The Worst Hard Time

The Worst Hard Time


Timothy Egan

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A migrant from the Great Plains who went to California, often arriving on foot, to look for work. Many farmers left the Great Plains during the Great Depression. “Okie,” a pejorative which was intended to refer to people from the Southern Plains, particularly those from Oklahoma, was a bit of a misnomer. Most of the people who went to California were not from the Southern Plains. In fact, most nesters in the Southern Plains remained home, even during the worst of the Dust Bowl. Still, Okies had a poor reputation, aided by stereotypes about people from the Southern Plains. Those who made it to California’s Central Valley were met with signs that said, “Okies and Dogs Not Allowed Inside.”
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Okie Term Timeline in The Worst Hard Time

The timeline below shows where the term Okie appears in The Worst Hard Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 17: A Call to Arms
Economic Hardship and Lessons of the Great Depression Theme Icon
Environmental Devastation and the Dust Bowl Theme Icon
...California, where many had sought shelter. People from the Southern Plains were roundly described as “Okies” and faced discrimination. Only 16,000 of the 221,000 who moved to California came from the... (full context)