The Impact of the Great Depression on Black Americans
The stock market crash of October 1929 was the prelude to the Great Depression. It was a time of hardship and sorrow for many people. American morale was low, and money and food were scarce. Poverty and despair, however, were not foreign to the Black Americans; poverty had been common to them since their days of captivity. To many Black Americans who lived in the south, it was the return of old times.
Sharecroppers and farm workers always lived in the midst of strife; they were never able to make a decent living. The boll weevil, soil erosion, and foreign competition had destroyed the cotton crop in the early Twenties. Life was difficult. No profits were being made, and …show more content…
Americans roamed the streets searching for shelter in municipal lodging houses or Hoovervilles; some lived in railroad boxcars or constructed tents in vacant lots.
When Franklin Roosevelt came to office in 1933, he emphasized relief, recovery, and reform through a program called the New Deal, but he had no plan to combat racial bias in the allotment of federal funds. Many Black Americans were unsure how much government help they would receive through this new program; the amount of relief that blacks received depended heavily upon the bias of the individual who headed each program. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) was designed to raise agricultural prices by paying farmers to cut production. Landowners were given this money and expected to distribute it among their tenants and sharecroppers; however, landowners rarely gave this money to their black workers. These black workers did not accuse their landowners of witholding money because they feared losing their jobs. Black Americans were also hurt through the National Recovery dministration (NRA). The NRA was formed to establish minimum wages for all workers, but these wages tended to hurt blacks, especially in the South with the enforcement of Black Codes. Because wages were equal for blacks and whites, many owners fired blacks to replace them with white workers. The higher wages enforced by the NRA caused prices to rise, but blacks often did not
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Why was the Great Depression such a hard time for Americans? In 1929 the stock market crashed in America. Which resulted in massive amounts of disarray, and caused Nine Thousand U.S. Banks to Fail. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, African Americans were hit the hardest by the scarcity of jobs and money. During the Great Depression almost all of the blacks were fired from their jobs and had no way to sustain themselves or their families due to the loss of food and money. After being fired it was nearly impossible for them to get another job, and if they did happen to be hired they received almost no pay. John Hardman wrote, “The Great Depression of the 1930s worsened the already black economic situation of black Americans. African
The great depression all started with the stock market crash of 1928. The president at the time was herbert hoover who promised to keep peace. He ended up winning 444 electoral votes to his opposing opponent who only had 87 electoral votes (Notes). After the stock market crashed banks started to fail and had no money to give to people. Nobody had money to pay anyone so unemployment roared all the way to 23% from 3%.
The stock market crash of 1929 sent the nation spiraling into a state of economic paralysis that became known as the Great Depression. As industries shrank and businesses collapsed or cut back, up to 25% of Americans were left unemployed. At the same time, the financial crisis destroyed the life savings of countless Americans (Modern American Poetry). Food, housing and other consumable goods were in short supply for most people (Zinn 282). This widespread state of poverty had serious social repercussions for the country.
The stock market crash, called Black Tuesday. Unequal distribution of wealth was a key factor during the time period as well. The day know as “Black Tuesday” was the day the stock market crashed. This led to the fall of stock prices, in fear, people sold their stocks and gathered the money they could. The people who didn’t, lost all of their stocks. Those who bought them on credit, they were now in debt. Investors lost a collective amount equal to the amount spent in WWI, that’s billions of dollars gone, approximately thirty-two billion dollars (32,000,000,000). As bad as the crash was, unequal distribution of wealth did not help. The rich saw an income increase of 70%, and the poor saw an increase of 9%. More than 70% of families earned less than $2500/year. Many of these families couldn't afford household products, such as the flood of overproduced goods. Only one out of ten families owned an electric refrigerator. One thing many people overlook when on the subject of the Great Depression is the president's influence on the situation. The two presidents during this time were Herbet Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hoover was in office during the collapse of the economy, he didn’t believe in national relief, he believed in self-prevalence and self-help. His beliefs didn’t get the confidence of the people, in 1933, a fourth of working American’s were out of a job, that’s more than fifteen million people unemployed. Many people disliked Hoover, so when they needed to make a home out of paper, glass, tin, or whatever they could find, they named the towns constructed from these items “Hoovervilles”. They were found mostly on the outside of cities. Hoover's idea of self-reliance didn’t get him reelected, he lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Roosevelt brought forward a new strategy to take on the economic problems, it was called the New Deal. The New Deal was a series of actions him and his
African Americans didn’t know that is was a Great Depression. African Americans have always been poor and knew how to survive. By 1932, approximately half of black Americans were unemployed, blacks always felt unemployed and under paid. Whites attempted to keep blacks out of work by not hiring African Americans. They used racial violence, and discrimination tactics to keep an underprivileged population depressed.
