Significant events of the Great Depression started on Black Thursday, October 24, 1929. On that day, nearly 13 million shares of stocks were traded. It was a record number of stock trades for the United States. Mr.  J.P. Morgan and a few other bankers attempted to bail out the banking system using their own money. They were unsuccessful and their move led to a slight increase in stock price on Saturday, October 26.  Then, over the weekend,  many investors lost faith in the stock market and decided to sell their shares.  When the markets reopened on Monday, October 28, 1929, another record number of stocks were traded and the stock market declined more than 22 percent. The situation worsened yet again on October 29, 1929, the infamous Black Tuesday.  That is when more than 16 million stocks were traded. The stock market ultimately lost $14 billion that day.

  • "Report, Flint, Michigan, November 30, 1934What to me was of outstanding interest here is the way the unemployed are behaving about relief. The workers on the whole are "hard babies," the living conditions are bad, the struggle for existence has been terrible even before the depression, but the place is to a certain extent a yardstick of behavior in depressed, deflated conditions....I spent a day visiting homes with investigators. They tell me that relief is actually raising standards in some of these shack lives. One of the leading doctors told me that medical care in the City was now better than it had ever been before. In the homes that I visited less than 25 per cent were "unemployables." All, except a very few, asked for clothing or other articles such as a new stove, that neighbors had received from relief. I certainly had a feeling that few would choose to stay on relief but there was little feeling that it was a painful process to ask for relief.
  • "United We Eat"What of the pressure groups among the unemployed? Starting with barter and a naive faith in their own scrip, moving on to group protest against niggardly relief, some of them have reached a stage of acting with strikers. They keep their members from becoming strikebreakers and join the strikers as pickets. They throw their full weight into any handy unrest
  • A Synopsis of the Great DepressionLater generations of Americans have no first hand experience of the depths of despair into which the depression, beginning in 1929, had thrust the nation, and the excitement and eagerness with which people greeted the New Deal. You know many critics not only have denied that anything constructive could have come from the New Deal but they have even succeeded in creating the impression in the prosperous years since 1945 that the depression really did not amount to much.
  • American Youth CongressThe student movements of the Depression era were arguably the most significant mobilizations of youth-based political activity in American history prior to the late 1960s. As time passed, many local youth organizations became more organized in their pursuit of progressive government, and in 1934 the American Youth Congress (AYC) came together as the national federation and lobbying arm of the movement as a whole.
  • Are We Checking the Great Plague?Four years ago in a historic article published simultaneously in Survey Graphic and Readers Digest, Surgeon General Parran launched a vast drive against syphilis. To what extent have we checked the spread of the disease and provided for its treatment? Here is a progress report by the assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service, who sounds a twenty-year challenge.
  • Auto Workers Strike: 1933ONE YEAR AGO a complacent public was shocked by the news of the Ford Riot in which four workers were killed and forty wounded. Added to this tragic method of education comes the latest Briggs' strike and the other related strikes which have all slowly and painfully had their effect in educating the public as to the true conditions in the auto industry.
  • Beginning of Great Depression: Stock Market Crash of October 1929In late October 1929 the stock market crashed, wiping out 40 percent of the paper values of common stock. When the stock market crashed in 1929, it didn’t happen on a single day.
  • Berry Picking and ReliefPublic relief affords no real security. The family on relief cannot meet its actual minimum needs. If private employment can offer more, we send it men. But we can hardly abandon our people to industry or agriculture which offers them less than relief. Employers will have no difficulty in getting or keeping labor if they can guarantee a certain and adequate wage and decent conditions. The relief client and his family are not lolling on the fat of the land on $7.50 a week.
  • Black Richmond: 1934The infant mortality rate in Black Richmond is 88 per 1000 births but many still live there who were born in slavery; individual Negroes often show a remarkable ability to survive life's handicaps. The illiteracy rate is approximately 10 percent in Black Richmond but there are many teachers and university professors with ample degrees from Columbia and Harvard, and lawyers, doctors, businessmen, social workers, most of them Richmond-born. That's the one thrilling thing about Black Richmond, the number brought up there who have somehow achieved education, poise, success. A Negro woman born and reared in the black city is the executive director of a large fraternal benefit association, founder and, until recently, the president of a Richmond bank which survived the moratorium. Another small black lady, founder and principal of the one institution resembling a high or vocational school in the neighboring county, has been honored for her achievements by a Harmon Award. Richmond Negroes carry on in many fields away from home, too. Charles Sydney Gilpin who played Emperor Jones, "Bojangles" Robinson of the light and shuffling feet were born in Richmond. Social workers know intimately the National Urban League and its secretary and director of industrial relations, both Richmond men. Legislators in two northern states, a leading doctor and an attorney in Detroit, a state parole officer in New York, a physician on the staff of Bellevue Hospital were born in Richmond.
