The people who lived in the states like, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Arkansas, never expected a hand out, or something to be given to them. All they asked for was the opportunity to be able to pursue happiness. They left everything they knew, and forged west in order to chase a dream. These people were pioneers in the largest since of the word. Even whenever mother nature, and their own farming practices had turned against them, they did not give up. The people of the dust bowl forged forward, and fought. Some of them looked for knowledge, and a better understanding of the land they were farming, while others sought solutions by packing up everything they owned and headed west in order to find a better future.
The Dust Bowl or the Dirty Thirties was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936 (in some areas until 1940). The phenomenon was caused by severe drought coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation or other techniques to prevent erosion, and the deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains, which killed the natural grasses that normally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during periods of drought and high winds.
During the drought of the 1930s, with no natural anchors to keep it in place the soil dried, turned to dust, and blew away eastward and southward in large dark clouds. At times the clouds blackened the sky reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean. These immense dust storms; given names such as "Black Blizzards" and "Black Rollers"; often reduced visibility to a few feet (around a meter). The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2), centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. The Dust Bowl was an ecological and human disaster caused by misuse of land and years of sustained drought. Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes; many of these families (often known as "Okies", since so many came from Oklahoma) traveled to California and other states, where they found conditions little better than those they had left. Owning no land, many traveled from farm to farm picking fruit and other crops at starvation wages. John Steinbeck later wrote the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and also Of Mice and Men about such people.
Agricultural and settlement history
During early European and American exploration of the Great Plains, the region in which the Dust Bowl occurred was thought unsuitable for agriculture; indeed, the region was known as the Great American Desert. The lack of surface water and timber made the region less attractive for pioneer settlement and agriculture. However, following the Civil War, settlement in the area increased, encouraged by the Homestead Act and westward expansion. An unusually wet period in the Great Plains led settlers and government to believe that "rain follows the plow" and that the climate of the region had changed permanently. The initial agricultural endeavors were primarily cattle ranching with some cultivation; however, a series of harsh winters beginning in 1886, coupled with overgrazing followed by a short drought in 1890, led to an expansion of land under cultivation.
Immigration began again at the beginning of the 20th century. A return of unusually wet weather confirmed the previously held opinion that the "formerly" semi-arid area could support large-scale agriculture. Technological improvements led to increased automation, which allowed for cultivation on an ever greater scale. World War I increased agricultural prices, which also encouraged farmers to drastically increase cultivation. In the Llano Estacado, farmland area doubled between 1900 and 1920, and land under cultivation more than tripled between 1925 and 1930. Finally, farmers used agricultural practices that encouraged erosion. For example, cotton farmers left fields bare over winter months, when winds in the High Plains are highest, and burned their wheat stubble, which deprived the soil of organic matter and increased exposure to erosion.
This increased exposure to erosion was revealed when an unusually severe drought struck the Great Plains in 1934. The grass covering the prairie lands for centuries held the soil in place and maintained moisture, but with deep plowing from increased farming, the grass holding the soil was eliminated. The drought conditions caused the topsoil to grow very dry and loose and it was simply carried away by wind which, in turn, kicked up immense dust clouds which further prevented rainfall. It was not until the government promoted soil conservation programs that the area began to become rehabilitated.
Dust bowl survivors had one tie that bound most all of them. They were Christians!
They had an unshakable faith in God that drove them to get out of bed each day, and keep going. They prayed for the return of the rains, for their crops, and for the small scraps of food that they managed to place on the table before their family each night. Dust Bowl Tough is in the spirit of those who understood, and knew what loss, and sacrifice were. In all civilizations throughout time, there has always been a rise, and a fall. The rise takes place whenever there is struggle that finds success, and makes people stronger for it. The falls always take place whenever people work for nothing, expect everything, and have no personal knowledge of the price that was paid, and have never had to pay a price themselves.
Dust Bowl Tough, Edmond, OK 73083