American Dust Bowl: School (1930s)

dust bowl
Figure 1.-- Moms tried to dress the children in protective clothing making use of what they had at hand. In the towns this was not such a problem. The walks were relatively short along well defined streets wuith lots of houses along the way. In the rural areas, walking home could be dangerous during a powerful storm. Some of the children were very young, as young as 6 years old. Getting home could be very dangerous, especially if they did not have older siblings. These children are especially well oufitted before setting off for school..

Going to school proved a special challenge during the Dust Bowl. Both the parents and teachers did what tghey could. This included both while the children were still at home and then after they fled their homes. While still at home there were both town schools and small rural one-room schools. Most of the children walked to school. Moms tried to dress the children in protective clothing making use of what they had at hand. In the towns this was not such a problem. The walks were relatively short along well defined streets with lots of houses along the way. In the rural areas, walking home could be dangerous during a powerful storm. Some of the children were very young, as young as 6 years old. Getting home could be very dangerous, especially if they did not have older siblings with them. Farm roads could be easily covered over during a bad storm. In fact cars and even homes were covered over. Teachers had to keep their eyes on the sky for any hint of of a storm so she would close the school early and make sure the children got home safely. Students were also sent home from school to prevent 'dust pneumonia'. Sometimes the teacher kept them at school overnight when a storm came on too quickly. If the teacher thought it was just too dangerous to try to walk home in the dust, wind, and rduced visibility, they just hunkered down at school. Most of the people of the Souther Plains stayed in lace, soecially the town population. Large numbers of farmers fled their homes, often when their mortgages were foreclosed. If they took to the road, the children generally went without schools. There were no government programs to asisst them. Emergency farm-labor camps sprang up on the fringes of the Dust Bowl, espoecially on the way to Califirnia. Some organized their own schools in these camps as a stop-gap measure. Superintendent Leo Hart and some 50 Okie kids built their own school in a field at Weedpatch Camp. [Stanley]

Sources

Stanley, Jerry. Children ofthe Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp







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Created: 1:38 AM 11/8/2013
Last updated: 1:38 AM 11/8/2013