Lesson Number: Lesson Title: Unit Title: Grade/Subject: Teacher


Six (This will take 2-3 days.) The Dust Bowl Years The Great Depression and New Deal Eighth Grade U.S. History from 1880 Debra Krawetz

1. Expectations From reading first hand accounts/articles, and viewing photo images of the Dust Bowl period, students will be able to: Identify the causes that led up to the Dust Bowl, empathize with the impact it had on people living in the Dust Bowl region, and understand the response of New Deal program, the Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933). 2. Engagement: Day One: • Students will be introduced to the Dust Bowl by use of a series of overheads. Display handouts #1 and #2 on transparencies. Have them make hypothesize about how the Dust Bowl will have an impact on people, and how the federal government will respond. The prediction page is handout #3. • Distribute Vocabulary Sheet, handout #3. • Show images of the dust bowling using the pictures provided, or making a slide show on PPT. –Handout #45 To extend this part of the lesson, ask students to select one image, and to write about what happened before, during, and after the photo was snapped. • Articles: Students will read the two articles (handouts #6 & #7.) FLEE DUST BOWL FOR CALIF., and ALONG THE ROAD in small groups, discussing and writing answers to the questions at the end of each article. After reading the two articles, students will write letters to the editor of Business Week, or Fortune responding to the one of the pieces. In your letter, students will comment about the conditions of the migrant farmers and what they think must be done for them. Day Two: • The New Deal’s, Aka, Roosevelt’s, response to the farm crisis and Dust Bowl. Explain to students that the Agricultural Adjustment Act and Agency, attempted to run programs to teach \ better farming techniques and provide relief subsidies for farmers. Read Handout #9 and #10, and discuss the questions at the end of each page. Examine with students the cartoons portray FDR. Which ones were supportive? Critical? Activity: Ask students to draw their own cartoons showing the benefits of the AAA and the help it will give to farmers, or cartoons critical of the AAA. Day Three:

• •

Critics of Farm Relief: Introduce the two articles (Handouts # 11 and #12) one form the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The New York Times. Read and discuss the articles with the class or in small groups and analyze why the farmers lost faith in the promises made in the New Deal’s AAA program. Ask students if they feel that it was realistic to think that the New Deal would be able to provide for everyone.

Assignment (Handout #13) Have students write two articles, one supporting the New Deal and farm relief programs, and the second critical of the support.

Note: Also see supplemental pages 3. Explanation: After an introduction to the Dust Bowl, tell the students that they will view several images of the Dust Bowl era, and make inferences about life in that time-period was like. Information will be presented on how the New Deal addressed the massive drought through the Agricultural Adjustment Act and Agency, and students will read articles on the Dust Bowl including stories about storms, migrant work, and life in Calif., and articles and political cartoons from the mid to late 30’s more critical of the New Deal and FDR. Each student will complete an assignment where they will write two Dust Bowl era news articles, one in support of the New Deal and one more critical of it. 4. Evaluation The teacher will grade the articles the students write. Students will share their letters at the end of class. The work will be collected, and will be graded on the following criteria: • Demonstrates an understanding of period. • Writes in a journalistic style, answering the 5 -W’s in each article • New vocabulary Usage • Grammar/Spelling.. 5. Differentiation Enlarged copies of handouts and transparencies will be made for students who have visual difficulties. For note taking, students who have difficulty writing will be required to record less information in their notebooks. Students’ articles will reflect their “best” understanding of the material.. The students will be allowed to work with a peer or educational assistant if they choose, or to only complete one news article. 6. Handouts and Materials Films/Videos: *Add one more day to show a film “The Plow that Broke the Plains” “Surviving the Dust Bowl” (PBS) Audio Interviews: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/filmmore/reference/interview/index.html General Dust Bowl Websites: Dorothea Lange, The Forgotten People: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm016.html Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_bowl FSA Photograph Collection: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fsowhome.html New Deal Network: http://newdeal.feri.org/nchs/lesson02.htm Route 66: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug02/carney/paving.html Humanities Interactive: http://www.humanities-interactive.org/texas/dustbowl/ Walther W. Stiern Library: http://www.lib.csub.edu/special/dustbowl.html

Lesson Six: Handout #1

The Dust Bowl (1931-1939) was a series of dust storms in the central U.S caused by a massive drought and decades of bad farming techniques. During the Dust Bowl, swirling black storm clouds (some 800 ft. high) appeared for days triggering thunder and lightening, and making the sky appear black, at times all the way to Chicago. This disaster left about 500,000 people mainly from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas homeless. Many took Route 66 to California to seek migrant farming work. One of the worst days of the Dust Bowl was April 14, 1935, a day called as, “Black Sunday.” On this day, “black blizzards” occurred throughout the dust bowl region, causing extensive damage, turning day to night, at times making it hard to see beyond five feet away.
Black Sunday, 4-14-33

QUOTE: “… a yellowishbrown haze from the South and in rolling walls of black from the North. The simplest acts of life - breathing, eating a meal, taking a walk - were no longer simple. Children wore dust masks to and from school, women hung wet sheets over windows and farmers watched helplessly as their crops blew away.”

