Posts Tagged ‘Dust Bowl’

Woody Guthrie at 100 with Amy Goodman

In art, history of art, interview, music, North America, politics, video on January 29, 2013 at 18:32

From: Woody Guthrie at 100: Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, Will Kaufman Honor the “Dust Bowl Troubadour” with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!,

“Woody’s original songs, the songs that he wrote back in the 1930s … with these images of people losing their houses to the banks, of gamblers on the stock markets making millions, when ordinary working people can’t afford to make ends meet, and of people dying for want of proper free healthcare, you know, this song could have been written anytime in the last five years, really, in the United States of America,” says Bragg, who has long been inspired by Guthrie.

WILL KAUFMAN: Some of those Dust Bowl ballads come out of, really, his late teens and early twenties, you know. Then he joined about half-a-million other migrants heading westwards towards California, where they had heard there was lots of work out there—and, of course, they were wrong. And it’s there in California when Woody gets—he sort of hooks up with the right people, I suppose, and gets involved in the Popular Front out there in California, and this is the beginning of—really, of his politicization. As you said, began writing columns for the People’s World out there and—in Los Angeles, and got a show on a progressive radio station, KFVD, out in Los Angeles, and begins to circulate around the migrant camps, where the Okies, as they were pejoratively called, were living in old dwellings of tar, paper and tin and old packing crates and the bodies of abandoned cars, under railroad bridges, by the side of rivers and what have you, and getting their heads broken when they dared to organize into unions. And Woody began to witness that and began to write about it. And so, he began to see music as a political weapon then.

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Reposted according to copyright notice from: Democracy Now! website




Remembering the Dust Bowl by Gabriel Thoumi

In ecology, history, North America, society on November 17, 2012 at 18:33

From: Remembering the Dust Bowl: it could happen again by Gabriel Thoumi, Mongabay,

By 1880s, the immeasurable bison herds of the Great Plains had been slaughtered and the Beef Bonanza began. Then severe winters killed the cattle herds bankrupting the cattle industry. Next the homesteaders moved in with promises of an Eden where any person, whether a suitcase in-town farmer or a rugged homesteader, could feed their family and make money off the land. Fueled by the global wheat boom of the 1910s and 1920s, the “Great Plow-Up” began when homesteaders plowed under tens of millions of acres of native buffalo grass in the Southern Great Plains for wheat production.

    “This wind-driven dust, fine as the finest flour, penetrates wherever air can go.” – Caroline Henderson, Oklahoma

With too much wheat under crop, most of the native grasses plowed under, and drought occurring, black dirt and sand dust bowl storms began to ravage the southern Great Plains. These storms could be 100 miles long with 60 mile an hour winds and would turn day into night, covering crops, destroying homes, and in the worst cases smothering all life in their path.

    “It was just unbelievable. It’d blister your face. It would put your eyes out.” – Pauline Robertson, New Mexico

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Reposted with permission from: Mongabay

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