OKIES

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an okie mother and her child


Okie is defined as a migrant farmer especially from Oklahoma. In the 1930's it became a derogitory word. It was used to describe "white" migratory farmers. The term Okie was hardly ever used to describe African Americans.
Okies traveled westward from the midwestern drought and the cotton growing states. The place they were headed was the state of California. Approximately 375,000 Okies and Arkies migrated to California during the 1930's. They were in search of better jobs and better lives. The main road that Okies used to travel to California was Route 66.


The term "Okie" was at its lowest level of acceptence after the publishing of John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath.

"Well, Okie use' ta mean you was from Oklahoma. Now it means . . . you're scum. Don't mean nothing itself, it's the way they say it (Steinbeck 206)."
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In 1937 California decided to pass an "Anti-Okie law" which prohibited the bringing of a poverty-stricken person into California.





Househero5. “(Okie) Bye Bye Bye” by Oak-Town (2000).” Youtube. 10 Feb. 2007. 7 Mar. 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4o4JZDFOo>.

Motherly Love eases Oklahoma Dust-Bowl Hardship. Flickr. 14 Aug. 2006. 8 Mar. 2009 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjman/215390433>.

“Okie.” Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. 7 Mar. 2009 <http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/index.html>.

‘Okies driving to California’. Art of the Great Depression. 2 May 2008. 8 Mar. 2009 <http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/fil/pages/listthegreaju.html>.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Group, 2002.

Stout Family Homestead. Flickr. 16 Sept. 2006. 8 Mar. 2009 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/244738852>