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Dust to Eat (2021) OHS documentary premiere
February 5, 2022, 2 p.m.–3 p.m.
A new documentary produced by the Oklahoma Historical Society entitled Dust to Eat (2021) will air on OETA on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at 2 p.m.
The hour-long film takes the viewer through the drought and ensuing dust storms of the thirties from the perspective of Caroline Henderson, who, with her husband, stayed behind to save the family farm. Through poignant narration and imagery, the film explores the lasting impact of one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history 85 years after it occurred. The film was directed by OHS Video Production Specialist Ryan Green and produced by historian Dr. Alvin Turner and OHS Board President Dr. Deena Fisher.
The narrative of the documentary is drawn directly from the book Letters from the Dust Bowl by Caroline Henderson, (University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), edited by Alvin O. Turner. Henderson’s gripping account of the Dust Bowl era comes to life with detailed excerpts from her writings which include articles written for national magazines and missives penned to her daughter and friends. After graduating from a leading liberal arts college, Henderson fully embraced an agrarian vision to pioneer in the Oklahoma panhandle from 1907 until 1966. However, her experiences in those years were far from her original idealistic vision—recurring droughts, dust storms, and similar disasters left her, in her words, with nothing but “dust to eat.”
The documentary comes to life with images from the Farm Security Administration photography program (1935–1944). This initiative portrayed the challenges of rural poverty in the US at a time when the Dust Bowl significantly devasted regions of the Oklahoma panhandle. The program was led by Roy Stryker, who hired some of the nation’s most talented photographers, including Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and Arthur Rothstein.
Please check your cable provider and local listings to confirm viewing of the documentary in your area.