The Origin of Migrant Farmworkers Essay

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The Mexican Migrant Farm Workers’ community formed in Southern California in the 20th century because of two factors that came together: farming emphasized by migrations like the Okie farmers from the East and Mexicans “imported” to the U.S. because of the need for cheap labor as a replacement of Americans during World War II. The migrant labor group formed after an already similar group in the U.S had been established in California, the American farm workers from the East, known as the Okies. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s caused the movement of the Okies to the West and was followed by the transition from American dominant farm labor to Mexican migrant labor. The Okies reinforced farming in California through the skills they took with them,…show more content…
Thousands of families journeyed to California, settling in San Joaquin Valley. From 1930 to 1936, the Dust Bowl caused damages in agriculture in the Central Valleys all the way to the East Coast of the U.S. At the time, the majority of the farmers were from Oklahoma, in other words, they were American. Although most of the farmers fleeing the Dust Bowl were U.S born, some were Mexican-Americans living in Texas, Arizona and the states closer to the border (Gregory). However, this event did not fully give rise to the Mexican Migrant Farm Workers’ community. It was instead, the beginnings of successful farm labor in the valleys of California, which transformed California’s view towards farming. California seemed perfect, the climate was good for a diversity of crops and it promised a lot to the desolated farmers from the East. Why was this significant to the formation of the Mexican Migrant community? In other words, if the Dust Bowl would not have happened, then farm labor would have not been as significant in California as it is. Californians would have continued mining and building factories in soils that today, are used primarily for agriculture. James N. Gregory, professor at the University of Washington argues that “The twentieth century drained rural Americans from the land as surely as it improved the technology and efficiency of farming” as he discusses the effects of the
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