200 miles wide, 60 mph winds, running from Canada down to Texas.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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OM, in some cases the wind took away feet of soil.

Prairie soils are generally very deep with native grasses and forbs reaching a dozen or more feet into the earth. Some parts of the Great Plains carry loess soils derived from dust delivered by winds off the continental glaciers crossing debris left by retreating ice. Loess is highly erodible by water or wind. These loess soils are some of the richest in the world and form a core of the US Midwest breadbasket, so to speak.


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Nowadays when many people talk/think (one is not necessarily part & parcel of the other) about discrimination, they tend to fixate on race, skin color. Here is a big example where more practical considerations were at play, i.e., competition for jobs, fear on the part of the bosses that the workers might unionize.


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I for one would've loved a history course that took the Grapes of Wrath and studied it as an historical novel. That would've been interesting; to put it in context, that is. I like the suggestion of university studying it. Certainly would've made it real rather than arduous.


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Hmmm, elvis, the Dust Bowl did not discriminate.


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The show barely mentioned something I thought interesting, the "commodity distribution" where the Gub'mint would bring the folks who had nothing a sack of flour, lard, and what not to eat.

That still continues today - they have 'commodity distribution' here twice a year, I think. Notice in the paper, if you're eligible you can drive out to the distribution center and pick up a box of food. I have a neighbor who does this, ends up with 5 lb blocks of cheese, enormous beef roasts.

Didn't the extension agent in every county begin during the Depression/dust bowl era as well? That still goes on. As does the soil conservancy - thats where I bought several hundred trees for my place.


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We record these PBS shows to watch at leisure. We just got around to the other Burns brother's documentary about death in the Civil War. Not up for another 'downer' just yet!

I didn't get a very good understanding of American history in school.

I didn't know that the Upper Midwest was experiencing an unusual warm spell when Scandinavians emigrated in droves -- only to be frozen nearly to death when that climate 'normalized'.

I didn't know that before the Civil War there were no military ambulances or hospitals or means of locating your missing or dead. There were no national cemeteries. (The Confederate dead were excluded -- understandable, but fueling the rancor of a defeated and devastated South.)

I just read "The Round House" by Louise Erdrich -- to learn more about the Americans we ignored in history, having 'replaced' them.

I guess the Dust Bowl finally pushed our 'pillage and move on' New Americans to the edge: California. Now the movie industry can fashion our 'history' and throw it back across the land.


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Good morning. I was referring to this part of the OP (Okies):

"I had no idea the "Oakies" who went to California were very discriminated against. One sign in a theater said "No Ni--ers and Oakies"


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  • Posted by pamven z5neastindiana (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 20, 12 at 11:57

Apparently they never learn as they are now depleating the underground water table at an alarming rate...all to grow crops where they shouldnt.


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I either read Grapes of Wrath in HS or college, and I must have forgotten why the Oakies were discriminated against. My husband worked for the soil conservation service, so he learned things he hadn't even known. I never heard the term dirty 30's. I saved the recording on my DVR and will watch it again when I have the time.

Ken Burns does some wonderful documentaries. These should be required watching in schools because they make way more impact seeing than reading. My understanding the area was lush with prairie grass which was plowed under when the farmers descended and planted wheat. The grass held the soil with it's deeper roots but when the winds and the drought came, nothing could hold back the erosion. They didn't do contour plowing till later in the decade.

The photos were what got me. Their faces and their children's. Beautiful and very sad images.


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The scary thing about this show was the danger signs of using too much water from the aquifer. They are saying it can only last about 10 years more.

Then what? Another dust bowl if we have another drought?

Should this area really be farmed?


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They went to California as field workers now replaced by Immigrant workers...

"I must go over into the interior valleys. - There
are five thousand families starving to death over
there, not just hungry but actually starving. The
government is trying to feed them and get medical
attention to them, with the Fascist group of
utilities and banks and huge growers sabotaging
the thing all along the line, and yelling for a
balanced budget.

