About The Dust Bowl Essay Research Paper

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About The Dust Bowl Essay, Research Paper The Dust Bowl of the 1930s lasted about a decade. Its primary area of impact was on the southern Plains. The northern Plains were not so badly effected, but nonetheless, the drought, windblown dust and agricultural decline were no strangers to the north. In fact the agricultural devastation helped to lengthen the Depression whose effects were felt worldwide. The movement of people on the Plains was also profound. 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." 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 skys. The skys 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. Timeline of The Dust Bowl 1931 Severe drought hits the midwestern and southern plains. As the crops die, the ‘black blizzards" begin. Dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed land begins to blow. 1932 The number of dust storms is increasing. Fourteen are reported this year; next year there will be 38. 1933 March: When Franklin Roosevelt takes office, the country is in desperate straits. He took quick steps to declare a four-day bank holiday, during which time Congress came up with the Emergency Banking Act of 1933, which stabilized the banking industry

and restored people’s faith in the banking system by putting the federal government behind it. May: The Emergency Farm Mortgage Act allots $200 million for refinancing mortgages to help farmers facing foreclosure. The Farm Credit Act of 1933 established a local bank and set up local credit associations. September: Over 6 million young pigs are slaughtered to stabilize prices With most of the meat going to waste, public outcry led to the creation, in October, of the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation. 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. October: In California’s San Joaquin Valley,

where many farmers fleeing the plains have gone, seeking migrant farm work, the largest agricultural strike in America’s history begins. More than 18,000 cotton workers with the Cannery and Agricultural Workers Industrial Union (CAWIU) went on strike for 24 days. During the strike, two men and one woman were killed and hundreds injured. In the settlement, the union was recognized by growers, and workers were given a 25 percent raise. 1934 May: Great dust storms spread from the Dust Bowl area. The drought is the worst ever in U.S. history, covering more than 75 percent of the country and affecting 27 states severely. June: The Frazier-Lemke Farm Bankruptcy Act is approved. This act restricted the ability of banks to dispossess farmers in times of distress. Originally effective