New Mexico in the Great Depression What We’ll Learn • How bad the Great Depression was in New Mexico. • How the New Deal attempted to end the Great Depression. • What impact the New Deal had on the state. • How New Mexicans managed to survive the Great Depression. Suffering Industries • Mining, oil, and gas industry got hit hard. – 2,000 miners lost jobs – Metal prices fell more than quadruple its price in 4 years. – Hobbs population: 20,000 to 1,000 almost overnight. • Railroad business – SF Rail laid off 40% of workers. • General unemployment. – 25% of skilled workers unemployed – Female teachers lost jobs to men. Unemployed Youth • Dropped out to support family; but couldn’t get good jobs. – Why wouldn’t they be hired? • Families couldn’t pay taxes for schools, so they would close entirely. • No jobs or school – youth left home for work. – Would many find jobs? Mexican Immigrant Labor • Faced the worst discrimination. • No objection in the ‘20s, but attitudes changed in the ‘30s. – Why? • ½ of all deported actually American citizens; many Hispanics from NM. – Why? Seasonal Labor for New Mexicans • Seasonal employment in other states became difficult to find. – Why? • Farms average only 12 acres – not able to survive. – How did New Mexicans receive help? Transient Labor • People started coming to New Mexico. • Many were kicked out of Albuquerque. • Dust Bowl caused a lot of transients – homeless – to travel by train or car through NM to CA. Dust Bowl • Started in the mid ‘30s. • 150,000 square miles in drought. • Huge dust storms; layers of dirt would cover farm equipment. • Desperation – Rain-making machines? – California dreams? Okies • Dust Bowl families heading to California. • Treated well by New Mexicans – Offered food – Gas stations repaired cars – Motels lowered prices – Many wouldn’t accept money from Okies but would rather barter. The New Deal • Citizens needed help; where did they turn for help? • People couldn’t pay taxes – couldn’t get much help from the state or federal government. • Who did people blame for the Great Depression? The New Deal • Franklin D. Roosevelt elected President in 1932. • Created The New Deal to end the Depression – Correct causes of the crisis. – Recovery and relief – New government programs. Bringing the New Deal to New Mexico • Clyde Tingley and Dennis Chavez helped NM climb out of the Depression. • Tingley was governor, and Chavez was a U.S. Senator • Chavez got NM highest priority for New Deal projects, jobs, and funding. New Deal Political Feud • Tingley and Chavez were friends, but ended up feuding; wanting control of New Deal programs. • Tingley wanted a 3rd term, but Chavez didn’t support this. • Tingley accused Chavez’s friends and relatives of using New Deal for their political advantage. New Deal for Workers • Works Progress Administration (WPA) – 14, 309 New Mexicans employed. – $18.75 per week ($259 today). – Constructed public facilities. – Roads, bridges, schools, sewers, utility plants, airports, landing fields, libraries, courhouses, post offices……so on and so on. New Deal for Artists • WPA’s Federal Art Project – 165 men and women shared talents in public art projects around the state. – Included 5 members of the Taos Society of Artists. – Most art was for public buildings (murals, sculptures, paintings). New Deal for Authors • WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project – Federal funding for an “State Guide.” – What would you put in the state guide of New Mexico? New Deal for Youth • Took advantage of pools, parks, community centers. • Many were able to stay in school because of the National Youth Administration (work and go to class). • Depression-era schools taught traditional arts and crafts. – Why? New Deal for Youth • SFIS began teaching Native American culture again. • New revival and respect in Native American ways. • Dorothy Dunn – taught new respect for Native American ways. – “She made us realize how important our own Indian ways were because we had been made to feel ashamed of them. She gave us something to be proud of.” Civilian Conservation Corp • CCC; created to provide employment opportunities for youth that didn’t finish an education. • 3 million men ages 18-25. • 6 month periods for conservation projects • Valuable lesson: working with others, sharing history, and respecting the land. New Deal Problems • Many thought the WPA worked too slow. • Hispanics claimed discrimination in the CCC and WPA. • Native American issues with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Taylor Grazing Act. Indian Reorganization Act and Taylor Grazing Act • IRA allowed for tribes to self-govern. – Worked out very well for the Mescalero Apache Tribe. • Taylor Grazing Act; Navajos grazing too many sheep, so this attempted to solve the problem of overgrazing; well intentioned, but tragic for Navajos. – What eventually caused problems? Bosque Farms • Another well intentioned but failed New Deal project. • Meant to help Dust Bowl families, but the land wasn’t big enough for all of them. • Land re-divided amongst families; what happened to some families? Overall Impact of the New Deal • Pros – Most programs helped. – New Deal respected SW cultures and values – Young people learned valuable work and social skills. – Protected our economy and form of government. • Cons – Not everything worked. – Many still suffered – Well-intentioned programs could backfire. Conclusion • Great Depression was the worst economic period in NM History! • While the New Deal helped, New Mexicans prevailed by their own personal strengths and helping one another.