Life During the Great Depression - pams

Life During the
Guided Reading Activity
Women had a hard time
keeping jobs during the
Great Depression due to
sexism and new
Men were competing for
traditional jobs in teaching
and education.
Since men were considered
the breadwinners in society,
women were expected to
give their jobs to
unemployed men.
Domestic jobs, like the ones
advertised to the left, were
increasingly scarce as
family budgets tightened.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt kept
in constant
communication with
the American people
by :
Traveling constantly
Making frequent radio
speeches on topics she
considered important.
Writing a daily
newspaper column.
Eleanor Roosevelt
As First Lady, Roosevelt also held exclusive
press conferences for female reporters.
She encouraged her husband to appoint as
many women to power as possible – including
the first female cabinet member, Secretary of
Labor Francis Perkins.
Eleanor Roosevelt supported AfricanAmerican rights, speaking in favor of antilynching laws proposed by the U.S. Congress.
Low cotton prices forced
African-American men to
leave sharecropping jobs for
industrial jobs in the cities.
Southern communities usually
hired poor whites – who
suffered similarly – for positions
before black workers.
Northern Industrial jobs were
given to white immigrants
before African American men.
Racism prevailed in both the
North and the South.
Civil Rights
 Civil
Rights are the rights guaranteed in
the Constitution, especially voting rights
and the equal treatment under the law.
 During the Great Depression, the 14th and
15th Amendments to the Constitution
guaranteed African-Americans civil rights
in theory; however, segregation and “Jim
Crow” still reigned in the South, and
racism prevailed all over the United
Roosevelt would
not support antilynching laws.
Although Eleanor Roosevelt
supported anti-lynching laws and
FDR was in favor of them in
principal, the President never
demanded any major Civil Rights
legislation while in office. FDR
always believed that forcing antilynching laws through the
Congress would jeopardize his
ability to work with Southern
Democratic legislators. Thus,
racist and murderous lynch mobs
continued to murder men, and
then have their portraits made
next to the bodies – fearlessly since judge, jury, and lawmen
were all so racist that no white
man would ever be arrested,
much less convicted of a crime,
against an African-American.
Easter Sunday at the Lincoln
When the Daughters of the
American Revolution forbid
Mirian Anderson to perform
in their concert hall
because she was black,
Eleanor Roosevelt resigned
her membership in protest.
Then, she arranged for an
Easter Sunday concert
featuring Mirian Anderson
on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial in Washington,
D.C. Over 75,000 attended.
During prosperous times,
California and Southwestern
farmers were happy to employ
Mexican immigrants to the United
States – they were considered
cheap labor. When the
Depression and the Dust Bowl
brought thousands upon
thousands of white workers out
west, though, Mexican laborers
were no longer wanted. Now,
they were deported. Reportedly,
even Mexican-Americans –
United States citizens of Mexican
ancestry – were deported to
Mexico by train.
Mexican Immigrants and
Mexican Americans Deported
The Indian
Act of 1934
Although John Collier’s efforts to
restore power to the reservations
– through the construction of
schools, hospitals, irrigation
systems, and government
structures – were genuine, they
did not succeed. Collier wanted
to see an interest in Native
American history revived and
funding for Native American arts
and cultural expression. But this
did not improve living conditions
on reservations, which remained
desperately poor. Despite
restrictions on land sales, the
reservations continued to be
broken up and disjointed by real
estate transactions. The “Indian
New Deal” was unsuccessful.
The Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl was caused by a variety of
factors – but largely because of widespread
crop failures due to drought.
Modern farming methods which had
removed sod from thousands of acres of land
contributed to the problem as well. Without
the grasslands to keep it in place, the dry soil
of the Great Plains was unstable.
When windstorms unaccompanied by rain
began to torment the Great Plains, the
powder-like soil took flight, and dust
blackened the sun.
A Dust Storm in Texas, 1935
An Oklahoma Dust Storm
The Dust Bowl: Worst Areas
The Dust Bowl: Ruined Farms
The Dust Bowl: Ruined Farms
Families who lost
everything during the
ecological disaster
known as “The Dust Bowl”
were forced to hit the
road. They could not
breathe the air, much
less farm in a prosperous
manner, in the Midwest.
Many decided to head
west, along Route-66 to
“Okies” Emigrate
The cars they drove west in
were often weighed down with
everything they had left in the
world. Entire families crowded
into the car, driving West to find
work picking fruits and
vegetables in California. Most
would struggle for many years
before they found stability and
economic well-being again.
“Okies” headed west on
Route 66.
The Grapes of
Wrath, by John
In John Steinbeck’s classic
novel is about the survival of
the working class American
family – come what may. In
the book, the Joads abandon
their failed Oklahoma farm and
head west. Tom Joad, an antihero who has violated parole
to stay will his family, finds
himself involved with the cause
of social justice among the
migrant workers in California.
By the end of the novel, Tom is
forced to leave his folks, yet the
family – battered but not
broken – remains.
“The People” Survive
“The women watched the men, watched
to see whether the break had come at last.
The women stood silently and watched.
And where a number of men gathered
together, the fear went from their faces,
and anger took its place. And the women
sighed with relief, for they knew it was all
right – the break had not come; and the
break would never come as long as fear
could turn to wrath.”
Many States were
Impacted by the
Dust Bowl’s Storms
North Dakota
South Dakota
New Mexico
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange was hired by
the Farm Security
Administration to chronicle the
experiences of American
farmers during the Great
Depression. She embraced her
mission, fully, traveling the
nation alongside “Okies” and
migrant workers,
photographing their living
environments and working
conditions, and producing
some of the most stirring and
evocative portraits in all
American History. Indeed, they
are some of the best in the
history of photography itself.
Dorothea Lange’s Photos
Dorothea Lange’s Photos
Dorothea Lange’s Photos
Dorothea Lange’s
This is probably Dorothea
Lange’s most famous
photograph – it is one of a
series of portraits of a mother
an her children in a migrant
camp in California. Although
most people focus on the look
of concern on the mother’s
face in the image, there are
three children in the frame as
Dorothea Lange’s Photos
The Movies
Americans coping with the
radio –shows and the
news (Little Orphan
“soap operas” (on
movies- Shirley Temple,
Walt Disney (Snow
White, Gone With the
Wind, The Wizard of
the “dole” ( welfaretaking handouts)
family support
soup kitchens
Music- gospel, slow jazz,
Magazines- McCalls//Life
Literature- John Steinbeck
-The Grapes of Wrath
Of Mice and Men
Sports- Baseball
Hollywood- Joan
Crawford, Mae West
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