Okies
In the 1930s, many peole from Oklahoma moved west to California. These people were usually described with the term "Okie." The Dust Bowl was causing crops in Oklahoma to be poor. The Okies couldn't make a profit on the bad crops and were forced off their land. The families, having no other option, packed up all their belongings and family members and set off down Route 66 to California; a supposedly better life. When they arrived in California, they were not warmly welcomed. There was little work, low wages, unfair treatment, and their hopes of having their own land were crushed.

Okies driving to California.
Okies driving to California.


"Okies - the owners hated them because the owners knew they were soft and the Okies strong, that they were fed and the Okies hungry; and perhaps the owners had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and armed." - The Grapes of Wrath

Okies often had to deal with car problems such as bad tires, broken fan belts, and no gas money along the way.
Okies often had to deal with car problems such as bad tires, broken fan belts, and no gas money along the way.

Interview with Apetz Brothers on Leaving for California


"Oh yeah, there were quite a few – not quite – there was a number of people that left here and went to California during what they called the Dirty Thirties. Yeah."
Question: "And what happened to them?"
Alvin Apetz: "They went to work out there."
Delbert Apetz: "Stayed out there."
Alvin Apetz: "Stayed out there."
Delbert Apetz: "Like the Roths and different ones. [The] whole family just went out there. That's where they stayed."
Question: "That's a fairly desperate act."
Delbert Apetz: "Tieckens. John Tieckens whole family went. If you stop and think you can name quite a few people from this area that moved out – because there was nothing here. No."
Question: "Why California?"
Delbert Apetz: "Well, that was the biggest place to go to."
Alvin Apetz: "They had work out there. They had work out there."
Delbert Apetz: "I mean, that was a prosperous state."

Many Okies were poor and couldn't afford to buy the latest fashions.
Many Okies were poor and couldn't afford to buy the latest fashions.