Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Black Sunday" Dust Bowl, Oklahoma, 1935

I mentioned in a previous post that both of my parents had been born in Oklahoma, and both of them were born in 1935.

Rosie, my Mom was born shortly before Black Sunday.  Black Sunday refers to an extremely severe dust storm that occurred on April 14, 1935, as part of the dust bowl.  Johnny, my Dad was born a few months after that particular storm.

The great plains, which included Oklahoma, was already suffering from The Great Depression.  As if that wasn't bad enough, the inhabitants of Oklahoma had to start dealing with the dust storms in the 1930's.

The cause of the dust storms or black blizzards, were the result of overuse of the land and drought.  Due to cattle farming and sheep ranching, there wasn't much natural grass or shrubs left to help anchor the soil.  Also, due to over-farming and drought, the soil was extremely dry. 

The people just couldn't get away from the dust.  If they got enough notice, farmers would seal their homes the best they could.  They would try to glue the windows shut.  They would shut all doors, drape sheets, blankets, or whatever they had around the openings.  The dust still came through, and left a thick layer of dust everywhere and on everything.  If people were caught in a storm, they would seek the nearest shelter.  People were getting sick with a lung disease that was called dust pneumonia.  Many died from it slowly, and painfully, as they suffocated due their lungs being caked with all the dirt.

Times were very tough and dismal for the folks in Oklahoma and in the other states on the plains.


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