Dust Bowl Migration

570 Words3 Pages
In the book, American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California, James N. Gregory attempts to change readers perspective of stereotypes created by artist during the Great Depression, such as those created by John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and Dorthea Lange’s photograph of the “Migrant Mother”. In his book, Gregory “takes us back to the dust bowl migration” to reveal that there is more to Oklahoman, Arkansan, Texan, and Missourian immigrants than economic hardship. He focuses on regionalism, and an “Okie” subculture that was created due to the high rate of migration to California. Gregory sets out to prove that they also had a mass effect on Californian culture and social patterns.
Using extremely efficient primary
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Unlike Steinbeck 's family in The Grapes of Wrath, Gregory highlights that majority of families migrating to California did so because they already had family or “kinfolk” in the area that they were migrating to, supporting his claim that the Okie subculture in California held great importance. This subculture did influence California in good and bad ways. One example of this is the Okie attitude towards blacks was much less tolerant than those who resided in California prior to the massive migration. Their intolerance allowed for Ku Klux Klan activity in southern California. In addition, Gregory uses religion as well as music as a prime example of Southwestern influence on Californian culture. As stated in the beginning of chapter 7, “One needs only be within radio range of the southern San Joaquin Valley today to hear the Southwestern influence... mostly the dial belongs to country music and religious stations.” Highlighting the evangelical overtaking of southern California, as well as the overtaking of country music on many radio stations due to vast amount of requests from migrants. However, Gregory’s encouragement that Okie culture influenced the whole of Californian culture falls short when it is realized that he only focuses on a few select parts of southern California throughout his book. It is hard to say if Okie culture truly had an effect on the entire country, let alone the entire
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