destitute_man_vacant_store

Great Depression: unemployed, destitute man leaning against vacant store, by Dorothea Lange
Photo: Public Domain

The Great Depression 

 

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.

 


  • "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" - 1932In the song a beggar talks back to the system that stole his job. Jay Gorney said in an interview in 1974 "I didn't want a song to depress people. I wanted to write a song to make people think. It isn't a hand-me-out song of 'give me a dime, I'm starving, I'm bitter', it wasn't that kind of sentimentality". The song asks why the men who built the nation – built the railroads, built the skyscrapers – who fought in the war, who tilled the earth, who did what their nation asked of them should, now that the work is done and their labor no longer necessary, find themselves abandoned and in bread lines.
  • A Discussion of Public Relief: 1940This report was prepared by Anna Kempshall, Director of Family Service, and most likely to have been presented to the Board of Directors of the Community Service Society November 4, 1940. The subject of relief was very timely because a number of the New Deal programs enacted in 1935 created the nation’s first universal social safety net that included federal and state funding for financial grants to poor individuals and families.
  • 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.
  • Adoption Project: 1937Modern adoption history has been marked by vigorous reforms dedicated to surrounding child placement with legal and scientific safeguards enforced by trained professionals working under the auspices of certified agencies. In 1917, for instance, Minnesota passed the first state law that required children and adults to be investigated and adoption records to be shielded from public view. By mid-century, virtually all states in the country had revised their laws to incorporate such minimum standards as pre-placement inquiry, post-placement probation, and confidentiality and sealed records. At their best, these standards promoted child welfare. Yet they also reflected eugenic anxieties about the quality of adoptable children and served to make adult tastes and preferences more influential in adoption than children’s needs. The Adoption Project paper is a part of that history.
  • African Americans and the Civilian Conservation CorpsThe Emergency Conservation Work Act establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps was signed into law by President Roosevelt on March 31, 1933. Under the direction of Robert Fechner, the CCC employed young men between the ages of 17 and 23 in work camps where they were assigned to various conservation projects. Enrollees were paid thirty dollars a month, twenty-five dollars of which was sent home to the enrollee's families. From 1933 to 1942, over three million young men enrolled in the CCC, including 250,000 African Americans who were enrolled in nearly 150 all-black CCC companies.
  • AFSC and the Mountaineer's Craftsmen Cooperative AssociationIn 1932, Herbert Hoover asked the AFSC if it would take money left over from the American Relief Administration Children's Fund and start a feeding program in the mining districts once again. The Service Committee agreed to do this, but it soon became apparent to those carrying out the project that more than just feeding needed to be done. It appeared the mining industry might never fully recover from the economic collapse of the time. Miners were underemployed, if employed at all. Most knew only mining and felt inadequate in attempting any other form of employment. For many reasons miners and their families were reluctant to leave the place where they were born and had lived all their lives.
  • 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. 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.
  • Are We Overlooking the Pursuit of Happiness?"...For the old people who have lived so long a life of independence, how bitter it must be to come for everything they need to the youngsters who once turned to them!From every point of view, it seems to me that the old age pension for people who so obviously could not lay aside enough during their working years to live on adequately through their old age, is a national responsibility and one that must be faced when we are planning for a better future.Unemployment insurance in many homes is all that stands between many a family and starvation. Given a breathing spell, a man or woman may be able to get another job or to re-educate himself in some new line of work, but few people live with such a wide margin that they have enough laid aside to face several months of idleness...."
  • Art Becomes Public Works (1934)The public now owns, at a cost of less than a million and a half dollars, about fifteen thousand new works of art. These range from prints, which can be issued in some quantity, to what seems to be the most ambitious of the undertakings, the decoration of the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, in which forty-four artists and their assistants were engaged. Actually 3671 men and women were employed, for varying periods of time, in the less than five months' duration of the Public Works of Art Project. Except where sketches for special pieces of work had to be passed on in advance, the artists worked with complete freedom. The general assignment was the American scene.
  • Assistance for the Disabled"...People know well that restoring one of us cripples--because as some of you know, I walk around with a cane and with the aid of somebody's arm myself--to useful occupation costs money. Being crippled is not like many other diseases, contagious and otherwise, where the cure can be made in a comparatively short time; not like the medical operation where one goes to the hospital and at the end of a few weeks goes out made over again and ready to resume life. People who are crippled take a long time to be put back on their feet--sometimes years, as we all know...."
  • Auto Workers Strike: 1933Article by Walter Reuther, one of the most prominent labor movement figures of the 20th century, in The Student Outlook, March, 1933. "The challenge to organize the production workers was taken up by the Auto Workers Union, which is organized on a broad industrial basis and is founded on the principle of the class struggle."
