A Lost Tribe in the Land of Broken Promises.
August 25, 2002 7:46 AM   Subscribe

A Lost Tribe in the Land of Broken Promises. Fifty years ago, a group of Oklahoma migrants settled in the Tulare Lake Basin region of California, and many still live there in conditions of unspeakable poverty. (LA Times, first in a series.)
posted by xowie (19 comments total)
posted by djacobs at 8:17 AM on August 25, 2002

There is an interesting history of black settlements in the Central Valley. On the other hand, at various times just about everyone has been here.
posted by hob at 8:42 AM on August 25, 2002

posted by y2karl at 9:09 AM on August 25, 2002

It's an interesting piece, thanks for turning me on to this. Good post.
posted by y2karl at 9:18 AM on August 25, 2002

As if you needed someone to give you a login. hob: cool links! If it wasn't for the key change, "Lodi" would be the best song of the 60's.
posted by xowie at 9:22 AM on August 25, 2002

Heh. The refrain of that tune pretty much typified for me the experience of growing up in the Central Valley. Oh, Lord...

On the other hand, my boy scout troop camped at Allensworth and Manzanar as well as the highest point on CONUS and the lowest point, and I grew up on stories of the Chinese Tunnels in Bakersfield (which had its own china town at least as interesting as San Francisco's) and the disapearing lake and seeing the ferry beached in the middle of the farmland... very interesting place.

The waves of people who have come all looking for the same thing and all finding the same problems (and one another), the diversity and divisiveness... makes me think of Palestine as it might have been sometime immemorial.
posted by hob at 12:03 PM on August 25, 2002

Mark Arax is the author of this series. His stuff on the Great Central Valley and the story of his Father's Fresno murder is terrific reading. Here's his website and a good essay on Growing Up in the San Joaquin Valley. [Full disclosure: I know him because he is a design client.]
posted by katecohen at 5:08 PM on August 25, 2002

One hell of a story...

I was wandering through Greece a couple months ago and saw a similar die-off taking place, as the old mountain villages were seeing all of the new generation moving to the big cities. All that remained were the old timers, almost all over fifty. They weren't quite so impoverished as the Black Okies, but they had a lot of the same tenacity and faith.

These are tiny pockets of a slightly older world that our wires and networks haven't managed to capture just yet. If you find yourself in a position to see something like this first hand, you shouldn't think twice about it, for there's only so much longer that they'll be around.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:16 PM on August 25, 2002

Great link. I loved this quote from one aged lady:
"I sleep easy at night, right here in my little run-down shack by the highway. It may not be your dream, but it's mine. Now you can just turn around and leave us alone again."
You just have to admire anyone with that kind of backbone.
posted by dejah420 at 10:00 PM on August 25, 2002


That author is trying way to hard to be profound.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 PM on August 25, 2002

Profundity lost on yers truly due to login.
posted by hama7 at 12:05 AM on August 26, 2002

Your loss. Here is part 2.
posted by xowie at 12:16 AM on August 26, 2002

Idea: Post a password?
posted by hama7 at 5:14 AM on August 26, 2002

Idea : Grab a clue.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:56 AM on August 26, 2002

Idea: Make zany codes understandable, and fess up to your doublespeak, stav.
posted by hama7 at 6:00 AM on August 26, 2002

Idea: Make zany codes understandable, and fess up to your doublespeak, stav.

Idea: If you've been hanging around here as long as you keep saying you have, you should a) know the procedure by now and b) not be surprised or snarky when people point out things in plain sight.
posted by lia at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2002

//frantically grabs for clue, scrabblingly misses as usual//
posted by redshoes3 at 9:27 AM on August 26, 2002

lia: Thanks for the snarky comment pointing things out in plain sight again.
posted by hama7 at 3:03 AM on August 27, 2002

If you don't stop your childish whining, you'll miss Part 3.
posted by xowie at 5:53 AM on August 27, 2002

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