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Unformatted text preview: Villalobos, Anabel May 3, 2011 The Origins of Migrant Workers The 1920s brought about a new group in the agriculture sector specifically located in California: the Mexican Migrant Farm Laborers. California was not popular for agriculture labor. In fact, the fields had not been utilized for farming before. Farming in California began in the 1850s, but was not the main occupation; instead, it was mining because of the Gold Rush. All through this time period, people from the East, not only from the U.S., but also from Spain, Britain and so forth, continued settling. From 1911 to 1917, immigration of agriculture workers from Mexico became dominant; however, even then, this did not give rise to the Migrant Laborers in Southern California. That is, the Immigration Act put a stop to that by reducing the number of new immigrants. Soon after, around the 1930s, events began changing the farming workforce and farmers began to be a greater part of the labor force. The migrant labor group formed after an already similar group in the U.S had been established, the American farm workers of the East. Drastic events in American history and worldwide, like the Dust Bowl, led to transition from white dominant farm labor to migrant labor. World War II brought in immigrants to replace Americans that left to fight, through the Bracero Treaty. Migrant Farm Laborers formed in the mid-1900s because of the need for laborers, specifically, for cheap labor. Indeed, this group is the heart of the success of Chicano/Latino movements in the 1950s. Although conditions were bad from the beginning, it was not until the long run, that the migrant farmers felt the harm of low wages, pesticides and other bad conditions that affected their health and their living standards. Activists and Mexican leaders, like Fred Ross, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, gave rise to a movement of strikes, protests and organizations, to combat the discrimination against the Mexican migrant farm workers. Villalobos, Anabel May 3, 2011 Having to abandon their farms and damaged lands in Oklahoma, the so called “Okies” migrated to California in search of a new home. Thousands of families journeyed to California, settling in San Joaquin Valley. From 1930 to 1936, the Dust Bowl cause damages in agriculture in the Central Valleys all the way to the East Coast. This affected crop rotation because the soil was damaged after the dust storms. The Dust Bowl was caused by dried soil because of the lack of techniques to keep the soil in place. It majorly affected regions in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas. At the time, the majority of the farmers were from Oklahoma, in other words, they were American. Although most of the farmers fleeing the Dust Bowl were U.S born, some were Mexican-Americans living in Texas, Arizona and the states closer to the border....
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2012 for the course ECON 25 taught by Professor Shirey during the Spring '11 term at UC Irvine.
- Spring '11