Okies And The Hardships Of The Dust Bowl

1102 words - 4 pages

The Dust Bowl was the name given to the Great Plains area in the 1930s. Much of the region was an agricultural area and relied on it for most of their economy. Combined with The Great Depression and the dust storms, farmers in the Great Plains area were severely hurt. These farmers were seeking opportunity elsewhere near the Pacific where they were mistreated by the others already there. The mistreatment is a form of disenfranchisement, by excluding and segregating a group of people from the rest of society. The disenfranchisement of the Oklahoma farmers during the 1930s was caused by a combination of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression which led to the farmers being forced to move west where they were mistreated because there were not enough jobs.
In the 1930's, farmers in the Great Plains region began deep plowing and destroyed the top soil and natural grasses so that they would be picked up in the wind (Boundless.com 1) The Great Plains area consists of parts of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Also a combination of a long drought and high winds led to dust storms creating the dust bowl that affected many people. Dust storms are giant clouds of dust that are thrown into the air and gathered into clouds that flew violently across the Great Plains. One expert describes one of these dust storms saying, “One of the most frightening days during the decade of the Dust Bowl is referred to as Black Sunday. On April 14, 1935, what started out as a clear sunny day suddenly transformed into a giant black cloud on the horizon — a huge dust storm. Residents fled their morning chores and sought cover in cars, houses, and shelters before they would be blinded and enveloped in the thick, black dirt cloud” (Hogan 1). What this expert says describes a horrific scene to what it was really like to be near one of these dust storms. What was once new life and opportunity for those moving west to farm the land became a barren wasteland that destroyed their dreams of the west (Boone 1).That covered their land in a thick layer of dust, soil, and even other crops from many other farms because of over-plowing and bad irrigation.
When The Great Depression came in 1929, it made the farmers’ situation much worse. The farmers’ crops, and livestock failed to grow and prosper, they could not earn any money. The Great Depression caused the farmers to lose even more money than they already were. When the farmers lost their money, they couldn’t afford many things including their houses. Because the banks were not being paid for the houses, they took them from the farmers. An expert explains their situation saying, “Even for those who wanted to stay, economic conditions forced many from their farms. Department of Agriculture records indicate that nearly two hundred out of every thousand farmers in the Midwest, Central South and Plains States lost their land to foreclosure between 1930-1935” (Boone...

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