  • Bonus March Following WWI, a pension was promised all returning service men to be administered in 1945. As the Great Depression took shape, many WWI veterans found themselves out of work, and an estimated 17,000 traveled to Washington, D.C. in May 1932 to put pressure on Congress to pay their cash bonus immediately. The former soldiers created camps in the Nation’s capital when they did not receive their bonuses which led to their forcible removal by the Army and the bulldozing of their settlements.
  • Book Relief in MississippiMaking something out of nothing by dint of courage, intelligence and resourcefulness is the record especially of Sunflower, Leflore and Hancock counties. When two county librarians went to work in Sunflower County last June not a library book was available for its 66,000 residents. A county headquarters has been leased from the board of supervisors for five years and today thirteen reading rooms and eighty-five deposit stations are being visited regularly, and 3000 volumes have been begged, borrowed or bought. Like most gift collections, the books include many which few, if any, libraries would purchase. However they also include Treasure Island, Little Women, Five Little Peppers, So Red the Rose, Goodbye Mr. Chips and similar titles. The magazines given in greatest quantity were Good Housekeeping and National Geographic; there are many copies also of Saturday Evening Post, American and Liberty....
  • But the Children Are Earning: 1935Miss Bailey Says... We have to park our principles sometimes in the face of the realities of family situations where the only cash is what children earn. What can a worker do, for instance, about: A ten-year-old boy who peddles pencils downtown at night to get money for movies, roller-skates and hot dogs? A family that bare-facedly lies about the ages of children too young to work but whose earnings are desperately needed? A boy of seventeen, oldest of a turbulent flock who gets his first job, and a pretty good one, and leaves home to live on his own? A docile girl of eighteen, oldest of six and only one working, who gives her father, for family purposes, every penny of her meager weekly wage??
  • Carrots from California"How much is stoop labor paid in a day?" "Almost everything is piece rate here. A Mex, working ten hours, can make $2 at pulling and tying carrots, but he has to go like hell. In the pea fields it's a penny a pound. A white man is good if he can pick more than two hundred pounds a day. Other wages are about the same.
  • Children Hurt at Work: 1932ONE of the many tragic aspects of the industrial exploitation of children is the army of boys and girls who, at the outset of their industrial careers, fall victims to the machine. Each year, in the sixteen states which take the trouble to find out what is happening to their young workers, no less than a thousand children under eighteen years are permanently disabled and another hundred are killed.
  • Children on StrikeSHOCKING conditions in the sweatshops of Pennsylvania, where 200,000 men, women, and children work long hours for starvation wages, became front-page news through the efforts of the "baby strikers" of the Lehigh Valley. Aided by the presence of Mrs. Gifford Pinchot on their picket line, they won the first skirmish in their fight against intolerable conditions when some of the employers signed an agreement providing for shorter working hours, a minimum-wage scale, and an immediate 10 per cent increase in wages. Unfortunately the agreement does not affect all the mills in Allentown or those in Easton, Northampton, and Catasqua, where the children are still on the picket line.
  • Children WantedBACK IN 1932, Helen's father, who worked in a cotton garment factory, was laid-off "because of hard times." Helen, aged thirteen, the eldest of five children, stopped school and got a job in the factory. Her wage was $2.50 for a fifty-hour week. She tried to keep up her school work at night. After the NRA underwear code went into effect, the factory hands under sixteen years of age were let out, Helen's father was taken on again, and Helen went back to school. But the code did not last long. It ceased to function when the U. S. Supreme Court declared the Recovery Act unconstitutional. Within a few months the factory laid off many of its adult workers, Helen's father among them. Helen, now fifteen years old and a high-school sophomore, again put aside her books to become a wage earner. When Helen was interviewed in the course of a survey in April 1936, she was working a fifty-two-hour week for $4.15, just under 8 cents an hour. A younger brother and sister were also working. Her father was still unemployed. "I don't expect I'll ever get back to school," she said.
  • Children WantedThe first federal child labor law was passed in 1916. It prohibited the shipment in interstate commerce of goods produced in mines and quarries in which children under sixteen years of age were employed; or in mills, canneries, workshops in which children under fourteen were employed, or in which children aged fourteen to sixteen worked more than eight hours a day or six days a week or between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The law went into effect September 1, 1917. Less than a year later it was declared unconstitutional by a five-to-four decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the ground that it transcended "the authority delegated to Congress over commerce," and interfered with states' rights. Justice Holmes, dissenting, held that "the act does not meddle with anything belonging to the states," and added that "if there is any matter upon which civilized countries have agreed...it is the evil of premature and excessive child labor."
