The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning novel about an Oklahoma family, the Joads, traveling west to California during the Dust Bowl, turned 75 this year. It was published April 14, 1939, and, as the work in this issue of This Land proves, still speaks to the struggle of Americans toiling through hardship, enduring, and heading toward something they hope will be better. Here’s a preview of what’s inside:
DISPATCHES FROM THE WEEDPATCH CAMP: Thomas Conner visits the Dust Bowl Festival in Lamont, California, where Okies all over the country converge in a place that became home for them during the Dust Bowl diaspora of the 1930s, and where they’re reclaiming, with pride, what was once a hateful slur.
THE DUST BOWL INTERVIEWS: Amy Gastelum interviewed 16 Dust Bowl survivors, whose lessons about surviving disappointment of a grand scale remain relevant to the current Occupy Wall Street generation. Read two of those interviews.
THE NEW JOADS: The same essential human drama at play in the migration of Oklahomans into California during the Dust Bowl is at work today, in the migration of Latinos into the United States. Brian Ted Jones explains.
GATEWAY TO AMERICA: The meatpacking industry is turning rural Kansas into a giant melting pot, and citizens of the region have managed to embrace a level of diversity that has torn other communities apart. By Benet Magnuson.
ORIGINAL OKIE: Bill Crawford played baseball with Mickey Mantle while working in the mines of Cardin, Oklahoma. He now lives in Miami, Oklahoma.