Dust Bowl Map Name five states the Dust Bowl affected.
Causes of the Dust Bowl • Poor agricultural practices and years of sustained drought caused the Dust Bowl. • Plains grasslands had been deeply plowed and planted to wheat. • During the years when there was adequate rainfall, the land produced bountiful crops. • But as the droughts of the early 1930s deepened, the farmers kept plowing and planting and nothing would grow. • The ground cover that held the soil in place was gone. The Plains winds whipped across the fields raising billowing clouds of dust to the skies. • The skies could darken for days, and even the most well sealed homes could have a thick layer of dust on furniture. In some places the dust would drift like snow, covering farmsteads.
Quote from a farmer • "I felt I was becoming a slave to the land. But I held on to the thought that this land had to be stopped from blowing. Often I was so full of dust that I drove blind, unable to see even the radiator cap on my tractor or hear the roar of the engines. But I kept driving on and on, by guess and instinct. I was making my last stand in the Dust Bowl." • If you had been part of one of these farm families during the '30s, do you think you would have wanted to stay on your farm or leave? Why or why not? What would you lose by leaving? What would you gain?
Waiting for Rain • "...Everyday I scanned the sky, looking for signs of the rain that would save my wheat from ruin. One after another, neighbors saw their crops reach a condition beyond hope of salvage."
Leaving the Dust Bowl • The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California.
The Grapes of Wrath The Grapes of Wrath is a novel written by John Steinbeck in 1939. The realistic novel tells the story of poor folks, leaving the Dust Bowl, and moving on. He follows the Joad family and describes the hardships of life as migrant agricultural workers in the 1930s in the United States. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.
As John Steinbeck wrote in his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath: "And then the dispossessed were drawn west- from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless - restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do - to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land."