In one tent there were twenty people quarantined
for small pox and two of the women are to have
babies in that tent this week. I've tied into the
thing format he first and I must get down there
and see it and see if I can do something to knock
these murderers on the heads. Do you know what
they're afraid of? They think that if these people
are allowed to live in camps with proper
sanitary facilities they will organize, and that
is the bugbear of the large landowner and the
corporate farmer. The states and counties will
give them nothing because they are outsiders.

But the crops of any part of this state could not
be harvested without them. - The death of children
by starvation in our valleys is simply staggering.
- I'll do what I can. - Funny how mean and little
books become in the face of such tragedies."

John Steinbeck

Letter to Elizabeth Otis (1938), as quoted in
Conversations with John Steinbeck (1988) edited
by Thomas Fensch, p. 37

Here is a link that might be useful: Relevant quotes


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We had to read "Silas Marner." I'll never understand that one. How about "Canterbury Tales" and "Beowulf"? They still read those in school?

-Ron-


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Thank you for mentioning this Lily. I will try to find it for my kids to watch. I will also have them read the Egan book mentioned by David in addition to the Grapes of Wrath.

DH works for our state engineer's office in water rights. One thing that is quite scary to contemplate here is that the aquifer here is dropping faster than the model's they are using says it should.

Chisue, I think one of the reason's why it is hard to get a good grasp of American history (or any history for that matter) in school is that there is just sooooo much to learn. I think the study of history needs to be life long. I also think that it helps us adults to have a wider base of experience and knowledge to hang the history information on.


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"How about "Canterbury Tales" and "Beowulf"? They still read those in school?"

I was required to. I was an English major so--go figure :)

Today? I doubt it.


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My 14 year old grandson, in his honors English class ,just read Beowulf and the Iliad and the Oddessy and had to write a paper on each. I read them both in 12th grade and hated them. It's a wonder that didn't turn me away from English lit, my favorite courses in HS and college.


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I had no idea the "Oakies" who went to California were very discriminated against.

So much so that my mother - a young girl during the Great Depression / Dust Bowl era - used to worry about "looking like an Oakie" when, decades after that era, our family traveled in my father's pick-up truck transporting furniture to a new residence.

When traveling through agricultural areas in Southern California as a child, my parents would point out the windbreaks planted between fields and explain how they came to be - a mini-history of the Dust Bowl.

One of the first "dirty tricks" in electoral campaigns was courtesy of Louis B. Mayer in 1934 and his faux newsreel of "hobos" (actors) gathered at the Arizona border waiting to invade California if Upton Sinclair were elected governor. Upton Sinclair

Timothy Egan who wrote a recent book about the dust bowl, "The Worst Hard Times"

I also highly recommend Egan's book.


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Agnes: "should this area be farmed?" That's my question, too. It is my understanding that the Native Americans did not farm this area, but left the native grasses alone for the buffalo to graze.And that it was the white European settlers who farmed it and thus upset the "balance" on the prairie.

Ken Burns is amazing: he has a new series out on the "wilding" in NYC in the '80's, when innocent young minority men were acused of rape, went to jail, when they were in fact innocent, before DNA proved them innocent. Burns and his daughter have written a book to go along with this.


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My 14 year old grandson, in his honors English class ,just read Beowulf and the Iliad and the Oddessy and had to write a paper on each. I read them both in 12th grade and hated them. It's a wonder that didn't turn me away from English lit, my favorite courses in HS and college.

Not to be nitpicky, but just to point out that neither The Iliad nor The Odyssey are English Lit...


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I went to a Catholic girls high school and we had took Catcher in the Rye in grade 13 !!!!! How 60's was that!!!

The Iliad, the Odsessy, Grapes of Wrath, Heart of Darkness (that one almost killed me!) To Kill a Mockingbird, Tale of Two Cities and The 39 Steps are some of the others I recall studying.


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I remember taking most of those... we had the Chrysalids, 1984 and Animal Farm of course, when we were younger we had Devil on my Back...

I remember a whole bunch of dystopian future books. I mean, I loved dystopian novels, but I think our teachers must have had a real thing for them because I remember they were classroom assigned books throughout school.


