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The Dust Bowl Exodus

Draught and Great Depression RefugeesCreated by: PICRYLDated: 2017
Part of the daily motorcade of drought refugees. The Montana-North Dakota state line
The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history that happened during the Great Depression. Although overall three out of four farmers stayed on their land, the mass exodus depleted the population drastically in certain areas. By 1940, 2.5 million people had moved out of the Plains states; of those, 200,000 moved to California.
Arriving in California, the migrants were faced with a life almost as difficult as the one they had left. Like the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”, some 40 percent of migrant farmers wound up in the San Joaquin Valley, picking grapes and cotton. They took up the work of Mexican migrant workers, 120,000 of whom were repatriated during the 1930s.
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Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven children without food. Mother aged thirty-two. Father is a native Californian. Nipomo, California

Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven children without food. Mot...

Photograph shows Florence Thompson with two of her children as part of the "Migrant Mother" series. For background information, see "Dorothea Lange's M̀igrant Mother' photographs ..." http://www.loc.gov/rr/prin... more

Over this bridge drought refugees are crossing the Colorado River into California. U.S. 80 / Dorothea Lange, 1935.

Over this bridge drought refugees are crossing the Colorado River into...

Photograph shows cars crossing a bridge with a sign with the word "Yuma" on the top. Title from item.

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refugees from dust bowl. Twenty-two in family, thirty-nine evictions, now encamped near Bakersfield without shelter, without water and looking for work in the cotton

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refuge...

Title and other information from caption card. Transfer; United States. Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. More information about the FSA/OWI Collection is available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc... more

President Roosevelt with rehabilitation client. Mandan, North Dakota

President Roosevelt with rehabilitation client. Mandan, North Dakota

Photo shows U.S. Secret Service agents: Paul Hart, center, facing left; and August "Gus" Gennerich, right (Source: Secret Service archivist, 2012)