  • City Diets and DemocracyThe proportion of our children who are found in families without adequate nutrition should be a matter of grave concern to all of us. A Bureau of Labor Statistics' study of employed wage earners and clerical workers shows that more than 40 percent of the children in this relatively favored group live in families whose incomes are below the level necessary to provide adequate food, as well as suitable housing, clothing, medical care, personal care, union dues, carfare, newspapers, and the other sorts of recreation for which city families must pay in dollars and cents.
  • Company Unions and the A. F. of L.
  • Coughlin, Father CharlesFather Coughlin's influence on Depression-era America was enormous. In the early 1930s, Coughlin was, arguably, one of the most influential men in America. Millions of Americans listened to his weekly radio broadcast. At the height of his popularity, one-third of the nation was tuned into his weekly broadcasts.
  • Crushing Out Our Children's LivesI WONDER how many of you have Miss Abbott's annual report of the Children's Bureau. The part relating to child labor is distressing. Miss Abbott tells us that there was a steady increase in child labor during the three years preceding the present period of depression and unemployment. According to reports from sixty cities in thirty-three states, 220,000 full-time working certificates were issued to children between fourteen and eighteen years of age in 1929, as against 150,000 in 1928.
  • Detroit Digs In: 1937The discipline of the strikers is remarkable. Company agents tried to incite a riot Thursday night, when they smashed a strikers' loud-speaker and a meeting near union headquarters, but the riots they hoped to stage did not develop. The sitdown strike leaders tell of other provocation. They have a strict rule that no liquor is to be brought into the occupied plant, and the only time the rule was violated, they say, was on New Years Eve when they permitted some company foremen to enter the plant. Since then there has been no drinking and no foreman has been allowed "to snoop around" among the men. ....Rank-and-file cooperation has made the "chief of police" the best loved man in the plant. There is no grumbling, although the men have been in the plant for eleven days and nights. Wives come to the windows to pass in laundry and food, which goes immediately into the general commissary. Women may not enter, but children may be passed through the windows for brief visits with their fathers. Every night at eight the strikers' band of three guitars, a violin, a mouth organ, and a squeeze box broadcast over a loud-speaker for the strikers and the women and children outside. Spirituals and hill-billy songs fill out the program, which closes with "Solidarity Forever."
  • Effect of Economic Conditions Upon the Living Standards of Negroes 1928 It has been shown by a study made for the University of Georgia that the Negro in Georgia spends io per cent of his income on food. With the high cost of housing, clothing, etc., he cannot afford more. Add to the limited amount of food its inferior quality and lack of variety, and (because the woman must work) the hastily prepared and irregular meals, and you have a fruitful cause of ill health. Washerwomen often begin early in the morning and do not eat breakfast until noon. They often leave home before breakfast without feeding their children, and the latter eat what is left over from the day before. The Negro is unable to pay now for medical and dental care when necessary. He has always been unable to get credit at drug stores, and there is not enough aggregate capital to provide their own drug stores in many communities; therefore the obtaining of medicine during times of illness is always difficult. He is unable to continue to provide from his own pocket in a group way those health facilities denied him because of race, such as private hospitals and the like.
  • Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 President Herbert Hoover said: "I expect to sign the relief bill on Tuesday. I do wish to express the appreciation which I have and I know that the country has to those leaders of both political parties who have cooperated to put the bill into effective shape and to eliminate the destructive proposals which were from time to time injected into it.
  • Exploiting the Child: 1934It has been almost a century since the first child-labor legislation began to appear on the statute books. Throughout this very long period of time, in the enactments of all of the State legislatures dealing with the problem, no example of abuse of authority has been found.... In no State has the labor of children on their family farm been regulated. In none has the home been invaded under the guise of regulating child labor. In none has the regulation or prohibition of premature employment operated to destroy the republican form of government. In none has the State's solicitude for the health of its youth been repaid by the automatic conversion of its wards to bolshevism. By what strange alchemy will the power to regulate child labor become so fraught with peril when entrusted to the national government? Are the men whom the States send to Congress possessed of some strange virus which makes it unsafe to give to them power exercised as a matter of course by the legislators who remain in the State capitols?
  • Flint Faces Civil War: 1937"We'll stay in till they carry us Out on stretchers," is the message sent out by the sitdowners in Fisher 2. "We'd rather die than give up." But will the 400 special police, deputized from Flint Alliance members, actually try to carry out the injunction at the zero hour of three o'clock? Will the 4,200 tin hats of the National Guard, equipped with howitzers, machine-guns, rifles, bayonets, and tear gas, be ordered to enforce the court order? The union does not know. But they mobilize hastily to resist. A picket line of 3,000 forms around Fisher 2, 10,000 citizens gather across the Street, and a stream of cars from all over Michigan brings in automobile workers by the hundreds to reinforce the picket line.
