The massive draught migration that severely hit the Great Plains forced many farmers to give up and migrate from their land. Also, other issues such as economic, political and religious caused more migrants to the USA and most of them settled in California. The migrants came at a perfect time that California was facing a shortage in the laborers. The main migrants between 1935-1945 period included the Chinese, the Irish, the African Americans, the Oakie, and Mexicans. The migrant's groups were widely accepted by the natives of the land but later faced rejection as the land, and other resources became limited. James Gregory in his book American Exodus: 'The Dust Bowl Migration and Oakie Culture in California" talks about the migration of the Oakie in California and the subcultural impact that they made to the areas that they settled. There are a variety of difference and similarities between the migration journey and settlement of the Oakie and the African Americans into California.
Most Oakies settled in the cities and urban areas with the few of them left to work in the fields while most African American were forced to work in the farms. The new cotton fields that were being plated in California demanded more workers thus the African Americans who migrated to California found themselves in these farms. Most of the Oakies were not poverty-stricken, and therefore this made them opt to stay in urban areas. The Oakies were much more lured by the pull of the California state than by the push of the Dust Bowl. The few Oakies that found themselves in the rural of central Valley worked as workers in the Industrial agriculture (Guttmann et al. 707). Contrary to the Oakies, the African Americans were farm labors and tenant farmers. They took the opportunities to work in the farm ino9rder to leave their oppressive economic conditions that existed in the south.
The main reason why the Oakies went as migrants to California was to escape the Great Dust Bowl that could later to lead to greater areas affected by drought while the African Americans were motivated to move by their economic conditions (Gregory, 17). The great Dust Bowl presented cases of famine thus leaving most people from Oklahoma no choice but to find ways to bounce back to life that meant migration to the California state. The African American Americans main aim was to create wealth from working so that they could eliminate the high poverty levels that they were already facing.
The Oakies developed their subculture that was very distinctive. James describes this as Americanism which means a way that emphasized toughness and resilience. On the other hand, the African Americans worked under the powers that were present therefore becoming subjects. The Oakie refused to be assimilated by the community and thus decided to uphold their cultures in a strange land. The African Americans, on the other hand, came into California with the aim of wealth acquisition for the elimination of poverty thus they found themselves obedient under the laws that could provide them with work to earn a living.
The Oakies Faced hostility, and most of them were considered as people who could not perform causal labor. However, to the African Americans, they were seen as good farmers who were docile. The hostility that was faced by the African Americans was as a result of racism. They were seen as lesser people that could not work in other sectors of the society. This hostility made the blacks that had already secured jobs in the industrial areas unable to move to more lucrative jobs. The Oakies, however, could not deliver the equal amount of work in the farms that the natives expected of them.
Both the Oakies and the African Americans moved to California due economic and political and religious drives. The Oakies were avoiding the draught that had hit as a result of the Dust Bowl. Increasing in wealth was a major drive for the migration of these two groups. African American worked hard and used the money to buy freedom for their other slaves. The high demand for workers to work in the rapidly developing technological industries and the massively grown cotton fields made the African- Americans and the Oakies prefer settlement in California. The motivation of both groups was a desire to get away from the oppressive economic conditions that had spread due to draught in most areas. Other industries wherever desperate for workers that the migration that took place into California was because the companies paid for the movement of these workers.
Political and religious are other main issues that the Oakies and the African Americans withheld when they migrated in California. The two major cultural heritages of the Okies were protectionism and country music. The Oakies observed their different belief in religion (Brettell, Caroline & Hollifield, 24). The African Americans also believed and engaged in politics of the state. Unlike the African American's who most of them were unlearned, The Oakies were viewed as the educated groups of individuals who decided not to be assimilated by the natives of the land.
California did not provide the specific expectations of the migrants of both groups. The state decided to reject many border entries of the migrants with a reason that the country had had enough. This was disappointing because the journey that both groups had gone through was difficult. Most of the African Americans arrived through the long route of trade, and similarly, the Oakies arrived from a tough journey of long walks of draught (Guttmann et al. 14). Also, the arrival of both groups altered the culture, political and religious of the country.
In Conclusion, the journey to California which was the alleged promised land was tough for both the African Americans and that Oakies. The primary drive of the Okies migration in California was the Dust Bowl. However, the main cause of the African American migration was to escape the oppressive economic conditions that they faced. California was ready for more migrants as a result of the many job opportunities that were present. Many industries and farms in California were looking for readily available labor to work in their fields that needed more and more thousands of workers. However, California could not take any more migrants after a period because the fields were already field by migrants. Both groups faced hostility by the natives of California and also both had an aim of escaping from unbearable conditions of wherever they were coming from (Brettell, Caroline & Hollifield, 24). In the stay in California, the Oakies were the most difficult to assimilate as they came with their culture while the African Americans were found to be easily absorbed. The African American and the Oakie ordeal in Californian are different but similar in many ways.
Brettell, Caroline B., and James F. Hollifield. "INTRODUCTION Migration Theory Talking Across Disciplines." Migration theory. Routledge, 2014. 13-48.
Gregory, James Noble. American exodus: the dust bowl migration and Okie culture in California. Oxford University Press, USA, 1991.
Gutmann, Myron P., et al. "Migration in the 1930s: beyond the dust bowl." Social science history 40.4 (2016): 707-740.
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