Guthrie considered the Dust Bowl migrants
to be his people.
Of all the grim spectacles created by the Great Depression, none has won a stronger hold on the American imagination than the travails of the Dust Bowl migrants.
Even by broad definition, the so-called Dust Bowl migrants were only about a third of the more than one million migrants from around the nation who journeyed to California during the 1930s.
It was these "Okies" (as they came to be called, at first with derogatory intent) who ended up, for the most part, in the farming communities of the San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys--and before long, thanks to Steinbeck, Lange, and others, in the American imagination as "the Dust Bowl migrants.
The Dust Bowl migrants never did become a rural proletariat.
Weisiger differs, however, by focusing only on the wave of Dust Bowl migrants
and, even more narrowly, with in that wave on the displaced tenant farmers of Oklahoma.
Steinbeck envisioned the Dust Bowl migrants
as unwilling revolutionaries, but as historian Charles Wollenberg has noted, they instead settled into the complacency common to the rest of America.
Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present compares artistic interpretations of homelessness from the Dust Bowl migrants
of the 1930s to the stigmatized street people of today--with a focus on California.
During the Second World War many of the Central Valley Dust Bowl migrants moved nearer the defense plants, particularly around Los Angeles, to work.
During the mid-1930s, Guthrie hoboed to California as the troubadour of the Dust Bowl migrants.
The novel, which chronicled the bleak plight of Dust Bowl migrants
to California, was widely perceived as being just this side of socialist propaganda.
The paving project opened up California to waves of Dust Bowl migrants
and those uprooted by the Great Depression.