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Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945
The Dust Bowl
Life in the Camps - Photograph Collage

Many of the Dust Bowl migrants sought seasonal farm work in the warm climates of California, Texas, and Florida, where they would plant, maintain, and harvest fruit and vegetables. In the early days of the migration, once work was found, the migrants would set up temporary housing on public lands or in dry riverbeds just outside the towns or off the farms they were working. Most often, shelter would take the form of canvas tents or wood lean-tos. In 1937, the Farm Security Act (FSA) provided for the building of permanent migrant camp facilities in and around the rich agricultural areas. The photos that follow picture various types of migrant camp housing. What words come to mind as you view the migrant camps? What do you think life was like in these camps? Why do you think the government got involved in building camps like the one in Visalia? In what ways do you think life improved in the FSA migrant camps?

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tent camp

Tent camp of migrants, Harlingen, Texas

migrant camp, Texas

Migrant camp, Weslaco, Texas

migrant camp, California

Migrant camp, California

labor home, California

Visalia migratory labor camp, California


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Click on the photographs to view larger images. View additional images from FSA/OWI Photographs, 1935-1945.Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.