Learning Exercise

The Migrant Experience: Voices from the Dust Bowl

The site offers primary sources including photographs, audio recordings, and contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, to detail the migration experience of workers from the Great Plains to California during the early 1940s.
Course: United States History

This site archives the experience of migrant workers in camps in central California in 1940 and 1941. The collection... see more


Instructions: Once on the site scroll down the page until "The Migrant Experience" appears on the left side of the page. Click on that title. Read the introduction and click on the various newspaper articles, photographic collections, audiotapes, and contemporary magazine articles about the Migrants from the Dust Bowl. After collecting the information write a 5-7 page paper answering the following questions: 1)What caused the people of the Plains to move?; 2)Why did they pick California?; 3)What difficulties did they encounter while traveling?; 4)How did they endure the hardships they faced?; 5)Did California want them to come?; 6)Was the trip worth the cost?; 7)What lessons can we as a nation learn from this experience?
Additional Information: None.


Technical Notes



Computer skills.


United States History
The FDR Presidency

Learning Objectives

To acquaint students with a major internal migration within the United States prior to World War II.
To acquaint students with prejudice and bias of California residents against the migratory poor of the Great Plains.
To acqaint students with the culture of the Dust Bowl.