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the Dust Bowl

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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2009, 04:01:57 am »

The unusually wet period, which encouraged increased settlement and cultivation in the Great Plains, ended in 1930. This was the year in which an extended and severe drought began. The drought caused crops to fail, leaving the plowed fields exposed to wind erosion. The fine soil of the Great Plains was easily eroded and carried east by strong continental winds.

On November 11, 1933, a very strong dust storm stripped topsoil from desiccated South Dakota farmlands in just one of a series of bad dust storms that year. Then, beginning on May 9, 1934, a strong two-day dust storm removed massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst such storms of the Dust Bowl. The dust clouds blew all the way to Chicago where dirt fell like snow. Two days later, the same storm reached cities in the east, such as Buffalo, Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. That winter, red snow fell on New England.

On April 14, 1935, known as "Black Sunday", twenty of the worst "Black Blizzards" occurred throughout the Dust Bowl, causing extensive damage and turning the day to night. Witnesses reported that they could not see five feet in front of them at certain points. The dust storms were so bad that often roosters thought that it was night instead of day and went to sleep during them.
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2009, 04:10:36 am »

Migrations

The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history within a short period of time. The second wave of the Great Migration by African Americans from the South to the North was larger, involving more than 5 million people, but it took place over decades, from 1940-1970.[ By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California. With their land barren and homes seized in foreclosure, many farm families were forced to leave. Migrants left farms in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico, but all were generally referred to as "Okies". The plight of Dust Bowl migrants became widely known from the novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.


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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2009, 04:11:42 am »



Buried machinery in a barn lot; Dallas, South Dakota, May 1936.
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2009, 04:12:12 am »

Census

When James N. Gregory examined the Census Bureau statistics as well as other surveys, he discovered some surprising percentages. For example, in 1939 the Bureau of Agricultural Economics surveyed the occupations of about 116,000 families who had come to California in the 1930s. It showed that only 43 percent of southwesterners were doing farmwork immediately before they migrated. Nearly one-third of all migrants were professional or white collar workers.

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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2009, 04:12:48 am »

During President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first 100 days in 1933, governmental programs designed to conserve soil and restore the ecological balance of the nation were implemented. Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes established the Soil Erosion Service in August 1933 under Hugh Hammond Bennett. It was later reorganized and renamed the Soil Conservation Service in 1935, and is now the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Additionally, the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation was created after over six million pigs were slaughtered and went to waste in order to stabilize prices. The FSRC diverted agricultural commodities to relief organizations. Apples, beans, canned beef, flour and pork products were distributed through local relief channels. Cotton goods were eventually included to clothe the needy as well.

In 1935, the federal government formed a Drought Relief Service to coordinate relief activities. The DRS bought cattle in counties that were designated emergency areas, for $14 to $20 a head. Those unfit for human consumption - more than 50 percent at the beginning of the program - were destroyed. The remaining cattle were given to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation to be used in food distribution to families nationwide. Although it was difficult for farmers to give up their herds, the cattle slaughter program helped many of them avoid bankruptcy. "The government cattle buying program was a God-send to many farmers, as they could not afford to keep their cattle, and the government paid a better price than they could obtain in local markets."
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2009, 04:21:36 am »

President Roosevelt ordered that the Civilian Conservation Corps plant a huge belt of more than 200 million trees from Canada to Abilene, Texas, to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil itself in place. The administration also began to educate farmers on soil conservation and anti-erosion techniques, including crop rotation, strip farming, contour plowing, terracing and other beneficial farming practices.

In 1937, the federal government began an aggressive campaign to encourage Dust Bowlers to adopt planting and plowing methods that conserve the soil. The government paid the reluctant farmers a dollar an acre to practice one of the new methods. By 1938, the massive conservation effort had reduced the amount of blowing soil by 65 percent. Nevertheless, the land failed to yield a decent living.

