Okies: Pleasure and Perseverance

Did you know not all Okies are from Oklahoma? And not all Okies migrated west throughout the Fantastic Despair.

I’m an Okie. An Oklahoman, and very pleased of it. I grew up in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Reckless farming tactics in the early a long time of the 20th century had stripped the region of the grasslands which as soon as guarded the soil. With out humidity or deal with crops, under no circumstances-ending windstorms whipped across the prairie to create the ecological catastrophe of the Dust Bowl.

John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, manufactured the phrase a nationwide epithet. Established in the Wonderful Depression of the 1930s, the story focuses on a household migrating from Oklahoma to California to escape the hardships of the significant drought that withered the Wonderful Plains during the Despair. A celebrated Hollywood movie edition, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was built in 1940. The two the novel and the film have become legendary portrayals of the challenges endured by Oklahomans in the course of the Excellent Despair.

Out of that time of personal debt, desperation, and despair, hundreds of countless numbers of impoverished people today of not only the plains states but also the japanese seaboard migrated west as the Good Depression deepened. And a lot of of them came to be tagged as Okies. Literally.

It took place this way… Newly elected Governor “Alfalfa Bill” Murray mandated the development of the Oklahoma Tax Commission in 1931, with a car registration division. Other states hadn’t enforced their auto registration regulations, so countless numbers of vacationers arrived at the Okay state line tagless.

Alright cops started stopping any motor vehicle with out a tag, irrespective of residency. For the privilege of crossing Oklahoma en route to the Golden West, spend a price-get your tag. No tag, no go. And that, my beloved, is how lots of Tarheels, Tennesseans, Mudcats, Georgians, and the like, arrived to be labeled alike.

When I built my exodus to Oregon in 1968, I was astonished that some of the locals referred to ramshackle settlements as Okie cities, “Okieville,” for case in point. Genuinely, they did not know who they ended up talking about.

Most of people who moved west were being without a doubt poor whites, hoping to uncover a greater existence. Some noticed the migrants as quitters but numerous native Oklahomans have kin who made the trip down Route 66, and most are proud of their kin who created great out west. My fifty percent-brother was a toolpusher on a drilling rig off the Santa Barbara coastline.

Okies became recognised by their Oklahoma twang, their pride in getting distinctive, and their perseverance and grit in the encounter of obstacles that would quit other individuals. That toughness formed the spine of what later on became recognised as The Best Era.