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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Migrant Struggle – Timeline

This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).

1840s through 1870s

– Henry David Thoreau, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers” (1849), “Resistance to Civil Government” (1849), Walden (1854), “Life Without Principle” (1863)
Migration to Oregon over the Oregon Trail begins (1843)
U.S.-Mexican War (1846-48)
California Gold Rush begins (1849)


– Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)
International Workers of the World union founded (1905)
Ford Model T goes into production (1908)


– Upton Sinclair, King Coal (1917)
Russian Revolution (1917)


– Robinson Jeffers, Tamar and Other Poems (1924), “Hurt Hawks” (1928), “November Surf” (1929)
– Upton Sinclair, Oil! (1927), Boston (1928)
Wall Street Crash begins Great Depression (1929)


– John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (1935), Tortilla Flat (1935), Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), The Long Valley (1938), Their Blood Is Strong (1938), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
– Muriel Rukeyser, “Alloy” (1938)
Dust Bowl (1931-39)
President Roosevelt launches the New Deal (1933)
Tydings-McDuffie Act (1934)
Works Progress Administration (WPA) established (1935)
House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) founded (1938)

[5871] Dorothea Lange, Between Laton and Fowler, Central San Joaquin Valley, California. One Man-One Horse Methods are Rare in California. (1935) courtesy of Library of Congress [LC-USF34-018763-E].

[7023] Nathan Sherman, Work With Care (1937) courtesy of Library of Congress [LC-USZC2-1172].


– Upton Sinclair, World’s End (1940), Between Two Worlds (1941), Dragon’s Teeth(1942)
– Carlos Bulosan, Letter from America (1942), Chorus from America (1942), The Voice of Bataan (1943), “Freedom from Want” (1943), “Four Freedoms” (1945), America Is in the Heart (1946)
– John Steinbeck, The Pearl (1945)
United States enters World War II (1939-45) after Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941)
Filipino Naturalization Act (1946)
HUAC hearings on communism in the entertainment industry (1947)


– John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952)
Korean War (1950-53)
Heyday of McCarthyism (1953-54)
U.S. Supreme Court bans school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954)


– Carlos Bulosan, The Sound of Falling Light (1960)
– John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley (1962)
– Robinson Jeffers, “Birds and Fishes” (1963)
– Muriel Rukeyser, “The Conjugation of the Paramecium” (1968)
Farm Workers Movement founded (1962)
Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring (1962)
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
Civil Rights Act (1964)
Vietnam War (1964-75)


– Tomas Rivera, … y no se lo tragó la tierra/ … And the Earth Did Not Devour Him(1971), The Searchers (1973)
– Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima (1972), Heart of Aztlan (1976), Tortuga (1979)
– Muriel Rukeyser, The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser (1978)
First “Earth Day” celebrated (1970)
A Presidential Executive Order establishes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an independent agency of the Executive Branch (1970)
Watergate scandal (1972)
Moral Majority founded (1979)
Iran hostage crisis (1979-81)


– Alberto Ríos, Whispering to Fool the Wind (1982), The Iguana Killer (1984), Five Indiscretions (1985), “Advice to a First Cousin” (1985), “Seniors” (1985), The Dime Orchard Woman: Poems (1988)
– Helena Maria Viramontes, “The Moth” and Other Stories (1985)
– Tomas Rivera, The Harvest (1989)
Cold War ends (1989)
Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of oil in one of the worst ecological disasters of the century (1989)


– Rudolfo Anaya, Albuquerque (1992), Zia Summer (1995)
– Alberto Ríos, Teodora Luna’s Two Kisses (1992), “Day of the Refugios” (1994), Pig Cookies and Other Stories (1995), Capirotada (1999), The Curtain of Trees: Stories(1999)
– Helena Maria Viramontes, Paris Rats in E.L.A. (1993), Under the Feet of Jesus(1995), Their Dogs Came with Them (1996)
– Carlos Bulosan, The Cry and the Dedication (first published, 1995)
Persian Gulf War (1990-91)
Welfare Reform Act (1996)

[6527] Judith F. Baca, Pickers From Guadalupe Mural (1990) courtesy of SPARC Social and Public Art Resource Center ” Judith F. Baca, Farmworkers of Guadalupe, 1989.


– Alberto Ríos, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (2002)
Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (2001)