FSA photographer Dorothea Lange came across Florence Thompson and her children in a pea pickers' camp in Nipomo, Calif., in March 1936. During the decade of the Great Depression, California's population grew by more than 20%, an increase of 1.3 million people. More than half of the newcomers came from cities, not farms; one in six were professionals or white collar workers. Of the 315,000 who arrived from Oklahoma, Texas and neighboring states, only 16,000 were from the Dust Bowl itself. But regardless of where they actually came from, regardless of their skills and their education and their individual reasons for seeking a new life in a new place, to most Californians -- and to the nation at large -- they were all the same. And they all had the same name: Okies.
Dorothea Lange / PBS
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