20th Century Nomads In 1959.


There was a time, if you were at a gathering of strangers in Los Angeles, the question would invariably be; "so where are you from originally?" Seemingly no one who lived in Southern California was actually born there - they had all been imported during the Great Migration of the 1950's, where cities east of the Rockies suffered a massive drop in populations and Mecca's like Los Angeles swelled accordingly. It was mostly about the weather, but it was a lot about the freedom - the "wide open spaces" as it was touted in ads. The escape from the rat race of the City, whether it was St. Louis, or Chicago, Detroit or Pittsburgh - the pot of gold was at the end of the road which just so happened was Los Angeles.

In 1959, more or less at the mid-point in the "massive migration", CBS Radio as part of their Great Challenge radio series of documentaries, did an in-depth look at the subject of these "20th Century Nomads", hosted by veteran newscaster Howard K. Smith.

Ironically, it was broadcast on January 4th, 1959 - I wonder if the weather everywhere east had something to do with it.

Maybe a little.


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