Throughout California history, migrant groups have been coming to the state to find freedom, land, economy and luck. One of the most influential of these groups were the migratory 'Okies' who came to California to work in its agricultural areas. In the 1930s about 300,000 Okies migrated from the Dust Bowl to California. They came for a variety of reasons, but mostly, to begin again with a new chance in a new home. The Okies who went to work in California's farms left the terrible situation of the Dust Bowl hoping for improvement and ended up in a situation almost as bad as the one they had left. Instead of the "Land of Milk and Honey" that had been promised, they found discrimination, hard work, low pay and terrible living conditions. The objects of derision from the more fortunate, and unfamiliar with some of the work they found, the migratory Okies were shoved to the bottom rung of the social ladder and held there. Yet, despite this inauspicious beginning to a new life in California, the migratory Okies did not give up, nor did they lose their cultural identity like their urbanized Okie brethren did. Instead, they banded together, joining the old with the new, blending their traditional ideals, music, dances, and beliefs with new California experiences. Although the Okies who came to work in California's agriculture were plagued by bad luck, poverty, and isolation and discrimination from locals, they did not surrender to their misfortunes and go home (for in many cases there was no home left to go to) but instead persevered and in the end combined all the elements of their unique and calamity-ridden experiences to form a permanent Okie subculture in California.
|Project Homepage||History of the Dust Bowl||Okie Life in California||Okie Subculture in California|
|Works Cited||Related Links||About this Project||A Printable Version of My Paper|