Lesson Six:: Handout #2

Dust Bowl Years: 1931-1939
The Dust Bowl extended the Depression, and affected 2,000,000 Americans. About 200,000 people were left homeless and migrated out west to look for work. It affected the southern plains states primary, but the northern plains experienced some drought, dust, and farming decline as well. Roughly, 75% of the country was affected by the drought. The states most severely hit were: OK, AK, TX, KS, CO, and NM. Rain fell in the fall of 1939 ending the drought.

Lesson Six: Handout #3

Vocabulary List #3: The Dust Bowl
1. Black Sunday 2. Dust Bowl 3. Dust Storms 4. Erosion 5. FSA Photographers April 14, 1935, the worst day of the Dust Bowl with “black blizzards” that turned day into night. This storm caused extensive damage. Dust storms in the southern plains states caused by a massive drought and decades of bad farming techniques, from 1931-1939 A severe windstorm that sweeps clouds of dust across an extensive area, especially in a dry region. The gradual wearing away of rock or soil, by wind, water or ice. Federal Security Administration photographers such as Dorothea Lange were recruited to give a closer look at rural life during the Great Depression A camp built on the outskirts of a town during the Great Depression to house the homeless, named after the then President Hoover who was blamed for the poor economic Bringing a water supply to a dry area in order to help crops Farmers who move from one region to another searching for work or better opportunities. A derogatory term used in the 1930’s and 1940’s to describe migrant farm workers forced to flee their farms; Residents from Oklahoma; Slang A major migratory path west, used during the Dust Bowl years, that went from Chicago to California A settlement consisting of crudely built shacks during the Great Depression, appearing in cities across the United States because of the massive unemployment.

6. Hoovervilles 7. Irrigation 8. Migrant Farmers 9. Okie 10. Route 66 11. Shantytown

Lesson Six: Handout #4

Predict how the eight year drought will affected the lives of southern plain states residents and how will it impact the entire U.S….. What do you think the federal government should do to help farmers, and respond to the destruction caused by the Dust Bowl?

Lesson Six: Handout # 5 (Five pages)

“Migrant Mother” By Dorothea Lange

Dust Bowl Image, FSA Photographers
The photographs of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documented the Great Depression, showing Americans at home, work, and play, with an emphasis on rural and smalltown life. These images portrayed people making their way out West or large cities to seek a better life. FSA photographer Dorothea Lange’s image of “Migrant Mother” is one of the most famous photographs from this period. Dust Bowl Headline Montage:

Land and Sky Images of the Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl Faces…

Route 66 to California by, Foot or Car:
“Well if you ever plan to motor west Just take my way that's the highway that's the best Get your kicks on Route 66.” –Route 66

Farmers Receiving Relief Checks…

Ad to Advertise jobs for farmers.

Lesson Six: Handout # 6

Dust Bowl News Article
FLEE DUST BOWL FOR CALIFORNIA, Business Week, July 3, 1939
CALIFORNIA, California business men are watching with mixed emotions the current influx of families from the Dust Bowl which, since Jan. 1, has brought more than 30,000 persons into the state. . . . The influx is now averaging one immigrant outfit every ten minutes, and the trek has only begun. . . . Many of the newcomers are competent farmers who have lost out in the drought and are seeking greener fields in California. They're eager to work for wages on the farms, to save what they can, and eventually buy land of their own. They're decidedly in the minority. The rank and file are out to seek their fortunes in a land where, so they have been told, living is easier. The relief office is the objective of many of these, and relief costs, especially in the San Joaquin counties, are rising . . .. When the Dust Bowl people show up at the San Joaquin farmer's door asking for work, they're usually welcome, especially as heretofore employers have had to transport most of their laborers to the fields. Experience has shown, too, that most of the newcomers won't have anything to do with farm labor organizers for a time, at least, and this condition may tend to relieve the pressure of the agricultural unions on California farmers during this harvest season . . .. The addition of so great an army of immigrants to the farm areas is stimulating certain lines of retail business . . . The newcomers must eat. They must buy a certain amount of clothing (shelter, water, and wood are furnished by employers to those who work on the farms). The wages these people receive are providing many of them with the first real cash they've had in months, and they're eager to buy. Observers point out that much of this buying is not "healthy," that wages are going for down payments on radios, automobiles, cheap jewelry, rather than for necessities. On the other side of the picture, Mr. John Citizen, of the San Joaquin Valley, when questioned on the unprecedented immigration throws up his hands. For every worker that presents himself at the farmer's door asking for a job, another goes on relief with his entire family . . .. County hospitals are crowded with free patients, many of them maternity cases, neatly timed for arrival in California at the crucial moment. Schools are overwhelmed with new pupils . . .. A social worker asked one man why he had come to California. He pulled two newspaper clippings from his pocket, one from an Oklahoma paper and another from Texas. In them were unsigned advertisements painting in glowing terms the wonderful opportunities to be found in California. Are certain interests exploiting these people as ruthlessly as the steamship companies did during the days of the great immigrations from southern Europe two or three decades ago? Is here any doubt of it?
Questions to answer in your notebook: 1. What are the problems associated with the influx of large number of migrant workers in California? 2. What services are provided for migrants in California communities? 3. What is the effect of large numbers of migrant laborers on union organization in the state? 4. What comparison does the writer make between the migrant workers and the immigrants that arrived two or three decades earlier? Is this comparison accurate? *Last sentence of the article…

