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California: Honoring 'The Grapes of Wrath's' 75th anniversary

October 03, 2013|By Anne Harnagel
  • The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif., is embarking on a cross-country road trip in honor of "The Grapes of Wrath."
The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif., is embarking on a cross-country… (National Steinbeck Center )

John Steinbeck's epic novel "The Grapes of Wrath" tells the saga of the Joads, an Oklahoma Dust Bowl family that journeys to California, where they encounter hardships as migrant farm workers.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Depression-era novel, the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif., is embarking on a road trip that will follow the Joads' journey along Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona en route to California. The tour begins Friday in Oklahoma and ends Oct. 14 in Arvin, Calif.

Along the way a trio of artists -- filmmaker P.J. Palmer, visual artist Patricia Wakida and playwright Octavio Solis -- will collect oral histories from people they encounter. They will seek answers to three questions inspired by "The Grapes of Wrath": What keeps you going? What do you turn to in hard times? What brings you joy when times are tough?

The new stories will become part of the 2014 Steinbeck Festival May 2-4 at the National Steinbeck Center.

At each stop on the route, Center representatives will host and or participate in public programs, readings, discussions and workshops based on "The Grapes of Wrath."

The tour itinerary:

Oct. 4 and 5: Sallisaw, Okla. (Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library) and Oklahoma City (Oklahoma History Center)

Oct. 7: Canyon, Texas (Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum), and Amarillo (radio station KACV, Amarillo Museum of Art)

Oct. 9: Albuquerque (Albuquerque Special Collections Library and Albuquerque Museum of Art and History)

Oct. 11: Flagstaff, Ariz. (Pioneer Museum at Arizona Historical Society and Coconino Center for the ArtsĀ 

Oct. 13: Bakersfield (Walter W. Stiern Library, Cal State Bakersfield)

Oct. 14: Arvin (Weedpatch labor camp)

The artists will blog throughout the trip at For journey updates and to follow along go the National Steinbeck Center website.

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