California and the Dust Bowl Migration

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Greenwood Press, 1973 - History - 302 pages
With the publication of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath in 1939, the plight of California's Okies was publicized across the nation. More than any other state, California had always welcomed new arrivals. Late in the 1930s, however, its usually good temper towards migrants exploded. Why was such hostility focused on these newcomers from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas and not on all migrants? Weren't they old-stock, white Protestants like the midwesterners who had entered the state earlier in the century? At first their overloaded jalopies were scarcely noticed, but eventually one third of a million Okies fled to California. California agribusiness had little to offer except field work, supplanting the Mexican and Filipino crop pickers. The cost of maintaining the destitute Okies fell upon the counties; taxpayers reacted with alarm. The white, native-born Okies inherited the prejudice Californians had previously reserved for its racial minorities. The Okies were not the cause, but the focus of a number of problems confronting the state, problems over which they had little control.--From publisher description.

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The Okie Impact
The Rise of the Migrant Problem

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