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Riding The Rails
Student Activity One

Introduction:    You will be creating a diary that was kept by a teenager who lived during the Great Depression.  Your family has been hit hard by the depression.  You believe that the best way to help your family is to go searching for work.  You have decided to travel across the United States by "riding the rails" in hopes of finding a job.  Along your travels, you meet four social groups hit hard by the Great Depression.  You decide to chronicle their experiences and your own in hopes that future generations will realize the struggles and experiences by these American social groups.

The task:  Using your textbook, library books and  Internet sources, create a diary that was kept by a teenager who lived during the Great Depression.

Criteria:  1.  Your cover should have a map of your travels showing the places you met people.
You must show 4 geographical locations for your social groups.  i.e.:  farmers in Oklahoma.

2.  The first entry should describe who you are and why you are keeping a diary.  You should
write about your family before the Depression.

3.  The next four entries should describe people from the following social groups:  families,
children, women, African Americans, businessmen, Mexican Americans, farmers, and Migrant
workers.  You need to describe their experiences by using lots of concrete details.

4.  Included in your diary should be 2 illustrations and 2 mementos that show the impact of the

The Great Depression

California Folk Music Home Page
Will Rogers
Welcome to Howard Frank's Portfolio
1930s FrontPage
Black Thursday: October 24, 1929 - Introduction
America's Great Depression
Welcome to Howard Frank's Portfolio
The Great Depression
America's Great Depression
Yahoo! Arts:Humanities:History:U.S. History:20th Century:1930s:Dust Bowl
Yahoo! Arts:Humanities:History:U.S. History:20th Century:1930s:Great Depression, The
Webquest:The Great Depression
We Made Do - Recalling The Great Depression
The Main Causes of the Great Depression
The Great Depression
The Economic Effects on Families of the Great Derpession


WPA Life Histories--Home Page
WPA Life Histories from New Hampshire
Lane Tech Art Collecttion

WPA Life Histories from Connecticut

Rural South

Walker Evans Project
Walker Evans Project

General 1930s

Growing Up White in the South
20th Century Decades: 1930-1939 Decade
New Deal Network
Been Here So Long
WPA Life Histories--Home Page
John Steinbeck: The California Novels
Documenting America
Then and Now: Prices, 1930s Great Depression Gallery, Michigan Historical Museum, Kids' Stuff

Social Security

Social Security History Home Page

Dust Bowl

Between the Wars: The Dust Bowl
The American Experience | Surviving the Dust Bowl
The Day of the Black Blizzard
Voices from the Dust Bowl Home Page
Dustbowl History
The Grapes of Wrath

Dustbowl History


Library of Congress Learning Page: Oral History lesson
Verda E. Galbreath Carter Diary

Riding the Rails

PBS | Riding the Rails
National Hobo Association
Riding The Rails
The American Experience | Riding the Rails
Riding The Rails - Personal Stories

Mexican Americans

Chicano! Time Line: 1921-1940
African Americans
Black History Month
The African American Journey

Now that you have completed this portion of your diary, go to activity 2

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