Could Arizona suffer another dustbowl like that of the 1930s? A new documentary coming out on Sunday, Nov. 18 examines how the dustbowl affected Arizona.

The documentary examines recent droughts across the southwest and the deadly dust storms that engulfed Phoenix, asking if this is only a sign of things to come?

“Arizona’s Dust Bowl: Lessons Lost,” is a 60-minute documentary produced by Arizona Public Media that explores how the tragedy in the 1930s affects Arizona’s economy, the area’s demographics, and culture.

The Dust Bowl was a natural disaster caused by severe drought that affected much of the United States during the 1930s. Poor farming practices, primarily attributed to the large number of small family farms, compounded the severity of the damage.

While the environmental disaster was mainly in the Midwest, the socio-economic repercussions transformed the nation, especially Arizona.

Work in Arizona’s cotton fields was the last hope for some of the thousands of migrating Okies and Arkies. These new arrivals brought their preference for Southern food, music, religion and culture with them.

The shift in demographics and tastes changed Arizona forever. These emigrants transformed Arizona, displacing thousands of migrant Mexican laborer. Racism was rampant. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American citizens were forcibly deported south of the border. Unlike migrant Mexican laborers who previously went home at the of harvest, Arizona’s new residents stayed, most lived in squalor, and survived on the public dole.

The people on the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations were also affected by the Dust Bowl.

“Arizona’s Dust Bowl: Lessons Lost” shows historical images from the time, capturing the haunting and stark images of families, individuals, and the surrounding Arizona landscape.

The special documentary was produced, directed and written by Tom Kleespie, Arizona Public Media’s senior producer.

The documentary will be shown on Nov. 18 on PBS 6 at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m., Ken Burns "Dust Bowl - Part 1" will air at 8 p.m.

On Monday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., Ken Burns' "Dust Bowl - Part 2' will air at 8 p.m.

Check for encore broadcasts at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.