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Nonetheless, AP classes in the US study it in "English lit" (at least I was studying those too in 84-85). Which bugs me because one can study American authors in English Lit. What do I know!


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"The plight of the Oakies became a part of the Route 66 story, the legend of the road. In 1934, Los Angeles police stationed themselves at the Arizona border in order to check the wave of dust bowlers. The police held all immigrants at the state line, allowing only a few across at a time and turning many back. This checkpoint didn�t last, however, and emigration on Route 66 continued through the 1930s. By 1939, the migration had reached epic proportions, and Californians reacted with fear and anger. One California grower put it in the following way: "This isn�t a migration�its and invasion! They�re worse than a plague of locusts!"


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I recall the course in high school simply being called English.

It wasn't until university that it was broken down as English Lit, French Lit, Greek Lit etc....


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This is just plain awful. These people were treated like criminals . I just wonder why. What did they ever do to deserve this treatment?

HG..English Lit might have not been technically correct, but that's what it was called and it encompassed all literature.


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I just wonder why. What did they ever do to deserve this treatment?

The Great Depression: too few opportunities for employment, too many seeking work. In California neither migrants nor immigrants were spared by fear of competition for scarce opportunities.

In the aftermath of the stock market crash, Mexicans of all nationalities were considered and subsequently treated as undesirable aliens subject to deportation. In the early years of the Depression, many returned to Mexico voluntarily. Yet by 1931, private and public welfare organizations began organizing campaigns to deport Mexicans, who they felt occupied jobs that should be held by those born in the U.S. Secretary of Labor William Doak organized many sensational raids and local citizen groups offered to help the federal government deport immigrants. In Los Angeles, the immigration bureau, with the help of the police and sherrif's department, organized several raids, that often arrested Mexicans who were in the U.S. legally. Moreover, many of those detained were denied counsel and other rights.

Eventually, the Bureau of Immigration shifted to other less sensational tactics, but they continued to pursue and deport immigrants. Their efforts dramatically reduced Mexican communities in many northern states, while states like Texas and California lost large portions of their Spanish-speaking population.

And for a better-late-than-never apology, here's one from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors: L.A. County officials apologize for Depression-era deportations

Some 80 years ago, tens of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans living in L.A. County were forced aboard trains and taken south of the border, supposedly to stop them from taking American jobs.

On Tuesday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors formally apologized.

"L.A. was very much part of these official roundups," said Supervisor Gloria Molina. "There's a point in time where the only thing you can do is offer an apology."

Those taken to Mexico from Los Angeles were only a portion of the more than 2 million people that officials estimate were deported or forced to leave during the Depression-era campaign.

Scholars estimate that more than 60% were U.S. citizens. Some also said the campaign in Southern California served as a model for the rest of the country.


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Hmmm. My courses were broken into English Lit (Chaucer, etc), American Lit (self-explanatory), Contemporary Lit (Ginsberg, Wolfe, et al). Contemporary was my fav--

"I recall the course in high school simply being called English." Here too: I, II, III, IV, and the Honors classes; they call them "AP" now. An anacronism for everything ;)

It is "Okies" not "Oakies" ;D


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In today's colleges, the courses tend to be divided into British Literature (not English Lit) and may include anything considered British; American Lit.; and International Lit. (any place not American or British). The International Lit. replaces now the old World Lit. courses and a lot of contemporary lit is included in this category also--but some contemporary also appears in Brit. Lit. and American Lit.

Kate


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There was a book published a few years ago that deals with the reception that Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath found in California. "Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath'. Because of the California events described, the author, Rick Wartzman, was interviewed on a number of local public radio stations.

A month after The Grapes of Wrath was published in April 1939 it stood as the No. 1 best seller in the United States and sold 429,000 copies in a year. "But the book brought controversy as well as success. Detractors accused the author of everything from harboring communist sympathies to exaggeration of the conditions in migrant camps."