  • Flint Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937)On December 29, 1936 the Union learned that GM was planning to move the dies out of Fisher # 1.Travis immediately called a meeting at lunchtime at the union hall across the street from the plant, explained the situation, then sent the members across the street to occupy the plant. The Flint sit-down strike began. In a conventional strike the union takes its members outside the plant and attempts to prevent the employer from operating by discouraging other employees from entering. In a sit-down strike, the workers physically occupy the plant, keeping management and others out.
  • From the Ground Up: 1936An informal description of demonstration projects of the Resettlement Administration on the West Coast during the Great Depression.
  • Great Depression: American Social Policy One observer pointed out to Franklin D. Roosevelt upon taking office that, given the present crisis, he would be either the worst or greatest president in American history. Roosevelt is said to have responded: “If I fail, I shall be the last one.” By the time Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932, the traditional ideologies and institutions of the United States were in a state of upheavel. Americans who had grown up promoting the ideology of the “deserving and undeserving poor” and the stigma of poor relief were now standing in line for relief.
  • Great Depression: An IntroductionThe “Great Depression,” the start of which historians usually associate with The Stock Market Crash of 1929, threatened all three of America’s major institutional sectors.
  • Harlan: Working under the GunHarlan County in eastern Kentucky, which has been brought out into the spotlight this summer by the violence with which the local Coal Operators' Association has carried on this attack, is, as far as I can find out, a pretty good medium exhibit of the entire industry: living conditions are better than in Alabama and perhaps a little worse than in the Pittsburgh district. The fact that the exploited class in Harlan County is of old American pre-Revolutionary stock, that the miners still speak the language of Patrick Henry and Daniel Boone and Andrew Jackson and conserve the pioneer traditions of the Revolutionary War and of the conquest of the West, will perhaps win them more sympathy from the average American than he would waste on the wops and bohunks he is accustomed to see get the dirty end of the stick in labor troubles.
  • Harlem: Dark Weather-VaneThe Harlem riot of 1935, now the subject of a comprehensive report, demonstrated that "the Negro is not merely the man who shouldn't be forgotten; he is the man who cannot safely be ignored." Alain Locke, early interpreter of the New Harlem in a special issue of Survey Graphic, here pictures the Harlem of hard times
  • Harry Hopkins and Work Relief During the Great DepressionHarry Hopkins' New Deal work relief and jobs programs, designed to overcome the economic devastation wrought by the Great Depression during the 1930s, included the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
  • Harry Hopkins Experiences During the Progressive Era Helped Shape New Deal Policies and the Nations Emergent Welfare SystemThe cultural and political currents that shaped American society during the early decades of the twentieth century had a decided effect on the configuration of the American welfare system as it appeared in the 1930s. Social workers, politicians, and reformers carried those currents into the maelstrom of the Great Depression to influence New Deal policy.
  • Harvest and Relief: 1935"No work, no eat" has been the slogan in many communities as fruit and grain ripened for harvest and relief clients held back from farm jobs. In other areas, shortage of domestic help has been reported. What is the workers' side of the story? The taxpayers'? What is the policy of federal and state relief officials? Here an informed Washington writer goes behind the headlines to kind the facts and what they mean.
  • Homesteaders—New StyleFarm Security Administration's experiment in resettling southern tenants on land of their own, here described by a recent visitor to several projects, demonstrates that, given a boost by government, America's poorest pioneers can rise from relief to self-support.
  • Housing In The Depression: A Speech by Senator Robert F. Wagner 1936
  • Lange, DorotheaDorothea Lange was one of the leading documentary photographers of the Depression and arguably the most influential. Some of her pictures were reproduced so repeatedly and widely that they became commonly understood symbols of the human suffering caused by the economic disaster. At the same time her work functioned to create popular support for New Deal programs.
  • Long, Huey
  • Miss Bailey SaysIn the depth of the Great Depression, the March 1933 issue of Survey Midmonthly journal carried the first in a series of columns that would continue for a decade. The subject of the columns — Amelia Bailey — "Miss Bailey" to most people — was a 1930s-style virtual-reality public relief supervisor.
  • Miss Bailey Says...#1There is perhaps no point in the whole business of relief about which the public is so sensitive as in the matter of car-ownership. The question comes up even in the most car-conscious communities. Stories of abuses multiply at dinner and bridge tables and sooner or later magnify into newspaper headlines. More than once they have occasioned formal investigations of relief agencies and sweeping "reforms."