In the fall of 1939, after nearly a decade of dirt and dust, rain finally came.
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2009, 04:21:56 am »

The human crisis was documented by photographers, musicians, and authors. Photographer Dorothea Lange made a name for herself while working as a photographer with the Farm Security Administration and capturing the impact of the storms. Independent artists such as folk singer Woody Guthrie and novelist John Steinbeck depicted life during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2009, 04:23:31 am »



abandoned town of Keota, Colorado during Dust Bowl
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2009, 04:24:12 am »



Keota, Colorado abandoned during Dust Bowl
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2009, 04:24:56 am »



Keota, Colorado abaondoned during Dust Bowl
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2009, 04:25:46 am »



Location: Dallas, South Dakota

Date: May 13, 1936

Buried machinery in barn lot.

USDA Photo by: Sloan

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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2009, 04:30:29 am »



"Black Blizzard" Blankets Country
 

November 11, 1933. Cities and towns from Texas to Canada are feeling the effects of the "black blizzard" that struck the mid-west today. This massive dust storm created sand drifts as high as six feet in areas of the country, burying roads and vehicles.

As the worst drought in American history continues to turn over-farmed soil into dust, more of these devastating storms can be expected.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Marc McCutcheon, The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition through World War II, Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1995. 
http://newdeal.feri.org/timeline/1933b.htm
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2009, 04:31:43 am »

The day broke with a clear, clean sun over the Great Plains, a blue-skied morning the likes of which hadn't been seen in months. Farm families in northwestern Kansas shook off their dust blues and looked forward to a day of life the way it used to be, back when people weren't afraid to visit neighbors or go to 4-H meetings for fear of getting caught in a dust storm.



Many people packed into the white clapboard churches scattered along the countryside. Others decided to celebrate Palm Sunday by going for rides in their automobiles; still others saw the break in the weather as a chance to catch up on chores they didn't dare attempt when the dust was flying.

On a farm 17 miles northeast of Dodge City, Kan., Harley "Doc" Holladay's mother worked away on the rugs and upholstered chairs that had been moved onto the lawn. She had already hung laundry on the line, for once confident that it wouldn't come back into the house dirtier than when it left.

Inside homes the dust was almost as bad. Women like Mrs. Holladay had learned to knead bread dough inside drawers opened just wide enough for two hands, to stir pots quickly and above all, to keep all water you didn't want turning into red mud inside sealed Mason jars. But on this day hope was in the air. Thirteen-year-old Harley went down to the horse pond to skip stones.



In Dodge City Art Leonard returned from church with his family. Neighbors and friends congregated in the Leonards' living room making small talk, a luxury these days. Art could stay only a little while before he had to leave for work in his father's tire store. During the Depression most families could not afford a day of rest.

By noon the mercury had climbed to 90 degrees, the hottest day of the year so far. Suddenly the temperature began to fall, as much as 50 degrees in a few hours. Chattering birds gathered in yards and along roadways, hundreds of them fluttering nervously. No one knew what was making the birds so anxious. Soon they would.


http://www.argo217.k12.il.us/departs/english/scognetti/discovery/dust1.1.htm
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2009, 04:36:21 am »



History 'Black Blizzard' on Oct. 12 - hopefully never repeated


The great Dust Bowl horrors of the thirties, aka the "dirty thirties," were things I vaguely remembered from history classes. 


My New England curriculum did not present the whole story of the ten-year plague that killed and rendered a region in the United States poor and broken.


I learned so much watching the History documentary "Black Blizzard" and was amazed at the trials and hardships people of New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas endured.

If you think things are rotten today, watch this two-hour doc on Sunday, it will give you some perspective on how bad "bad" can get.



History has presented a thoughtful and arresting timeline and given you a front-row seat on a period of U.S. history from 1930-1940 when America's heartland was ravaged by a weather phenomenon that became known as a "black blizzard."



Producers assembled scientists and special effects experts to recreate the black blizzards in amazing detail and reveal that this was a man-made disaster. It was the uprooting of hardy plains grasses that could withstand drought by the planting of the cash crop of the day, wheat.   

Hordes of immigrant farmers who were given huge plots of land by the government to settle, combined with a crop that was water hungry and then a hundred-year drought added up to an environmental disaster.

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/reviews/article_1435463.php/History_Black_Blizzard_on_Oct._12_-_hopefully_never_repeated
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Mishe Vanatta
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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2009, 05:39:52 am »

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