California growers felt that Steinbeck had not accurately portrayed their efforts to help the migrant workers and denounced the book as "a damnable lie, a black infernal creation of a twisted, distorted mind." In Kern County, California, where part of the novel was set, the board of supervisors voted on August 21, 1939 to ban the book from the county's libraries and schools. A copy of the book was burned in Bakersfield, the county seat.

More on the book:

The board of supervisors of Kern County, Calif., where the novel was set, voted Aug. 21, 1939, to ban it from schools and libraries. A few days later, a copy was burned in the county seat of Bakersfield.... Petitioning to rescind the ban introduced by Supervisor Stanley Abel, the "gruff, stubborn, thick-necked" Ku Klux Klan member, were his brothers, Lindley and Ralph, both of them members of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Joining them was Kern County librarian Gretchen Kneif, the daughter of a newspaper editor from Milwaukee. Savoring her moment in the sun, Kneif reminded board members that "Ideas don't die because a book is forbidden reading." She then offered her inventory of 48 copies of "The Grapes of Wrath" to libraries throughout the state. [...]

The growers... treated the migrants well when there was cotton to be picked but paid them starvation wages, housed them in deplorable conditions, disdained them as "dirty, immoral scum" and "throwed 'em over" when they no longer needed them.

In 1936, Los Angeles sent a "Bum Brigade" of 136 cops to prevent migrants from entering California from Nevada, Oregon and Arizona.

Wartzman also understands that there were no easy answers to "the plight of these human tumbleweeds." The migrants, he points out, were a financial burden on California residents. Despite hard times, the state's relief policy was relatively generous...

Although property taxes shot up by 50 percent between 1934 and 1939, Kern remained the only county to provide free medical care to migrants.

In 1941, as defense spending brought the Depression to an end, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California's Indigent Law, which made it a crime to carry a destitute person across state lines...

Earlier that year, after Stanley Abel had been defeated for re-election, the Kern County Board of Supervisors lifted its ban on the book. Fifteen minutes after the news was broadcast, Gretchen Kneif reported, a patron asked to borrow it.


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Earlier this year I read "Grassland" by Richard Manning; the early part is all about how the farming techniques and destruction of native grasslands plus a cyclical drought brought about the dust bowl. If the land had not been plowed as it was, the native grasslands would have come through it just fine, as they have for many a drought.

It's a good book, I'd recommend it.


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It is an interesting series.
I grew up in Bakersfield, CA and have "Oakie" relatives by marriage.
I now live on the central coast of California and on of the famous pictures of the crop workers was taken in the small town of Nipomo. Maybe one of Dorothea Lange's most famous picture. It it the one of a woman holding a small child.
The picture is entitled Migrant Mother.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dorothea Lange


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That's probably the most widely seen picture of that time.


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Thanks for the book suggestion, Esh, I'll check it out.


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I deeply admire the photography of Dorothea Lange documenting the period and people.


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I've only seen the first hour of 'Dust Bowl' but loved it - mostly because I'm originally from Oklahoma and spent plenty of time in the panhandle so it was fun seeing historic photos of the towns I know so well. I grew up hearing stories about how hard that time period was.

I was told that the deep aquifers in that part of the country were made during the last ice age and are not influenced by rainfall, so there is no way to recharge them once they've been pumped dry. It will take a massive glacier's weight to push groundwater down that deep and that isn't going to happen anytime soon.


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Minimum and no till methods of farming keep coming to mind... though, so much farming these days is done on a much grander scale where it's mostly done using chemicals...


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  • Posted by ENMc none (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 21, 12 at 17:06

"The growers... treated the migrants well when there was cotton to be picked but paid them starvation wages, housed them in deplorable conditions, disdained them as "dirty, immoral scum" and "throwed 'em over" when they no longer needed them."

OMG! Why didn't they just move?

Oh, wait.

They did. ;)

E


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 16:52

We watched part one, pretty dismal times, the rabbit clubbing was new to me. I see the locusts are coming up in part two.


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Grasshoppers..


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 17:29

Yes, Master? ;)


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Hoot!

