Dust Bowl Stories At Mesa Public Library Thursday

Storyteller Terry Foxx of Los Alamos will present ‘Dust Bowl Stories – the complex relationship between humans and the Great Plains’ Thursday at Mesa Public Library. Courtesy photo

MPL News:

Storyteller Terry Foxx of Los Alamos will present “Dust Bowl Stories – the complex relationship between humans and the Great Plains” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 in the Upstairs Rotunda at Mesa Public Library.

Using written and oral histories, as well as interviews with local residents who lived through that period of history, Foxx will weave the stories of survivors into an understanding of this ecological event.

The Dust Bowl story is one where human decisions, economics and nature intertwined to create one of America’s worst environmental disasters resulting in human suffering. It is a story of poverty, prejudice and intolerance as well as tenacity and survival.

“The stories told will help lead us to an understanding of the past, in the hope that we will not repeat the mistakes that led to the Dirty Thirties,” Foxx said.

Foxx is a storyteller and ecologist who has written a number of articles related to understanding the ecosystems of the Pajarito Plateau. She will draw on her experience to engage the audience in a discussion of present issues that can potentially result in environmental imbalance.

“Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone Dry” is a travelling exhibit on display through Feb. 20 in the Upstairs Gallery of Mesa Public Library. The exhibition and programs feature several overlapping humanities themes:

  • the nature of the connection between humans and nature;
  • the many ways human beings respond to adversity; and
  • how people came to understand and to describe their experiences living through the Dust Bowl.

An accompanying exhibit in the Upstairs Gallery is called “Then and Now.” “Then and Now” complements the themes of “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry,” adding the notion of a sense of place and what it means to belong to a landscape. Historic photography and images taken by Foxx and John Hogan show local landscapes and changes through time.

The exhibition was organized by the American Library Association Public Programs Office, the Oklahoma State University Library, and the Mount Holyoke College Library. It was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. Mesa Public Library is one of only 25 libraries in the country to receive this exhibit.

Local sponsors include the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization, the Los Alamos Historical Society, the Friends of the Los Alamos County Libraries and the Los Alamos chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Additional programs complementary to the exhibits include a Chautauqua performance called “All In, Down and Out” at 2 p.m., Jan. 17; a showing of the Ken Burns film “The Dust Bowl” at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 24; a talk by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Dr. Nathan McDowell at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 and two community-wide book discussions of the book “The Worst Hard Time” Feb. 10.

For more information on all of the events, go to the Events listing on the library web page, www.losalamosnm.us/library/Pages/events.

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