  • Beauty Of Silence: by Helen Keller (1935)...However that may be, I know that silence is essential to the happy development of the human being. In the Montessori schools the period of quiet is a part of the curriculum. Every child sits tranquilly at his task for a certain length of time. When they become obstreperous and interfere with each other's orderly conduct, they are isolated until they regain their composure.
  • Berry Picking and Relief (1935)Public 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.
  • Big Morgue (1939)What 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.
  • Black Richmond, VA (1934)Significant straws in the wind point to social changes in Black Richmond. The findings of the Negro Welfare Survey, of which Mrs. Guild was director, the new Negro Welfare Council and the coming in of federal relief are outstanding factors in new racial attitudes in this colored city within a city. During 1928 and 1929 a Negro welfare survey was conducted in Richmond by a bi-racial committee, employing a Negro and white staff, under the auspices of the Council of Social Agencies. In itself this was an accomplishment in racial progress, if it be remembered that we are talking about the Capital of the Confederacy. The survey was not the result of sudden realization on the part of the community that almost a third of its population was miserably handicapped in every department of life and holding back the other two thirds. The survey simply represented the vision of a few social workers who needed a practical answer to a perplexing question: What are the priorities in the social problems pressing for attention in Black Richmond?
  • Bondy Appointed Director of ARC Disaster Relief 1931During his period of service, Mr. Bondy has, at different times, represented the Red Cross in liaison with the Veterans’ Bureau, the American Legion, the National Council of Social Work and its constituent agencies, and numerous other organizations. He was Director of Reconstruction in Red Cross relief work following the disastrous flood of 1927, frequently serving as aid to Mr. Herbert Hoover and Vice Chairman Fieser in their joint direction of Mississippi flood relief work. During the past year he directed drouth relief work in the Eastern Area. These experiences, together with his work in connection with numerous lesser relief operations during the past ten years, give him an acquaintance with recent disaster methods and procedures possessed by few Red Cross executives.
  • Bonus MarchFollowing 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....
  • Bresette, Linna EleanorLinna Eleanor Bresette: Teacher, Advocate for Women Laborers, Catholic Social Reformer (1882-1960). By Michael Barga
  • Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Win Over Pullman CompanyArticle by Edward Berman, The Nation, 1935. The Pullman Porters organized and founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. The BSCP was the very first African-American labor union to sign a collective bargaining agreement with a major U.S. corporation.
  • 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??
  • C.C. Carstens (1865-1939)The seeds for establishing a “national” child welfare advocacy organization were planted by a group of influential child welfare advocates attending the 1909 White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, convened by President Theodore Roosevelt. The idea of a national advocacy organization was further strengthened by the presentation of an influential committee report by Carl Christian Carstens, Secretary and General Agent, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Boston. Carstens report was presented at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections (NCCC) in 1915 in Baltimore, MD. His presentation was entitled: “Report of the Committee: A Community Plan in Children’s Work.”
  • Carrots from California (1939)"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.
  • Case Work in the Administration of Public Relief: 1935 In your citation from the Mayor’s Committee on Unemployment Relief the statement occurs – “The one million men and women who are unemployed today in New York City as a result of the depression cannot be regarded as maladjusted individuals in need of case work.” This is another version of the old “worthy” and “unworthy” concept, which holds that ordinary poor are to be regarded as just maladjusted people who may be subjected to an unpleasant discipline called case work; but the new or worthy poor, or the poor “through no fault of their own” must be protected against this case work.
  • Child Labor: Children at Work: 1932The study on the whole presents a disheartening picture; children injured, often needlessly, permanently handicapped for work at the outset of their industrial careers; ignorant of their rights under the compensation law; sometimes at the mercy of unscrupulous employers; left without advice or counsel in planning for their future; groping in the dark for something that will enable them to regain their power of self-support, but drifting oftentimes into discouragement and despondency if not into definitely anti-social behavior. "I've about decided I cannot make an honest living and will go to bootlegging," said one youth who had been turned down repeatedly because "we can't afford to take a boy with three fingers off."
  • Child Study Association: History 1928The Child Study Association of America (CSAA) grew out of the Society for the Study of Child Nature, which was formed in 1888. In 1908, the society was renamed the Federation for Child Study and began to more actively disseminate child development information. During the 1920s, grants from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund enabled the federation to expand its programs. The organization was formally incorporated and renamed Child Study Association of America in 1924. CSAA continued to provide parental education and consultation services on child development topics through the 1960s, when it began to shift its emphasis to professional training. By the 1970s, CSAA focused almost entirely on training programs for child welfare, child health, and education professionals. A series of mergers and continuing financial difficulties during the 1970s and 1980s, led to the gradual dissolution of the association.