  • Miss Bailey Says...#10 What can the relief worker do when: • Practically every relief family in a foreign-speaking neighborhood finds the price of a ton of grapes for its year’s supply of wine? • A family steadfastly refuses to give any information about a relative who regularly pays their rent and sends them occasional boxes of luxurious clothes? • The family of five which is suddenly augmented by three half-grown children who, it is calmly explained, have been visiting their “auntie,” hitherto unheard of?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#2What shall the untrained investigator do when she observes in homes such situations as: Bootlegging? Deserted wife with children on relief, living in sin with a lodger? Father periodically drunk and (a) cheerful, (b) abusive to children? Father demanding shotgun marriage for reluctant daughter?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#3What shall the untrained relief investigator do when she observes in homes such situations as: The family on relief that she "catches" filing into the movie theater? The girl in the family who blossoms out with a new permanent wave? The family that, at the morning call, was in rags and despair, and is all dressed up and going to a party when she returns at night with a food order? The family that supports a man‑sized dog?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#4What about relief investigators who, when visiting families: Smoke if they feel like it Holler upstairs Pump the children and the neighbors Look under the bed for extra shoes and into the cupboard for food?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#5 What about relief investigators who, in visiting families: • Find a public‑health nurse also on the job? • Opine that codliver oil is an old wives' tale? • Predict the goryness of approaching tonsillectomies? • Report prenatal patients when the stork is on the wing?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#6What can an unskilled home visitor do when she finds that in families where relief is as adequate as conditions permit: • Children, under threat of parental whipping, are coming to the office to make special pleas? • Children and grown‑ups too are making a practice of begging? • Children are being permitted, even sent, to hang around restaurants and explore garbage‑cans?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#7 What should relief workers do when: What should relief workers do when: • A waiting client suddenly throws a paper‑weight across the office and begins to scream • A client disrupts the waiting‑room with loud threats of what he proposes to do to the interviewer? • A delegation with banners and baby‑carriages demonstrates noisily under the office windows? • A large and voluble committee, with police hovering in the background, demands a hearing for its protest against the relief system?
  • Miss Bailey Says...#8 Families with bank accounts, families with cars, families never before touched by social agencies, now figure large in the “relief population” of these United States. How the new problems they bring, rarely encountered by case workers of a few years ago, are being treated, how workers without extensive training are being prepapred to meet situations calling for quick and discriminating judgment, are the subjects of a series of Survey articles, of which this is the eighth, drawn from day-to-day experience in busy relief offices.
  • Miss Bailey Says...#9What shall the home visitor do about: • The unemployed son of the house who brings home an unemployed bride? What shall the home visitor do about: • The girl who holds out her slender earnings from the family budget and takes title to a cheap fur coat the day the family is dispossessed? • The able-bodied youth who refused to go to a refestation camp and who has since kept himself in cigarettes by bartering the tidbits of the family grocery order? • The mother who persistently and successfully connives to swap essentials of the food order for cream to satisfy the “weak stummick” of her 200-pound son? • The mother who supports her stalwart eldest in his refusal to take a job that requires him to get up at six o’clock in the morning?
  • Mobilize for Total Nutrition!Very many families are unable to secure enough "protective foods." Milk, meat, eggs, fresh vegetables, and fruits are relatively expensive. Whole wheat bread and other whole grain cereals are perishable—a factor which adds to the cost of their distribution. The farmer in most cases can keep a cow and have a garden and an orchard; but on some poor lands, this is impossible. The city dweller is always dependent on the market for the variety of foods available to him and the amounts which his dollar will purchase. Families with incomes below a certain level must have assistance in tangible form if they are to secure the foods which provide an adequate diet. Assistance may take the form of a money dole, or it may involve the direct distribution of food.
  • Our Jobless Youth: a Warning We have seen in our time the revolution of dispossessed youth in Europe, where anything seemed better—to live, and march, and die for—than existence without meaning. Can we give our young people a real stake in life before it is too late? This grave question is put to educators, and all responsible leaders in American life, by one of our best informed and most sympathetic younger writers.
  • Pea-Pickers' Child: 1935The death notice in the county paper was not more than two inches in depth but it had, nevertheless, its modest headline: PEA-PICKERS CHILD DIES. Already there had been three deaths in the pea-pickers' camp: a Mexican had been murdered, stabbed; a child had died of burns; a baby had died of what his young mother referred to as "a awful fever in his little stomach." And now the shallow headlines spoke of Zetilla Kane, the seventh child and only daughter of Joe and Jennie Bell Kane.
  • Profile of General Motors: 1937G. M. has followed the orthodox tradition of the automobile barons in its dealings with its employees. The men, even their private lives, are considered company property. Its espionage organization is almost as highly developed as the feared Ford service; cities like Flint and Pontiac—and Detroit—are completely under its thumb. Long before the notorious Black Legion appeared in the down-river Ford area, G. M. workers in Pontiac dreaded the "Bullet Club," a secret political organization whose officials practically displaced the formal employment agencies in hiring and firing.
