Close Please enter your Username and Password

OnDaFence 31M/39M
39376 posts
4/13/2019 7:14 pm

Last Read:
4/17/2019 7:16 pm

Black Sunday



When wheat prices rose during World War I, homesteaders descended on the southern Great Plains and began plowing up the native grasses that had historically held the soil in place. Spurred on by land speculators, who outrageously claimed that “rain follows the plow” and that dust could be used as mulch to hold in moisture, they were at first able to reap big harvests. The good times continued throughout the wet years of the 1920s. But when the Great Depression , wheat prices collapsed. To make matters worse, it essentially stopped raining in 1931, the beginning of a drought that would last for the rest of the decade. Suddenly, farms were going , livestock were starving and enormous quantities of dried- topsoil were being blown up into the air.



According to one federal agency, which counted only the largest of these dust storms, or “black blizzards,” in 1932, followed by 38 in 1933. That was nothing, though, compared to what came later. “Farmers were still trying to plant a crop and in many respects making it worse,” said R. Douglas Hurt, head of the history department at Purdue University who has published more than 20 books on American agriculture. Although the northern Great Plains did not escape punishment, the worst effects came further south in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Residents there tried to protect themselves by rubbing Vaseline into their nostrils, wearing respiratory masks, sealing their windows and hanging wet sheets over their doorways. But the constant inhalation of harmful dust particles killed hundreds of people anyway and sickened thousands of others.



In 1934, which researchers now the single worst drought year of the last millennium in North America, temperatures soared, exceeding 0 degrees everyday for weeks on much of the Southern Plains. “Things really dried out,” said Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, a history professor Iowa State University and the author of “Rooted in Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas.” “So when spring of 1935 rolled around, there was a whole lot more baked dirt to throw up in the air than there had been in previous years.” After months of brutal conditions, the skies finally cleared by the morning of April , 1935, and the winds died down, a rarity on the nearly treeless landscape. Residents came outside to do much-needed chores, to hang out in the sunshine or to go to church. Optimism abounded, with one Oklahoma minister declaring that a few good rainstorms would make the land fertile again.



Alas, it was not to be. That morning, a cold front moving down from Canada clashed with air sitting over the Dakotas. In just a couple of hours, temperatures fell more than 30 degrees and the wind whipped into a frenzy, creating a dust cloud that grew to hundreds of miles wide and thousands of feet as it headed south. Reaching its full fury in southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, it turned a sunny day totally dark. Drivers were forced to take refuge in their cars, while other residents hunkered down in basements, barns, fire stations and tornado shelters, as well as beds. Folksinger Woody Guthrie, then 22, who sat the storm his Pampa, Texas, home, recalled that “you couldn’t see your hand before your .” Inspired by proclamations from some of his companions that the end of the world was at hand, he composed a song titled “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.” Guthrie would also write other tunes about Black Sunday, including “Dust Storm Disaster.”



OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 7:16 pm

You probably heard several rendition of the Titanic hitting the iceberg on April 14th


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 7:17 pm

I'll leave Lincoln's assassination on the 14th to someone else too.


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 7:19 pm

Those who want to wish Arnold J. Toynbee, an English historian a happy birthday may do so.


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 7:21 pm

However, I shall try to cover the "roots" of Black Sunday which many may not have heard of.


Hungr4Yungr 70M
3879 posts
4/13/2019 8:49 pm

There has been a whole lot of things happening on April 14. Might be a good day to go to church and say a prayer or two. I wasn't around for the dust storms of the '30's, but my father was, and he told me some stories. I was around for the dust storms of the mid '60's in southern Alberta which ruined a lot of farmland and bankrupted many farmers. I can vividly remember the thickness of dirt in the air, clogging air filters on cars, farm tractors, and settling in peoples' lungs. Crop production was zero.


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 9:00 pm

    Quoting Hungr4Yungr:
    There has been a whole lot of things happening on April 14. Might be a good day to go to church and say a prayer or two. I wasn't around for the dust storms of the '30's, but my father was, and he told me some stories. I was around for the dust storms of the mid '60's in southern Alberta which ruined a lot of farmland and bankrupted many farmers. I can vividly remember the thickness of dirt in the air, clogging air filters on cars, farm tractors, and settling in peoples' lungs. Crop production was zero.
I don't think they got down to Iowa but I will see if there's any mention in the papers or weather records. I'd say the 14 of April is a day of DOOM & GLOOM that might be better spent in a church... AFTER I check the date of the Great earthquake in Portugal that hit about 10 on a Sunday killing thousands buried in the rubble of the churches....


