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To what extent did minorities receive a New Deal in the 1930's?

When the depression started all segments of society where hurt. It is said that those at the bottom are the worst off when this type of collapse occurs. In America's case this meant African Americans, Native Americans and Women. Would they receive a New Deal too?

I. Minorities and the New Deal

A. What problems were faced by African Americans during the 1930's?

1. Economic deterioration of cities led to Black workers being pushed out in favor of White workers or just plain being the first to be fired. Since African Americans had moved to the cities later (Progressive Era migration) they were the "last hired, first fired."

2. Agricultural collapse in the South led to virtual destruction of the tenant farming system.

3. Ghettos turned into slums as funding stopped coming into inner city Black communities. Harlem, a thriving cultural center in the twenties, was decimated.

4. Black colleges stopped receiving white philanthropy.

5. Continuing discrimination, Jim Crow as well as segregation in the North, led to Blacks being fired and generally horrible conditions. Educational and economic opportunities were even more limited than they were before.

B. How did the New Deal hurt African Americans?

1. At first it hurt - Federal Housing Agency stopped black from moving into white neighborhoods and some public works projects refused to hire blacks.

2. AAA pushed African Americans off their farms because it paid the White landowners not to grow food. When they received this money they dismissed many tenant farmers and workers. Recipients of AAA money were supposed to share with their Black workers but the reality is that this wasn't done.

3. Social Security left out blacks because it was only those who worked and paid FICA tax into the system would get out of the system. Since many African Americans either worked "off the books" or for cash they never paid in and thus never received Social Security.

C. How did the New Deal help African Americans?

1. Federal relief programs provided massive amounts of aid to Blacks and Whites alike.

2. Jobs - WPA developed a non discrimination policy.

3. African American Governors were consulted by FDR. This group of Black political leaders became known as the Black Cabinet. Blacks were later appointed to the Cabinet, an American first.

4. Eleanor Roosevelt championed the rights of African Americans.

  • Marian Anderson concert that had been rejected by Daughters of the American Revolution to play in Constitutional Hall was allowed to play at the Lincoln Memorial.

D. How did other groups fare during the New Deal?

1. Women - Frances Perkins - Cabinet Member, others made continuing strides; Amelia Earhardt - aviator, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Margaret Mitchell - all actresses (Gone With The Wind.) were national celebrities.

2. Mexican Americans - Dust bowl, aided somewhat by CCC and WPA but most who were migrant farm workers didn't qualify because they did not have permanent addresses.

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