  • Public Works AdministrationThe PWA issued a report in 1939, titled “America Builds,” arguing that the PWA had in fact stimulated the economy. By then it had built thousands of projects, spending billions of dollars on materials and wages. The report estimates that PWA projects used more than one billion man-hours – 1,714,797,910, to be exact. The report said that wages paid on those projects were plowed back into the economy many times over:
  • Report, Flint, Michigan, November 30, 1934As one investigator said, "The workers in Detroit used to run up debts between employment,--run a rent up for several months, owe a grocery bill for several months and borrow on the furniture. They don't do that any more. When their money is exhausted they come to relief." While several men said to me with evident satisfaction that they had no debts, others pointed out that the grocers and landlords no longer feeling so optimistic about the economic possibilities of their debtors will not extend credit as they used to. An old Ford worker said, "I used to be able to pick up odd jobs such as washing cars. My wife did, too, then. We used to worry along." A Chevrolet man said "Each year my savings grew lean and less until now I am at rock bottom." These men are both applying for relief for the first time this Fall. They expect to get jobs by the first of the year if not before.
  • School for Bums If you want to know how to make a bum out of a workingman who has had trade, home, security and ambition taken from him, talk to any of the young fellows on the breadline who have been in town long enough to have become experienced in misery. Say a man in this town goes to the Municipal Lodging House for his first night. Until lately, he would have been routed out at five in the morning. Now he can stay until six. He is given breakfast, then he must leave, blizzard or rain. He can go next to a Salvation Army shelter for a handout, and get down to the City Free Employment Bureau before it opens. Or he can find shelter in subways and mark the Want Ads in a morning paper.
  • Schools for a MinorityTo Americans north and south this Alabama journalist presents the picture of race discrimination in education—a failure of democracy with economic, social and political repercussions throughout our national life.
  • Springer, Gertrude"Gertrude Springer has sprung from Better Times to The Survey. With this issue of the Mid-monthly, she takes over, as associate editor, the Social Practice Department.... " (15 October 1930, p. 106.) Springer undertook field trips and initiated contacts to determine the lay of the social welfare landscape beyond New York. In pithy writing about social issues, policy, and services across the country, she never neglected to explain how things came down to affecting individuals. "Amelia Bailey," — "Miss Bailey" to most people — was a 1930s-style virtual-reality public relief supervisor. “Miss Baily Says…” columns dealt with issues such as: “When Your Client Has a Car,” “Are Relief Workers Policemen?,” “How We Behave in Other People’s Houses.”
  • Success Stories—Work Relief StyleIN DECEMBER 1932, A DISCONSOLATE YOUNG MAN, TWO OR three years out of college, sat on a park bench and watched his big toe come through his best shoe, while he tried to screw up courage to apply for relief. Two years later he was the executive head of an insurance enterprise handling millions of dollars annually, working in close conjunction with important medical and educational institutions. He, himself, has won an international reputation in his special field. His name would be known to many Survey Graphic readers.
  • Success Stories—Work Relief Style: 1939IN DECEMBER 1932, A DISCONSOLATE YOUNG MAN, TWO OR three years out of college, sat on a park bench and watched his big toe come through his best shoe, while he tried to screw up courage to apply for relief. Two years later he was the executive head of an insurance enterprise handling millions of dollars annually, working in close conjunction with important medical and educational institutions.
  • Temporary Emergency Relief AdministrationIn 1930, with unemployment rising and jobs becoming increasingly scarce, American citizens began to feel the effects of the economic downturn that began with the Stock Market Crash the previous October. The Great Depression was just beginning. The problem of unemployment in New York State and in its major cities grew increasingly critical, and it was obvious that neither local funding nor privately-supported agencies could handle the crisis. Despite the lack of accurate statistics, all cities had reported that unemployment had reached unprecedented proportions. New York, as the leading industrial state, had an especial need to maintain and develop the wage-earner market. With the support of both labor and business, Frances Perkins, the state industrial commissioner, told Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt that public works projects were "the greatest source of hope for the future," and she recommended the immediate implementation of local public works programs along with public employment clearinghouses.1
  • The Big Morgue: 1939What happens to a steel town, and to steel workers, when modern technology sweeps old methods aside? Whatever the long range gain through efficiency, the first effect, according to this researcher, is a lot of dead jobs, gone forever in the big new continuous production mills.
  • The Challenge of the Depression "RETRENCHMENT is in order," some library trustees are reported to have said, both in relation to current expenditures from a normal budget and in connection with the request budget for the coming year. Do these trustees and the public officials know of the heavy increase in reading-room use and book circulation that is universally reported due to enforced leisure and reduction of personal expenditures for commercial recreation? The work of the library, unlike that of many business organizations, grows rather than diminishes in times of depression....
