Nov 20, 2012

THE DUST BOWL...A Film by Ken Burns

A young boy in dust storm, Oklahoma, 1936. Photo Arthur Rothstein
Last night while program guide surfing I was fortunate to come across part 2 of the THE DUST BOWL the fantastic new film by Academy Award nominated producer /director Ken Burns. Having already been a fan of previous Burns' work including 1994's Baseball and 2001's Jazz, I figured his treatment of this subject would be top notch. The film far surpassed my expectations and put into perspective the plight of the mid west farmers of the Depression Era 1930's, the man-made destruction and restoration of the southern Plains along with the migration west to California in search of a fresh start and new life. 

The FSA photography of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange along with the film The Grapes of Wrath have long been a source of enjoyment and inspiration and Burn's Dust Bowl documentary helps to share some of the history behind those iconic images and story.
Migrant man working on a headlight. Oklahoma, 1939. Photo Russell Lee
Migrant boys in auto. Oklahoma 1939. Photo Russell Lee
Migrant man looking up at billboard. Iowa, 1940. Photo John Vachon
We highly recommend you check your local listings or hit the link for the PBS rebroadcast schedule of THE DUST BOWL including The Great Plow Up (part 1) and Reaping the Whirlwind (part 2).

Browse the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration photos here.

Also check out our friend Matt Strickland's informative blog RivetHEAD for his photo of the day, many featuring Depression Era thru 1950's American workers.


  1. Really enjoyed it, my family were Oakies, so it was like seeing old family photos and stories on screen. I just love that first photo in this set.

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