Posts from the “Demographic Changes” Category

Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl

Woody Guthrie is a famous singer-songwriter and folk musician, during the mid-twentieth century.  He is best known for his song “This Land is Your Land.”  Born and raised in Oklahoma, his family was one of the many affected by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  Many of Guthrie’s songs from that era discuss the effects of these horrible storms on the people of the Great Plains.  Like many other “Okies” and Great Plains residents desperate for money, Guthrie headed west looking for a way to support his family left behind at home.

Take a look at the song below and consider the following question:

What is Woody Guthrie suggesting about life for “Dust Bowl refugees”?  What challenges did they face?  What is he saying about American society as a whole?
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“New” Immigration

This song is from a movie called “An American Tail” (1986).  The film is about Fievel Mouskewitz and his family as they immigrate from Russia to the United States in search of freedom.  They are a part of the wave of “new” immigration during the Gilded Age.  The scene below takes place on the boat to America.  Watch the clip and consider the following questions.


What does this song suggest about the issues affecting “new” immigrants?  How did these issues shape their decision to immigrate?  (Consider that the scene represents multiple nationalities.)