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The Dust Bowl: A Film By Ken Burns

posted on November 29, 2012

The Dust Bowl: A Film By Ken Burns

A new film by Ken Burns airs on IPTV November 18 and 19. The film chronicles the environmental catastrophe that--throughout the 1930s--destroyed the farmlands of the Great Plains, turned prairies into deserts, and unleashed a pattern of massive, deadly dust storms that for many seemed to herald the end of the world. It was the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. The Dust Bowl is also a story of heroic perseverance against enormous odds: families finding ways to survive and hold onto their land, New Deal programs that kept hungry families afloat, and a partnership between government agencies and farmers to develop new farming and conservation methods.

The Dust Bowl chronicles this critical moment in American history in all its complexities and profound human drama. It is part oral history, using compelling interview of 26 survivors of those hard times-- what will probably be the last recorded testimony of the generation that lived through the Dust Bowl. The film is filled with seldom-seen movie footage, previously unpublished photographs, the songs of Woody Guthrie, and the observations of two remarkable women who left behind eloquent written accounts.

Educational Resources

dust bowlThe Dust Bowl

Find short videos, stories, images, and other web resources.

Surviving the Dust Bowl

This American Experience episodes shares the  story of the farmers who came to the Southern Plains of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas dreaming of prosperity, and lived through ten years of drought, dust, disease and death.

PBS LearningMedia

Find more resources about the 1930s, the Great Depression, and the Dust Bowl at PBS LearningMedia.


Tags: 1930s American history Dust Bowl education educators history Iowa history Ken Burns Language and Literacy New Deal Social Studies teachers

Subjects: Social Studies

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