Lesson Six: Handout #7

Dust Bowl News Article
ALONG THE ROAD, Extracts from a Reporter's Notebook, Fortune, April 1939

CALIFORNIA- In April 1939, Fortune reported on its findings about the migrant problem in a
lengthy article entitled "I Wonder Where We Can Go Now." The magazine sent a reporter to California to live among migrants in order to gather information for the article. The April issue of Fortune included excerpts from the reporter's notebook with the feature article. The following are from the reporter's notes. In an effort to get located I went to the county camp near Shafter but when they found I did not have a tent but was living in my car they refused me admission on the grounds that it would be embarrassing to the people around me. I was just as glad as this camp was one of the dirtiest that I had seen. I decided to stay on the desert but I found that the health authorities were driving them off the desert and trying to get them into the county camp. I tried to get space in a pay camp. There I was told . . . “I'd like to rent you a space but I'm full up. I charge $2 a month. I've had to turn away seventy-five people in the last few days.” . . . So I decided to see if I could make it on the desert. The idea was to drive out about a mile or two from town sometime around dusk and then set up camp. There would generally be a dozen or more others coming on right up until dark and soon their campfires could be seen. One night I talked to a group of family people. There were three in the family, husband and wife, nineteen and eighteen respectively, and the boy's seventeen-year-old sister.. They gave the following as their yearly routine: spuds at Shafter, 'cots other side of Merced, Marysville for prunes and hops, then to the Big Valley (couldn't remember the name of it) for tomatoes. This took about six months of the year, which was their full working period . . .. The costume of the men is almost uniform. The trousers are invariably blue jeans. These, like the rest of their clothes, are many times patched and mended, usually very neatly. The clothes of the young boys are replicas of their fathers' except that they may go barefooted occasionally. Several cases of typhoid have appeared in the area [Imperial Valley] since I have been here. This is due to their habit of drinking "ditchwater," or that water which flows through the irrigation ditches. An epidemic was avoided only because a great many were vaccinated. There are at least eight, and possibly more, cases of pellagra in the camp. The cure for this disease, which may be fatal, is green vegetables or red meat. However, they have eaten starchy foods for so long that they no longer have a taste for meats and vegetables. When the doctor told one woman to feed meat to her family, she replied that they didn't like meat and wouldn't eat it. These people aren't relief-minded. I've seen them around where relief was being given out. They'd ask what the line-up was about, then say, "I've got two bucks left, I expect to get work next week, I don't want no relief.” Questions to answer in your notebook: What is the reporter's impression of conditions among the migrants? Describe the migrants’ account of their lives. What is mentioned about tell the importance of sanitation and diet? Explain the journalist’s statement, “These people aren't relief-minded.”
Lesson Six: Handout #8

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Directions: After reading the two articles, ALONG THE ROAD and FLEE DUST BOWL FOR CALIFORNIA, write a letter to the editor of Business Week, or Fortune responding to the one of the pieces. In your letter, comment about the conditions of the migrant farmers and what you think must be done for them. Do you agree with the content of the articles? Mention who (community, State of Calif., or federal government) you feel should take care of these farmers. Write from one of these roles: 1. A social worker or public health professional working with migrant farming families. 2. A teenage migrant farm worker. 3. A migrant worker new to California who has six children who lives in a “shantytown.” 4. A farmer who hires hundreds of migrant laborers and feels the conditions and work hours of the migrant workers are sufficient. 5. Mayor of a town where migrant farmers reside. 6. A migrant farmer who became a labor union organizer. 7. A spokesperson for the Associated Farmers Organization.

