The Great Depression Migrant Farm Workers And


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  • 1. Inventory the items in this picture - list all nouns. 2. Who is in this picture? 3. Where is the picture set? 4. When is the picture set? Time of day, time of year? 5. What story does this picture tell? 6. What emotional, moral, or legal questions does the picture raise? 7. What event do you think happened before this photo was taken? What will happen next?
  • The Great Depression Migrant Farm Workers And

    1. 1. The Great Depression, Migrant Farm Workers and Of Mice and Men
    2. 2. The 1930’s <ul><li>The Great Depression, severe drought in Midwest-dust bowl-forces shift to urban </li></ul><ul><li>Spurs industrialization-less labor needed </li></ul><ul><li>Labor unions grow-strikes </li></ul><ul><li>Roosevelt-Nat’l Labor Relations Act facilitates unionization </li></ul><ul><li>Communism—popular social movement- “red decade” </li></ul><ul><li>Social Security Act, repeal prohibition, New Deal </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Dust bowl
    4. 4. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>Economic problems and severe labor strife </li></ul><ul><li>Labor conflicts—docks, packing sheds, and fields </li></ul><ul><li>Steinbeck wrote about their struggles in Of Mice and Men </li></ul><ul><li>1938—half the nation’s grain harvested by combines—took only five men, compared to 350 </li></ul>
    5. 5. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>Roaming men followed harvests—essential </li></ul><ul><li>1900—125,000 migrants traveled along route from Minnesota to Washington state. </li></ul><ul><li>Rail and empty boxcars </li></ul><ul><li>Paid $2.50--$3.00/day plus room </li></ul><ul><li>and board—often a tent </li></ul>
    6. 6. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>World War I—wages rose because of Industrial Workers of the World—800 mile picket line across Great Plains states </li></ul><ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Late 1930’s 200,000-350,000 migrants underpaid, underfed and underemployed </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, California’s agricultural system could not exist without migrant workers </li></ul>
    7. 7. Migrant Workers
    8. 8. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>Farms became “food factories” </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers- “absentee owners” who remained in city offices </li></ul><ul><li>“Farming” was more like an industry like lumber and oil </li></ul><ul><li>End 1930’s—1/3 large scale in US were in CA, trend toward corporate farming </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraged low wage foreign workers </li></ul>
    9. 9. Jobless Men
    10. 10. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>“Bindle-stiffs”—white Americans among the migrants, single, followed harvests </li></ul><ul><li>No union representation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No money to pay dues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Move too much </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unskilled workers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cannery and Agricultural </li></ul><ul><li>Workers Industrial Union— </li></ul><ul><li>Communist led union </li></ul>
    11. 11. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>By mid 1934—led 50 strikes, claimed to raise wages by 2 cents </li></ul><ul><li>Summer 1934 union broken by anti-Communist activities of employers and state authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Trial—convicted of treason </li></ul><ul><li>Later freed and appealed </li></ul><ul><li>Workers and strike breakers battled </li></ul>
    12. 12. Agriculture during the Great Depression <ul><li>After harvest workers weren’t needed </li></ul><ul><li>Growers wouldn’t pay all year </li></ul><ul><li>Steady work impossible </li></ul><ul><li>Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men when becoming involved in CA’s social and economic problems </li></ul><ul><li>WWII absorbed many workers, “bindle stiffs” disappeared from American culture </li></ul>
    13. 13. Criticism <ul><li>Popular at first, criticized after The Grapes of Wrath </li></ul><ul><li>Dismissed as communist or leftist </li></ul><ul><li>Still read by public </li></ul><ul><li>“Compassion balanced by an objective view of the world and man” </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most frequently challenged books by school censors today </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>“ The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men </li></ul><ul><li>Gang aft agley” </li></ul><ul><li>—Robert Burns, “To a Mouse” </li></ul>