The Harvest Gypsies is a series of articles by John Steinbeck written on commission for The San Francisco News focusing on the lives and times of migrant workers in California's Central Valley. Published daily from October 5–12, 1936, Steinbeck delves into the hardships and triumphs of American migrant workers during the Great Depression, tracing their paths and stories from crop to crop as they eked out a stark existence.

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  • The Harvest Gypsies is a series of articles by John Steinbeck written on commission for The San Francisco News focusing on the lives and times of migrant workers in California's Central Valley. Published daily from October 5–12, 1936, Steinbeck delves into the hardships and triumphs of American migrant workers during the Great Depression, tracing their paths and stories from crop to crop as they eked out a stark existence. The articles were published together in 1938 as a pamphlet entitled Their Blood is Strong by the Simon J. Lubin Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Americans about the plight of the migrant worker. This pamphlet included the seven articles, plus Steinbeck's newly written epilogue "Starvation Under the Orange Trees," and twenty-two photographs by Dorothea Lange Ten thousand copies of this pamphlet were sold at twenty-five cents each. (en)
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  • Even the popularity of The Grapes of Wrath, however, did not produce significant public programs to assist the migrants. Foreign affairs and the coming U.S. involvement in World War II increasingly captured the nation's attention. By the end of 1940, reporter Ernie Pyle noted that the Okies no longer made headlines: "people sort of forgot them". A year later, the labor surplus of the Depression had been transformed into an extraordinary wartime shortage of workers. Migrants who were not subject to military service found well-paying jobs in California's booming shipyards, aircraft factories and other defense plants. The Joads and their fellow Okies ultimately found economic salvation, not in the small farms they dreamed of owning, but in urban industry fueled by billions of federal dollars. California growers, desperate for labor, once again turned to Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of new workers crossed the border, many of them arriving under the terms of the U.S. government's Bracero program. With the farm labor force no longer dominated by white Americans, little attention or sympathy was focused on social conditions in rural California. Not until the Delano strike of 1965, in an era sensitized by the Civil Rights Movement, did issues raised in The Grapes of Wrath return to the broad public consciousness. And not until 1975 did the state legislature establish an Agricultural Labor Relations Board similar to the one Steinbeck advocated in 1936. (en)
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  • —Charles Wollenberg. (en)
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  • The Harvest Gypsies is a series of articles by John Steinbeck written on commission for The San Francisco News focusing on the lives and times of migrant workers in California's Central Valley. Published daily from October 5–12, 1936, Steinbeck delves into the hardships and triumphs of American migrant workers during the Great Depression, tracing their paths and stories from crop to crop as they eked out a stark existence. (en)
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  • The Harvest Gypsies (en)
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