African-American History ~ Great Depression

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  • (copyleft 2007) Chad David Cover.Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 1.0 Generic. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/
  • African Americans had unemployment rates twice as high as the national average. (50% rate in Cleveland; 50% nationally by 1932.)Unemployment hit industrial & agricultural workers particularly hard. Hit one-industry towns, blue-collar & unskilled workers the hardest.Black women forced out of domestic service, as white employers preferred to hire white women. Black women earned $.23 (cf. $.61 for white women on the average male $1.00).
  • Hoover tried to
  • NRA stood for “Negroes Robbed Again”
  • “Federal Council on Negro Affairs” (aka Black Cabinet). 27 men & 3 women, lead by Bethune, pressured FDR and heads of federal agencies to adopt & support color-blind polices and lobbied to advance the status of black Americans.White members included Harold Ickes (former Chicago chapter President of the NAACP), Daniel Roper, Sec. of Commerce, and Harry Hopkins, FDR’s relief administrator.Black Members: Mary McLeod Bethune (National Youth Adminstration), Eugene Jones (from National Urban League to work in Commerce), William Hastie (Interior), Ira A. De Reid (SSA), Lawrence Oxley (Labor), Ambrose Caliver (Education).
  • NRA stood for “Negroes Robbed Again”
  • Re #6) Women like Ella Baker in Harlem Fannie Peck in Detroit formed “Housewives Leagues” (spread to Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, Durham, NC & Cleveland) that touted “The Spending Power of Women” and which used boycotts of merchants who refused to sell to blacks or to employ black women or children.
  • NAACP (and AFL) successfully fought against Hoover’s nomination of supremacist NC judge John J. Parker to Supreme Court. Parker once stated that “participation of the Negro in politics is a source of evil and danger to both races.”Charles Hamilton Houston hired by NAACP:concentrated on forcing southern states to equalize school funding—for both black children & teachers. (GA spent $36.29 per white student, but only $4.59 per black; white teachers earned $97.88 per month, but black ones only $49.41.)Tried to challenge discrimination against blacks in higher education, for most southern states had no grad schools for blacks (Gaines v. Canada, 1938: SC ordered MO to establish a state-supported law school for blacks. MO funded a law school at Lincoln University; NC, TX, OK & SC followed suit.) Lead the way to Sweattv. Painter (1950) in which the SC declared separate black law school in Texas a violation of equal protection of the law.Smith v. Allwright (1944) SC declared the all-white TX primary unconstitutional.

Transcript

  • 1. The Great Depression
  • 2. Unemployment
  • 3. Black Unemployment
  • 4. New Deal for Blacks?
    FDR attracted support from African Americans,
    FDR’s Democratic coalition relied upon support of ranking Southern Democrats who chaired key committees.
    Franklin Roosevelt remained tight-lipped about civil rights, but Eleanor did not.
    First New Deal administered locally & racially.
    • Good for northern blacks.
    • 5. Bad for southern blacks.
  • New Deal Realignment
  • 6. The Black Cabinet
  • 7. New Deal Programs
    Programs that discriminated against African Americans outright:
    AAA
    NRA / Social Security Act
    HOLC & FHA
    WPA (initially)
    CCC (in the South)
    Programs that supported some African Americans
    FERA
    WPA
    NYA
    PWA
  • 8. WPA Art
    Palmer Hayden
    The Janitor Who Paintsabout 1937oil
    Black writers like Richard Wright, Jacob Lawrence n & Zora Neale Hurston, artists like Palmer Hayden, photographers like Gordon Parks, even African American actors received WPA support to continue their artistic pursuits
  • 9. Black Resistance
    NAACP
    Unemployment Councils
    STFU
    CPUSA & ILD
    JCNR / NNC
    “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work”
    BSCP
    CIO
    Anti-lynching Campaigns
  • 10. Anti-Lynching
  • 11. Sharecropping
  • 12. Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union
  • 13. Scottsboro Boys
  • 14. Black Heroes of the 1930s
    Joe Louis
    Jesse Owens
    Paul Robeson
    Marian Anderson