People in the Plains States were particularly hard hit with a severe drought, dust storms, and the Depression. Many came west to find work. So many migrated from Oklahoma, they become known as “Okies.”
The “Okies” were also trying to escape the “Dust Bowl,” a series of dust storms that caused major agricultural damage to the Great Plains from 1930 to 1936. At times, the clouds blackened the sky all the way to California. Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of families were forced to leave their homes.
Farmers sometimes allowed migrant workers and families to camp while they were harvesting crops. This often led to “squatter camps” where people began living in thrown- together shacks. Squatter’s shack
Dorothea Lange’s photo, “Migrant Mother,” perhaps the most famous image from the Great Depression
John Steinbeck John Steinbeck (1902- 1968) was one of the best-known and most widely read American writers of the 20th century. Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley region of California, an agricultural area, a diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history.
In 1937, John Steinbeck published his novella “Of Mice and Men,” the tragic story of two migrant ranch workers, George and Lennie, during the Great Depression in California.
Of Mice and Men The title is taken from Robert Burns' poem, To a Mouse, often quoted as: "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Required reading in many American, Australian, British, New Zealand, and Canadian high schools, Of Mice and Men has been a frequent target of censors for what some consider "offensive" and "vulgar" language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association's list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.