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/13/2019 9:04 pm

    Quoting OnDaFence:
    I don't think they got down to Iowa but I will see if there's any mention in the papers or weather records. I'd say the 14 of April is a day of DOOM & GLOOM that might be better spent in a church... AFTER I check the date of the Great earthquake in Portugal that hit about 10 on a Sunday killing thousands buried in the rubble of the churches....
We're SAFE on the quake! The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon earthquake, occurred in the Kingdom of Portugal on the morning of Saturday, 1 November, Feast of All Saints, at around 09:40 local time. In combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, the earthquake almost totally destroyed Lisbon and adjoining areas. Seismologists today estimate the Lisbon earthquake had a magnitude in the range 8.5–9.0.


akl1234 59M  
120 posts
4/14/2019 4:59 am

Very interesting Bret I have about the dust storms
but didn't realize how bad it was !!!!!


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/14/2019 12:12 pm

    Quoting akl1234:
    Very interesting Bret I have about the dust storms
    but didn't realize how bad it was !!!!!
I had seen some pictures before but dug up some "real life" experiences and video to add in here.


SCBrooke 23M
281 posts
4/14/2019 1:28 pm

A couple of pages in History Classes, Most of it was tied to the depression and FDR New Deal Reforms. I did have a professor in one of my science classes who spent quite a lot of time on this and linking it to soil conservation practices that were not used back at the time.


Hungr4Yungr 70M
3879 posts
4/14/2019 8:55 pm

    Quoting SCBrooke:
    A couple of pages in History Classes, Most of it was tied to the depression and FDR New Deal Reforms. I did have a professor in one of my science classes who spent quite a lot of time on this and linking it to soil conservation practices that were not used back at the time.
That is very true, Brooke. The extreme loss of topsoil due to the dust storms of the dirty 30s stimulated many new soil conservation measures, including the invention of a whole new line of farm equipment that did not overturn the soil, but rather cultivate just under the surface to sever the roots of weeds, but leave the dead vegetative matter on the surface to control wind erosion. The Noble blade was a radical type of cultivator that did just that. It was invented and manufactured just 8 miles down the road from me. After the subsurface blades, came the rod weeder where a rotating horizontal rod was drug just under the surface. Agriculture history is interesting and a lot of it happened here in southern Alberta that was greatly affected by the devastating dust storms of the 30s and later the 60s.


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/14/2019 9:52 pm

    Quoting SCBrooke:
    A couple of pages in History Classes, Most of it was tied to the depression and FDR New Deal Reforms. I did have a professor in one of my science classes who spent quite a lot of time on this and linking it to soil conservation practices that were not used back at the time.
I had an excellent Earth Sciences teacher who gave us a wide range of topics and field classes coupled with a great geology of the state with out there gathering the rocks and fossils... 0f which today I think I found either a petrified bone fragment or a piece of Mammoth tusk. I shall attempt to get pictures posted ASAP.


OnDaFence 31M/39M
28262 posts
4/14/2019 9:58 pm

    Quoting Hungr4Yungr:
    That is very true, Brooke. The extreme loss of topsoil due to the dust storms of the dirty 30s stimulated many new soil conservation measures, including the invention of a whole new line of farm equipment that did not overturn the soil, but rather cultivate just under the surface to sever the roots of weeds, but leave the dead vegetative matter on the surface to control wind erosion. The Noble blade was a radical type of cultivator that did just that. It was invented and manufactured just 8 miles down the road from me. After the subsurface blades, came the rod weeder where a rotating horizontal rod was drug just under the surface. Agriculture history is interesting and a lot of it happened here in southern Alberta that was greatly affected by the devastating dust storms of the 30s and later the 60s.
What concerns us is the rampant destruction of the trees in the fencerows to break the wind. We clean our fencerows of dead trees or trim them back so as not to inhibit the farm machinery but leave the trees. So many have utterly taken out the fences along with the trees for just one more row of corn without thinking about the consequences. We are not that far removed from a repeat of the dustbowl syndrome.