Sensei Lily


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One thing covered in the book but barely covered in the show is the static electricity that would be generated during these storms - walk up and try to open a car door and you'd go flying on your arse from the shock. Which is why they had chains dragging under the vehicles. I remember seeing that as a young'un.

Somewhere in the book, they mention someone's garden that was destroyed by static electricity - cabbage fried, etc. I guess using the rare moisture as a conduit.


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I thought they covered the static electricity pretty well in the doc. I remember at the end they mentioned a woman who wrote notes-diary, or novel chapters about the Dust Bowl, and that some or all the these were read by Steinbeck. The Burns' doc mentioned that that novel was finally published. "Whose Names Are Unknown" by Sanora Babb.

Someone mentioned reading "The 39 Steps"- which I only remember as an early Hitchcock film- and a good one. But I can't help thinking the novel would be obscure. I was always fond of "Dombey and Son" by Mr. Dickens.


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Just watched Part one. Unbelievable environmental destruction by humans followed by unbelievable suffering on humans inflicted by nature.


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What many of you are forgetting is that there was no history of what deep plowing could or would do with an extended drought and the high winds of the prairie states. The farmers were doing what seemed to be the best farming methods in their time.

The Indians grew the Three Sisters, maize(corn), beans and squash throughout the entire continent. They did not use the agricultural methods used by settlers because their plants were native, not the plants from other continents planted by the settlers(primarily wheat). The natives did not deep plow because they did not have horses until they were reintroduced by Europeans and did not have technology to produce a metal plow which is needed for deep plowing. A good portion of the natives were still hunter/gatherers and did not remain in one location long enough to harvest. They traded for what others grew. Farming as the settlers knew it didn't exist.

Not growing in the truly enormous area affected by the drought that included the Dust Bowl is simply not practical. You are talking about an area that extended from Saskatchewan to Texas. That drought was 8 years long. The drought was not caused by humans. Research has shown that it was caused by cooler temps in the Pacific and warmer temps in the Atlantic that changed the path of the Jet Stream. The erosion was a result of the extensive deep plowing and growing of shallow rooted wheat.

Crops have changed, farming methods have changed, aquifers are strictly controlled, the Jet Stream has gone back to its former pattern. Preventing the use of the plains states for food production is not something you would want to have happen. The area covered by the entire Dust Bowl affect produces 25% of the combined Canadian and US production of food crops. Only China grows more.

A halfway decent discussion of the pros and cons of farming in the Mid-west is at www.aibs.org/bioscience-press-releases/resources/10-07.pdf


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I agree that they didn't realize what they were doing although there were a few people advising caution.

I agree the humans didn't cause the drought - it was a normal cyclical occurrence. Most people then remembered the drought in the 1890's.

But they thought they were past that. Unscrupulous men put forth lies that more rain would come if they plowed up the native grasses - "rain follows the plow". People were encouraged to buy more and more land, plow more and more .... As usual, it was all too good to be true.


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If they had continued to use a system of hedgerows like they did when they were in Europe, the erosion would not have been a problem.

A little late, but they did realize that planting hedgerows kept the winds from blowing away the soil and helped keep the moisture in the soil. Since hedgerows take years to build up, a line of trees planted will have a similar effect.

To this day, tree belts bordering around farmer's fields are still used to prevent erosion... at least in Alberta they are.


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RE: The Dust Bowl

This is the high plains - grasslands where the only trees are along river ways. There just isn't enough moisture to support trees.

So they can grow grasses like wheat - maybe - using winter planting where the plants just emerge before things freeze, holding the soil in place, and then it grows from the winter moisture and spring rains, then they harvest it, leaving the stubble to again hold the soil in place.

But to grow corn and soy, they need irrigation, which comes from the aquifers that date from the last ice age. Not that sustainable.


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RE: The Dust Bowl

Sleepless, I disagree on aquifers being strictly controlled. Are we paying more attention now than in the past? Sure but they are still dropping at an alarming rate in my area. According to DH, they are dropping faster than the models they are using say they should.


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