Woody Guthrie, “Dust Bowl Troubadour”

“I ain’t a Communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life.”
― Woody Guthrie

“Woody Guthrie wrote more than 1,000 songs, including “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh)” and “Union Maid.” After serving in WWII, he continued to perform for farmer and worker groups. “This Land Is Your Land” was his most famous song, and it became an unofficial national anthem. His autobiography, Bound for Glory (1943), was filmed in 1976. His son Arlo also achieved success as a musician.

“My father was a hard, fist-fighting Woodrow Wilson Democrat, so Woodrow Wilson was my name.”

In short order, Guthrie experienced the accidental death of his older sister Clara, a fire that destroyed the family home, his father’s financial ruin, and the institutionalization of his mother, who was suffering from Huntington’s disease. At the age of just 14, Guthrie and his siblings were left to fend for themselves while their father worked in Texas to repay his debts. As a teenager, Guthrie turned to busking in the streets for food or money, honing his skills as a musician while developing the keen social conscience that would later be so integral to his legendary music.

…The Great Depression hit the Guthrie family hard, and when the drought-stricken Great Plains transformed into the infamous Dust Bowl, Guthrie left his family in 1935 to join the thousands of “Okies” who were migrating West in search of work. Like many other “Dust Bowl refugees,” Guthrie spent his time hitchhiking, riding freight trains, and when he could, quite literally singing for his supper.

With his guitar and harmonica, Guthrie sang in the hobo and migrant camps, developing into a musical spokesman for labor and other left-wing causes.” 

“All of my words, if not well put nor well taken, are well meant.”
― Woody Guthrie

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Chp 23



America: Old and Shiny (A Quick Overview of US History)

Chronology of APUSH Reviewed

Muckraker, any of a group of American writers identified with pre-World War I reform and exposé literature.

Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1905 to expose labor abuses in the meat packing industry. But it was food, not labor, that most concerned the public. Sinclair’s horrific descriptions of the industry led to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act, not to labor legislation.

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Songs of the Depression


Also Woody – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUDtFdnn9oQ

The Great Depression/New Deal Song


Please, Pass The Biscuits Pappy! W. Lee O’Daniel & His Hillbilly Boys

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Chapters 21-22 & Review



Song Low Bridge

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The Industrial Revolution – Chapter 22



Dora Nunn Griffin Roberts
When redhaired cowboy Andrew Griffin rode into Brownwood to gather provisions for his new ranch, he swept tall, willowy Dora Nunn off her feet. 


1897 Winchester he’s holding – Dora Roberts in the buggy
ROBERTS, DORA NUNN (1863–1953). Dora Nunn Roberts, philanthropist, was born on April 23, 1863, in Randolph County, Alabama, the daughter of Elijah Hope and Elizabeth (Joyner) Nunn. The family moved in succession to Hope, Arkansas, Bowie, Texas, and Coleman, Texas. In Coleman Dora married Andrew Griffin, and they moved to southeastern Howard County in 1884; they settled south of Signal Mountain on four sections of land. Two daughters were born of their marriage. The family survived the great drought of 1886–87 by burning prickly pear, selling milk, butter, and eggs, and raising vegetables irrigated with water pumped by a windmill. Griffin was killed in a roundup accident, and his wife married a neighboring rancher, John Roberts, on October 21, 1896; Roberts himself was killed in 1909, and their son died in 1912. Dora Roberts continued to run and expand the ranch and ultimately owned twenty-nine sections. A succession of oil strikes beginning in 1927 produced large royalty checks that she used for investments and charities. She bought real estate, helped finance construction of the Big Spring Petroleum Building, and served as president and chairman of the board of the Big Spring First National Bank. She is best remembered for her many philanthropic donations, including large gifts to McMurry College, Texas Wesleyan University, and Southwestern University. She made significant contributions to the Methodist Hospital of Houston and the Health Rehabilitation Center and Vocational and Technical Training facilities in Big Spring, as well as to area churches. She was a member of the Forsan Methodist Church. Mrs. Roberts died on December 27, 1953, at the age of ninety.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: John R. Hutto, Howard County in the Making (Big Spring, Texas: Jordan’s, 1938).


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Fence Cutters’ War


“To the stockmen whose cattle suffered, barbed wire appeared to be an instrument of the devil. They sent letters and telegrams to members of the legislature and to the governor. They held public protest meetings. Finally, when no action resulted from their complaints, many of them decided that the only thing to do was to cut the offending fences.

These desperate cattlemen formed small, secret bands, with passwords and spies. Sometimes these bands had such names as Owls, Javelinas or Blue Devils. Posting guards for protection, they began destroying fences that blocked roads or enclosed other people’s land. Usually they did their snipping at night, but in some places they worked during the day. As the drought became worse, some of the cutters destroyed not only unlawful fences but also those that enclosed land legitimately owned by the fencers.”

fence cuttingfence cutting




  • In Austin, it is illegal to carry wire cutters in your pocket.
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