By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student
Once again there was a lot of great information put forward in Module 5 and 6 of the US: Migration Patterns course. However, I found the information in Module 6 to be very enlightening. That module focused on migration patterns for 1920 and forward. A subject that I have not really given my full attention to since most of my research is in the early 1800s and before. Bad on me!
Of course I remember the unit from US History class about the migration that occurred during the Great Depression; how the “dust bowl” effected farmers and they packed up their lives and moved west. I also remember reading The Grapes of Wrath in English class. However, through this course I learned quickly that there was more to movement and migration in the US during the 20th century than what took place during the 1930s.
Anyone who had taken extended road trips across the US knows that the federal highway system was slowly replaced by the interstates to get people where they were going quicker. What I didn’t internalize until now was how many of these highways followed the old migration routes. But it makes sense doesn’t it? If the route is already there why not create a better road on top of it! It especially hit home that I was traveling the footsteps of my ancestors when I drove these roads (some of them I have driven frequently over the last few decades).
Most importantly I was thrilled to see our instructor included a timeline at the end of the last module. I am seriously contemplating laminating it and putting it on my desk for a quick sheet when I need to look up important historical facts for the US that influenced migration. She broke it into five sections which correspond to modules 2-6 in the course. It was interesting to compare sections of the timelines that overlapped because it provides an idea of all the different possibilities that influenced people and their lives at those times. Once again, our ancestors lived complex lives in evolving situations, much like many of us do today!
Well I am off to take the exam, wish me luck. See you online!