What was life like during the Dust Bowl? How did the people live their lives?

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The Dust Bowl was a major ecological disaster in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. When a drought started in the early 1930's the land became incredibly dry and barren. This was the result of years of abuse of the land through improper farming methods. Agricultural production declined. Powerful windstorms...

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The Dust Bowl was a major ecological disaster in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. When a drought started in the early 1930's the land became incredibly dry and barren. This was the result of years of abuse of the land through improper farming methods. Agricultural production declined. Powerful windstorms swept across the flatland sweeping millions of tons of topsoil into the air. The scenes of these dust storms were quite menacing. They were also quite dangerous, causing serious respiratory illness and even death if proper cover was not taken. Many animals perished as dust filled their lungs and stomach.

Around a quarter of the population moved west, most heading to California. These people came to be called Exodusters, a clever reference that combined the name of the event with the story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt. Those that stayed behind endured a decade of hardship. The people that stayed had to take extraordinary precautions to keep the dust out of their homes. They hung wet sheets up to cover the screens and all openings. They continued to plant, waiting for the rain that did not come. Farmers banded together to encourage one another. Despite the major difficulties they faced, most stayed and started to utilize new techniques to conserve the topsoil. The rains finally arrived in 1939, putting an end to everybody's misery.

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