President Roosevelt's New Deal program during the 1930's failed to aid impoverished African-American citizens. The New Deal followed a long, historical chronology of American failures in attempts to ensure economic prosperity and racial equality. During the nearly seventy years after the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States faced a series of economic depressions, unmotivated Congress,' and a series of mediocre presidents. With the exception of Teddy Roosevelt, few presidents were able to enact anti-depression mechanisms and minimize unemployment. The America of the 1920's was a country at its lowest economic and social stature facing a terrible depression and increasing
During the 1920’s America was experiencing great economic growth. As WWI was ending Americans were out of energy. For almost 100 years they had been facing the problems of sectionalism, civil war, reconstruction, imperialism, and WWI. By the end they were ready to just sit back and party. Demand sky-rocketed and brought great economic growth. Americans failed to see the great problem looming overhead though. The Great Depression was caused by a combination of factors- a natural slowdown of the business cycle, weaknesses of the 1290’s economy magnified the slowdown, the republican response failed to help, a great environmental disaster, and the collapse of the world economy all contributed to the cause of the Great
The development of sharecropping was associated with the endless debt cycles that afflicted the entire South well into the twentieth century. The freedmen endured an economic status likened to peonage, (Bowles, 2011) in addition to having their hopes for political and social equality dashed. The entire South suffered, it was the freedmen who paid the highest price. Ignorant and impoverished, they were easy targets for exploitation by landlords (Bowles, 2011) and merchants alike; moreover, their options were limited by the overt racism in the South, legal restrictions and partiality. Sharecropping resulted from the intense explicit or implicit desire of white Southerners to keep blacks subservient to them. African Americans possessed few skills, and those they did possess related almost exclusively to agricultural production; they owned no property but the clothes on their backs; (Bowles, 2011) Many dreamed of "forty acres and a mule" with which to begin life anew as an integrated part of American society and the proprietor of one's own land. Inside of a year, however, a different reality became obvious to most. By 1868, land confiscation and redistribution was not in the realm of American political possibility. Desperation, familiarity with people and surroundings at the old places coupled with reunion of many lost loved ones, as well as the urgings of
The Great Depression was a time of great economic tragedy during the 1930’s. October 24, 1929 was the day of the stock market crash, causing economical shortage everywhere, even globally, and this scared everyone, including the rich. This day was/ is known as “Black Thursday”, where over 2.9 million shares were traded. On “Black Tuesday”, five days later, more than 16 million more shares were traded in another wave of panic. Many investors then lost confidence in their banks and demanded deposits in cash which forced the banks to liquidate loans in order to supplement their on hand cash reserves. By 1933, around 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. This stopped Americans from purchasing which then led to less production of goods and decreased the amount of needed human labor. In the end, millions of shares ended up worthless, and those investors who had bought stocks with borrowed money were wiped out completely.
The Great Depression. The worst financial crisis to ever hit America. Unemployment rates of over 25%. A 50% decrease in national income. Billions of dollars lost in a single day. (Trotter, pg.8) The Depression affected everyone in America. Young and old, rich and poor, black and white, none were spared. However, for America’s 12 million African Americans (Encyclopedia of Race and Racism) the Depression didn’t just start in 1929.(Africa to America: From the Middle Passage Through the 1930s) African Americans were a subjugated minority. Racism wasn’t only present in America, it was accepted by many. In the South, Democrats fought to keep African Americans under harsh segregation and oppressive laws. (Trotter, pg. 9) Efforts to relieve
On Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the stock market saw its greatest crash in history. The next 10 years brought an economic depression the world had never experienced. Unemployment would soar, a banking crisis would lead to a global phenomenon, and Americans would find themselves struggling to survive. In addition, the government would step up their involvement in American lives, as they felt a responsibility to the people. This would lead to mixed feelings from the American people. The Great Depression affected people in many different ways. For some it led to their demise, while it brought others closer together than ever before.
The Great Depression was a huge economic downfall in North America and involved many other industrialized countries of the world. The Depression began in 1929 and lasted for about ten years. Millions of people lost their jobs along with many businesses going bankrupt. The common misconception of the Great Depression is people think that the stock market crash was the main cause for it. There were many causes for the Depression; unequal distribution of money during the 1920’s was the main cause of the Depression. This unequal distribution happened on many different classes of people. The imbalance of money is what created such an unstable economy. The stock market was doing much worse than people thought
Many people speculate that the stock market crash of 1929 was the main cause of The Great Depression. In fact, The Great Depression was caused by a series of factors, and the effects of the depression were felt for many years after the stock market crash of 1929. By looking at the stock market crash of 1929, bank failures, reduction of purchasing, American economic policy with Europe, and drought conditions, it becomes apparent that The Great Depression was caused by more than just the stock market crash. The effects were detrimental beyond the financial crisis experienced during this time period.
The economy’s horrific condition led to people losing houses and living in homes made from cardboard, tin, or containers. These makeshift homes would often be seen in one common area called Hoovervilles. Everyone could tell if a person was poor