Dust Bowl

By : Hania M. and JoAnthony

Time Frame

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.


1939- In the fall, the rain comes, finally bringing an end to the drought. During the next few years, with the coming of World War II, the country is pulled out of the Depression and the plains once again become golden with wheat.

Social Problem

Surviving the Dust Bowl is the remarkable story of the determined people who clung to their homes and way of life, enduring drought, dust, disease—even death—for nearly a decade.But in the summer of 1931, the rains disappeared. Crops withered and died. There had always been strong winds and dust on the Plains, but now overplowing created conditions for disaster. The land became parched, the winds picked up—and the dust storms began. They rolled in without warning, blotting out the sun and casting entire towns into darkness. Afterward, there was dust everywhere—in food, in water, in the lungs of animals and people.

Leader of the movement


The leader during the dust bowl was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The following speech is what President Roosevelt had to say about the Dust Bowl.


Performed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Recorded September 6, 1936

'My friends, I have been on a journey of husbandry. I went primarily to see at first hand conditions in the drought states; to see how effectively Federal and local authorities are taking care of pressing problems of relief and also how they are to work together to defend the people of this country against the effects of future droughts.

I saw drought devastation in nine states.

I talked with families who had lost their wheat crop, lost their corn crop, lost their livestock, lost the water in their well, lost their garden and come through to the end of the summer without one dollar of cash resources, facing a winter without feed or food -- facing a planting season without seed to put in the ground.

That was the extreme case, but there are thousands and thousands of families on western farms who share the same difficulties.'

Social Effects

When the drought hit the Gre­at Plains, roughly one-third of the farmers left their homes and headed to the mild climate of California in search of migrant work.


The picure below is a father and son are slowed by a dust storm in their walk toward a shack.

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