The “Dust Bowl” remains a mainstay in American history textbooks. When dust storms swept over the southern plains in the 1930s, they upended farming communities and left thousands of migrants in search of brighter horizons in the “Dirty Thirties.” The historian Douglas Sheflin
takes a closer look at the Dust Bowl’s long-term legacy in the often overlooked Colorado plains that border Kansas and Oklahoma. His book, Legacies of Dust: Land Use and Labor on the Colorado Plains
(University of Nebraska, 2019), shows that the Dust Bowl changed the environment, land-use patterns, and labor structures in the region for decades beyond the disaster.
Ryan Driskell Tate is a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Rutgers University. He teaches courses on modern US history, environmental history, and histories of labor and capitalism. He is completing a book on energy development in the American West. Follow him on Twitter @rydriskelltate