Digital Group Project: Analyzing the Dust Bowl (What was the Dust Bowl? …
Digital Group Project: Analyzing the Dust Bowl
What was the
Why did it happen?
The Great Plow-Up: During the 1910s and 1920s, 5.2 million acres of wild grasslands in the U.S. were converted into wheat fields.
The Great Depression 1930s: Wheat farms were abandoned. Extreme dust storms and drought ruined the topsoil of the plowed plains.
Masculine Experience During the Dust Bowl/The Great Depression
The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression impacted men because they couldn’t fulfill their gender roles and support their families. Suicide and divorce rates increased greatly in the 1930s.
Importance of Photography During the Dust Bowl/Great Depression
Dorothea Lange was a significant photographer during the Great Depression who was hired by the U.S government Resettlement Administration (RA) and Farm Security Administration (FSA) to raise awareness of and help farmers during the Dust Bowl.
Roy Stryker was a photographer who headed the Farm Security Administration department’s documentation of the Dust Bowl through photography. Stryker thought photos taken of farmers and those affected by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression could be a tool for revealing the reality of the disaster and what the government was doing about it.
The Migrant Experience
Farmer migrants from Dust Bowl states, such as Oklahoma, migrated to California with the hope of finding work.
2.5 million people left the Dust Bowl states - Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma - during the 1930s. It was the largest migration in American history.
Popular culture advertised California as a beautiful, idyllic place with a great climate and many opportunities. However, so many people were migrating that the state had to turn people away, and there was not enough work for everyone.
Dust Bowl migrants from the Midwest were called “refugees” or "Okies," given the crisis of unemployment and large numbers of migrants.
Migrants who came to California in hopes of a prosperous life had nowhere to live while looking for work. People lived in poor living conditions; often in tents and truck beds on campsites with other migrants
The New Deal, a government relief plan created by Franklin D. Roosevelt, included government relief checks for people who were struggling from the effects of the Dust Bowl and Depression.
Photo by Dorothea Lange