From October 4-14, 2013, the National Steinbeck Center will recreate the journey that The Grapes of Wrath’s Joad family took along America’s Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona at the height of the Dust Bowl toward California and their hopes of a better life.
This historical trip will be led by artists, writers, musicians and others who will be actively engaged in exploring the human experience of struggle and resilience creating new work inspired by this artistic journey. The scholars will interview people along the route, collect stories, and create artistic explorations on these themes. Journey participants will invite public collaboration through multiple social media channels. This trip will be documented and shared as part of the anniversary celebration in 2014.
In the 1930s, Steinbeck told the story of the millions of Americans suffering through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, giving voice to families and individuals who struggled every day to transcend devastating hardships. In his classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath put these stories on the national stage. Now in 2013 many face some the same challenges such as great financial insecurity, unemployment, foreclosures, and drastic environmental change.
We have traveled in many of the areas described in Steinbeck’s novel and you can feel his presence as we walked in his steps in the fields and towns his characters lived and came to life for millenniums to come.