Lesson Six: Handout #9

FDR’s Statement on Signing the Farm Relief Bill, May 12, 1933 “I have just signed the Farm Relief Bill, which includes the refinancing of farm debts. The Act extends relief not only to farmer borrowers, but to mortgage creditors as well. Holders of farm mortgages will have the privilege of exchanging them for Federal Land Bank bonds, the interest payments upon which are to be guaranteed by the Treasury of the United States. Farmers whose mortgages are to be exchanged for these bonds will reap the benefit of lower interest rates and more liberal terms of payment. It is to the interest of all the people of the United States that the benefits of this Act should be extended to all who are in need of them and that none should be deprived of them through ignorance or precipitate action. For this reason, I appeal particularly to mortgage creditors and all others who have money claims against farmers. Every effort will be made to administer the Act promptly, considerately, and justly. All preparation that could be made in advance by officers of the Federal Land Bank system has been made. However, applications cannot be acted upon instantly. Time for examination, appraisal, and perfection of records will be necessary. I urge upon mortgage creditors, therefore, until full opportunity has been given to make effective the provisions of the mortgage refinancing sections of the Farm Relief Act, that they abstain from bringing foreclosure proceedings and making any effort to dispossess farmers who are in debt to them. I invite their cooperation with the officers of the land banks, the agents of the Farm Loan Commissioner and their farmer debtors to effect agreements which will make foreclosures unnecessary. This is in line both with public duty and private interest.” The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) of 1936: The Agricultural Adjustment Act (Public law 73-10 of May 12, 1933) restricted production during the New Deal by paying farmers to reduce crop area. Its purpose was to reduce crop surplus to raise the value of crops, thereby giving farmers relative stability again. The farmers were paid subsidies by the federal government for leaving some of their land idle. The Act created a new agency, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), to oversee the distribution of the subsidies.

Questions: 1. Give 3-4 concrete examples of how FDR “tried” to support farmers from the statement he made when signing the “Farm Relief Bill” of 1933?

2. Act?
Lesson Six: Handout #10

What were the main goals of the Agricultural Adjustment
Cartoon #2

Political Cartoons on Farming Crisis
Cartoon #1

Cartoon #3

Questions: 1. In cartoon #1, what is the view of congress on how much the government should help in the farm crisis and depression? Why is congress “rushing” out the door? 2. In cartoon #2, what is the attitude of the farmers to FDR? –Give examples. Explain the caption, “Sure, I’ll try anything once.”


Explain “why” FDR is dressed as a painter in cartoon #3? What does the paint symbolize here? Is this a positive portrayal of FDR or not?
Lesson Six: Handout #11

Farm Relief Response

St. Paul Pioneer Press, Jan. 1937
This article below from the St. Paul Pioneer Press states that the edifice that FDR’s administration build to help farmers has collapsed, and that farm relief has to go back to the drawing board. The newspaper states, “They [the farmers] have built up a prosperous commercial agriculture in the past, and will not believe that this prosperity is beyond recapture.” Many farmers became critical of the “New Deal” and Roosevelt that he wasn’t following through with its promises to them.

What can you “infer” from this article, written 4 years after the AAA was established, about what happened with the New Deal and FDR’s efforts to help farmers? How is the Pioneer Press critical of Roosevelt?

Farm Relief Response

Lesson Six: Handout #12

New York Times, August 1936 This article is critical of the New Deal’s promises to farmers

What can you “infer” from this NYT piece, published 3 years after the AAA was established, about why the farmers became major critics of the New Deal? What went wrong?

Lesson Six: Handout #13 *Optional. This can be enrichment or and homework assignment.

Directions: Below are (2) Dust Bowl photos. TITLE and WRITE a 1-page news article to accompany each picture. Date your articles some time in 1936 or 1937, a few years after the AAA agency was established. Use information from the articles read in class. • Article #1 will be in support of the New Deal and help FDR is providing farmers. • Article #2 will be critical of FDR because he’s forgotten his promises to the farmers.
Photo #1: SUPPORTIVE ARTICLE Farmers receiving their “Farm Relief” checks. The feel that FDR has made good on his promises. Photo #2: CRITICAL ARTICLE Dust Bowl damaged farm in Oklahoma, with a tractor stuck in dust. This farm is abandoned, and there is no help in sight.

Title: Article Ideas:

Title: Article Ideas:

Supplemental Resources: Lesson Six: Handout #14

Dust Bowl News Articles:
From Historic NYT

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