Voices from the Dustbowl
Produced by Barrett Golding
Edited by Jeff Rogers
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Sonkin and Todd kept a journal of their experiences.
Read a listing of Names of Dustbowl Refugees heard in this story.
For more information about the Dust Bowl, visit the American Folklife Center, library of congress.
Frank and Myra Pipkins being recorded by Charles Todd. 1941
Photo by Robert Herring. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
In 1940 two sound recordists, Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin, traveled
California central valley-- the flat, agricultural land that Steinbeck
wrote about in
The Grapes of Wrath. There, hundreds of refugees from Arkansas and
Oklahoma had gathered- an exodus from their drought ridden and
Depression ravaged homelands. Dispatched by the Library of Congress,
Todd and Sonkin set off to create an audio oral history of the lives of
these Dust Bowl refugees.
Many of the refugee farmers made their new homes in Migratory Labor
for them by the Farm Security Administration. There, despite great
displacement, they created a vibrant community. The sounds of their new
the storytelling, love ballads, debates and square dance calls of a
transit-- were captured in these evocative recordings by Todd, Sonkin
and a fifty
pound "Presto" disc recorder.
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Copyright © 2000 The Kitchen Sisters