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The Great Depression
(1929-1945)

The Last Man - Waiting Out the Dust Bowl



The Last Man - Waiting Out the Dust Bowl
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.71

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    drought-stricken, fencerows, hundred-mile, mid-1930s, mid-thirties, practices-all, refinance, repossess, determined, resilient, blight, destruction, blazed, contour, menace, voracious
     content words:    Midwestern U. S., Dust Bowl, One Texas, Man Club, Franklin D., Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, Farm Bankruptcy Act, Farm Credit Act, Drought Relief Service, Soil Conservation Service


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The Last Man - Waiting Out the Dust Bowl
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     In the mid-1930s, farmers in the midwestern U.S. had already endured a great deal. They had been through several years of drought and the dreaded black clouds of the dust storms. The voracious winds tore more precious topsoil from their fields each day.
 
2     The summer of '36 blazed its way into the record books as the hottest yet. One terrible black storm after another rolled over the land. With no crops and no income for several years, farm families struggled to feed themselves. Paying off mortgages was out of the question. People living in the Dust Bowl began to lose hope.
 
3     "Sheriff's Sale" signs appeared at the doors of those who could no longer make payments. These families saw their homes and land taken by the banks and their belongings auctioned off to the highest bidder. One family after another loaded up what little they had and drove away. Shattered dreams and broken hearts fluttered in the dust behind them. The area lost one quarter of its people.
 
4     But many were determined to stick it out in the Dust Bowl. One Texas newspaper editor started the "Last Man Club," urging Midwesterners to hang on. Each of those who took up his challenge vowed to be the last man to leave and to help others hold on as well. In the end, three quarters of the resilient Plains people dug in and endured.

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