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Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins
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In '34 or '35 the Okies and Arkies had been on the march for a long time and had attracted the attention of the country. They were driven out of their homes by the dust bowl. They were heading for California, which the advertising said was the land of plenty. These people on the move were usually very good people. Their farms were just gone. Large numbers of people traveling are likely to develop some kind of disorder just out of the nature of the case, but remarkably little developed with the so-called Okies and Arkies.

They were unwelcome in every town they came into, because the communities usually had all the workers they wanted, all the poor people they could take care of. The schools were overcrowded. It was terrible. I went out to see it for myself and to see what could be done about it, but that was after we had begun a WPA project for Okies and Arkies. Harry Hopkins's people were showing them how to make things like rugs out of burlap bags, so that they wouldn't have to put their feet, when they got off the mattress or straw tick in the morning, on the bare earth.

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