  • The Detroit Strike: 1933AT nine o'clock on Wednesday morning, January 11, a worker at the main tool-and-die-making plant of the Briggs Manufacturing Company was told by his foreman to step into the office and receive a wage cut. Instead, the worker went to the head of his shop committee and then, along with the other workers in his department, from floor to floor, announcing that a strike against wage cuts had been called. There were only about 450 men working in the plant then--but every one of them put away his tools and walked out. So began the first major labor struggle in Detroit since the period immediately following the war. Today there are between 10,000 and 14,000 * workers on strike at the four plants of the Briggs Company and at the Murray Manufacturing Company's plant. The huge Ford factories all over the country have shut down--admittedly because they cannot get bodies from the two factories crippled by the strikes; the Hudson Motor Company has shut down; and the Chrysler Motor Company plant is working on part time when ordinarily it would be operating at the peak of production.
  • The First Step Toward FitnessWhen America began to recover from the Great Depression, it began to take stock of its human resources. We found that a large minority of our population did not get enough to eat. These people who did not get enough to at were below par in health. They were below par in initiative and alertness.
  • The Hill-Billies Come to Detroit: 1934The automobile manufacturers' labor policy is this: The industry must not be unionized, and to keep the unions from gaining a foothold, we must take every precaution and spare no expense. Among the experienced automotive workers living in Detroit and the vicinity, only those have been and are being rehired whom the plant employment managers personally know to be "safe," or who can secure personal O.K.'s from prominent citizens in Detroit, such as well-known judges and commanders of American Legion posts. Workers known to be inclined, however slightly, toward unionism or radicalism are almost generally taboo in the production department, whether on relief or not. Those hired are watched by stool pigeons, who in some plants go so far as to search the men's overcoat pockets for possible radical literature.
  • The Job AheadA call to action—and a program. An epochal statement.—by the Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service in July 1941.
  • The Negro and Relief - Part IThis practice of the displacement of Negro labor by white labor began even before the depression. The Negro felt its effect as early as 1927. From the very beginning it has been stimulated by outside forces. For instance, an organization called the Blue Shirts was set up in Jacksonville, Florida, about 1926 for the express purpose of replacing Negroes in employment with white men. An organization called the Black Shirts was formed at Atlanta, Georgia, late in 1927 for the same purpose. The Black Shirts, whose regalia consisted chiefly of black shirts and black neckties, published a daily newspaper. They frequently held night parades in which were carried such signs as "Employ white man and let 'Niggers' go"; "Thousands of white families are starving to death-what is the reason?"; and "Send 'Niggers' back to the farms."
  • The Negro and Relief: Part IIAbout the only source to which the Negro can look for real aid today is the United States government. Experience has shown that local authorities cannot be trusted to administer equably government funds in many sections of the country so far as Negroes are concerned. I am satisfied that the national administration is eminently fair and wants to reach out and see the benefits of its recovery program extended to every citizen, but this ideal is neutralized in many local communities. On the other hand, one does not need to argue for complete centralized control by the federal government, but rather for a degree of protection for a group which experience has proved suffers at the hands of local administrators.
  • The New Deal: Part IBy 1932, one of the darkest years of the Great Depression, at least one-quarter of the American workforce was unemployed. President Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and took office in 1933. The new President acted swiftly to try and stabilize the economy, provide jobs and some form of relief to those who were suffering. Over the next eight years, the Roosevelt Administration initiated a series of projects and programs, known collectively as the New Deal, which aimed to restore some measure of dignity and prosperity to millions of Americans who were unable to find work and earn wages necessary to support and protect their families. Below are brief descriptions of some the major legislative accomplishments and the programs they created.
  • The Plan to End Poverty in California (EPIC)The nomination of an avowed socialist to head the Democratic party ticket was more than the California establishment could tolerate. Sinclair's radical candidacy was opposed by just about every establishment force in California. The media virtually demonized Sinclair through a concerted propaganda campaign based largely on smears and falsehoods. Sinclair's candidacy also set off a bitter political battle both within the Democratic party and with many groups who were opposed to various aspects of the EPIC plan. Sinclair was denounced as a "Red" and "crackpot" and the Democratic establishment sought to derail his candidacy. Despite all of this, Upton Sinclair was very nearly elected Governor of California in 1934.
