California During the Great Depression

Topics: Great Depression, United States, 1930s / Pages: 4 (782 words) / Published: Jul 10th, 2013
Karen Rusli Rusli 1
HIST 338
Dr. Bryan Lamkin
24 May 2013 California During the Great Depression The 1930s was not the best time period for California, the U.S., or the world. When the stock market crashed in 1929 in the United States, it set off the most severe economic depression in the Western world. On top of all of that, a severe drought hit the Southern and Midwestern plains in 1931 just two years after the stock market crashed. This became known as the Dust Bowl. In the Dust Bowl, crops literally blew away in “black blizzards” as years of poor farming practices and over-cultivation combined with the lack of rain (Calisphere, 2013). As a result, many farmers were put out of business. It seemed that things were getting much worse because now farmers were not getting any source of income since their crops were destroyed. They needed to try to find some other way to make a living. Therefore, in the early 1930s, thousands of Dust Bowl refugees packed up their families and migrated west hoping to find jobs. Entire families migrated together in search of a better life (Calisphere, 2013). There were about 200,000 out of 2.5 million immigrants that left the Midwestern states that migrated to California. They joined a population that was already facing massive unemployment and low wages, so these migrants were made employment even more difficult, and more strikes occurred. Many of the 200,000 migrants have heard that California had better working and living conditions than other western states. One of the migrants, Edgar Combs, mentioned that he first moved to Washington but then he moved to California because of the working conditions. He said, “I lived in the state of Washington for ten and a half years, and I
Rusli 2 didn’t like the climate. It rained too much there and I had to work outside all the time so I came to California…” (Walter W. Stiern Library, 2006). He did not like the working conditions in Washington, and he heard that the weather in



Bibliography: “1929-1939: The Great Depression.” Calisphere. Web. 2013. http://www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu/themed_collections/topics4.html “Oral History Interviews.” Walter W. Stiern Library. California State University Bakersfield, 2006. Web. http://www.csub.edu/library/special/dustbowl/interviews.shtml

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