  • The Problem of Unemployment : January, 1935But it is not our part to concern ourselves over-much with the forms and processes of government. Ours must be the objective point of view. We must take hunger, destitution, and the mal-adjustments of society as we find them, and mitigate their effects as best we can within the limitations of the existing scheme of things. But there is no law or rule or ethical precept which says we cannot exult when we see government concern itself with the problems in which we deal. And we must give our counsel and support to any political regime which says, as President Roosevelt said last June in submitting the draft of the Social Security Act, "Among our objectives I place the security of the men and women and children of the Nation first." That, all along, has been the objective of those of us who have viewed unemployment and need as a professional problem. Now it has the sanction of a strong government and a courageous President and I think we may well be encouraged over the promise of fulfillment which they give.
  • The Shift in Child Labor: 1933 CHILD labor cannot be ignored as a vital factor in the present economic crisis. Children are leaving school and going to work at a time when millions of adults are jobless and many of these children are acting as the sole support of their families because their fathers and older brothers and sisters are unemployed. While it is true that the number of gainfully employed children has fallen off in the past two years, this decrease measured against the decrease in all wage-earning shows that child labor has only kept pace with the drop in adult employment during the depression.
  • The Social Implications of the Roosevelt Administration: 1934A "Year of Roosevelt" would be a crisper title for the address made at the twenty-first annual meeting of Survey Associates by Secretary of the Interior Ickes. As federal public works' administrator he is steward of "the greatest sum of money ever appropriated by any government for such a purpose in the history of the world." But it was as a fighting citizen of Chicago, a long-time member of Survey Associates, that we turned to him to interpret the social stakes in the Recovery Program
  • The Social Worker and the DepressionSocial workers in many cities of the country know that entire families are now expected to exist on relief orders of $2 a week. Social workers among themselves deplore the circumstances, but should a newspaper ask for specific evidence of human suffering they would refuse to give the names and addresses of actual families known to them. Information on cases is confidential. It would be "unethical" to tell a newspaper that the Lee family is slowly starving to death, although the newspaper obviously needs to have facts on which to base demands for better relief standards. If this sounds fantastic, I can only say it happened recently, shall we say in Queensborough? Social workers will not give specific details on the distress and destitution of a few, not even to save many. Most social workers, I may add, fail to use even disguised case stories for social propaganda The poor themselves, when they are not so persistently protected from publicity by their social workers, are taking a somewhat more practical view of their situation. Nowadays, when relief is inadequate and they are hungry, they turn to stealing, begging, and standing on the public streets in bread lines. In fact, in one city where the professional social workers are too "ethical" to disclose the distress of those receiving charitable relief, the unemployed are participating in demonstrations, petitioning the city administration for more food, and in turn are being arrested by His Honor, the mayor of the city, on charges of vagrancy and disorderly conduct.
  • Townsend, Dr. Francis
  • Whither Self-Help?: 1934What is happening to the self-helpers? Will they become true cooperators? Chiselers? Brown Shirts? And what about the Communists? In California, which has more self-help organizations than all the rest of the country, barter has been going on long enough to have a history and some policies and to refute the prophets who predicted it would die aborning.
  • Why Ford Workers Strike: 1933Ford has been applauded by the outside world for the favorable conditions in his factories, but he was referred to with sullen looks and sour noises when the writer questioned the workers about these conditions. The one which the workers protested against most vehemently is the result of circumstances which they are helpless to control. A breakdown on any part of the assembly line means that they all must knack off. The moment this happens, the time is recorded and the worker's pay stops. If the tie-up is for two hours, he must work two hours longer that night. In the meantime he is not permitted to leave his station. He may not smoke, and even conversation is discouraged.
  • Women and the Vote Women are thinking and that is the first step toward an increased and more intelligent use of the ballot. Then they will demand of their political parties clear statements of principles and they will scrutinize their party’s candidates, watch their records, listen to their promises and expect them to live up to them and to have their party’s backing, and occasionally when the need arises, women will reject their party and its candidates. This will not be disloyalty but will show that as members of a party they are loyal first to the fine things for which the party stands and when it rejects those things or forgets the legitimate objects for which political parties exist, then as a party it cannot command the honest loyalty of its members.
  • WPA Travelling LibrariesThe depression came and county libraries were sorely stricken financially. While no such chartered or State sponsored county institution ceased to function, the service was seriously curtailed. These curtailments increased as endowments and the finances of the smaller political units went from bad to worse. Rescuing funds from the Federal government through relief agencies came in the nick of time. Numerous employees were being furloughed, others were having their salaries cut for the third or fourth time, book repair and book purchases had ceased, many buildings were sadly in need of repair and service was cut to the bone in the summer of 1933.
  • Youth Finds Its Own Answers: 1939The student movements of the Great Depression era were arguably the most significant mobilizations of youth-based political activity in American history prior to the late 1960s. As time passed, many local youth organizations became more organized in their pursuit of progressive government, and in 1934 the American Youth Congress (AYC) came together as the national federation and lobbying arm of the movement as a whole.