  • 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 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."
  • Christodora Settlement House, 1897-1939Written by June Hopkins, Ph. D., History Department, Armstrong Atlantic State University. "Almost one hundred years ago, when Christina Isobel MacColl and her friend Sarah Carson founded Christodora Settlement House in the slums of New York City's Lower East Side...these two indomitable women, inspired by such social activists as Jane Addams and Lillian Wald, intended to settle in the slums and form bonds of "love and loyalty" with their immigrant neighbors while helping them adjust to the mean streets and squalid tenements of urban America."
  • 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.
  • City Diets and Democracy: 1941In developing an educational program for improving nutrition, it is important to keep in mind the importance of custom in our food habits. The Labor Department's recent studies of food consumption show the remarkable persistence of the food preferences of earlier generations in the localities studied. The tables of New Orleans still remind one of the fish, the chicken, the salads, and the greens of the French; the Bostonians still eat more beans and drink more tea than families in most other cities. In Cleveland and Milwaukee they eat more rye bread and cheese and apples and coffee. A national nutrition policy should plan to change food consumption habits only insofar as it is absolutely necessary to do so to provide all the nutrients necessary for health, efficiency, and the full enjoyment of life.
  • Civil Liberties--The Individual and the CommunityI think I will tell you a little story that brought home to me how important it was that in every community there should be someone to whom people could turn, who were in doubt as to what were their rights under the law, when they couldn't understand what was happening to them. I happen to go every now and then to a certain mining community and in that mining community there are a number of people who came to this country many years ago. They have been here so many years that they have no other country. This is their country. Their children have been born here. They work here. They have created great wealth for this country, but they came over at a time when there was not very much feeling of social responsibility about giving them the opportunity to learn the language of the country to which they had come, or telling them how to become citizens, or teaching about the government of this country....
  • Civilian Conservation CorpsThe Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the most successful New Deal programs of the Great Depression. It existed for fewer than 10 years, but left a legacy of strong, handsome roads, bridges, and buildings throughout the United States.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps Accomplishments: 1939"My Hopes for the CCC" by Robert Fechner, Director, The Civilian Conservation Corps. This article appeared in American Forests: The Magazine of The American Forestry Association, Washington, D. C. (January, 1939).
  • Civilian Public ServiceFrom 1941 to 1947, nearly 12,000 draftees, willing to serve their country in some capacity but unwilling to do any type of military service, performed work of national importance in 152 CPS camps throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Draftees from the historic peace churches and other faiths worked in areas such as soil conservation, forestry, fire fighting, agriculture, social services and mental health.
  • Cohen, Wilbur J. : A PerspectiveWilbur Cohen bounded off the plane and down the jet way at Logan Airport. Unlike the other passengers, who were somewhat tentative as they faced the uncertainties of a new city, he did not measure his step. He walked, with determined energy, straight ahead.
  • Committee on Economic Security - 1934The President's Committee on Economic Security (CES) was formed in June 1934 and was given the task of devising "recommendations concerning proposals which in its judgment will promote greater economic security." In a message to Congress two weeks earlier President Roosevelt spelled-out what he expected the CES to achieve. ". . . I am looking for a sound means which I can recommend to provide at once security against several of the great disturbing factors in life--especially those which relate to unemployment and old age."
  • Company Unions and the American Federation of Labor (AFL)Article by Louis Adamic, The Nation, 1934. "In brief, the A. F. of L. union skates are utilizing, exploiting the workers' hate for company unions, stirring and intensifying it, focusing their thoughts and feelings on the company-union evil, exaggerating the power of company unionism, in order to keep them blind to the faults and shortcomings of the A. F. of L. organizations."
  • 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 Lives (1931)I 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: 1937Article by Edward Levinson, The Nation, 1937. "General Motors must have known it was making an offer which the union could not consider without inviting a repetition of the collapse of the 1934 strike. While talking peace to Governor Murphy it has thrown up breastworks for a fight to the end."
  • Disaster Relief Experiences of the American Red CrossEverywhere emergency care was promptly and effectively given. At Pittsburgh the Chapter performed an admirable service of caring for sixty thousand refugees – feeding, sheltering, clothing and giving medical and nursing attention at over 150 centers. At Greensboro, North Carolina, one of the many recorded acts of unselfishness and devotion to duty by a Chapter officer was reported when the Chairman of the disaster committee hardly paused at his own tornado-wrecked business to take charge of Red Cross relief at great personal sacrifice. At Gainesville, Georgia, so completely devastated by the storm, the Atlanta and other nearby Chapters virtually took charge of emergency aid. At Wilkes-Barre, as at many other points, the Chapter gave a wonderful service of rescue to thousands from flooded homes without a single casualty – aided by the courageous and skilled men of the U.S. Coast Guard to whom my hat is always off in tribute for an endless procession of service of rescue. And so it went in Chapter after Chapter.
  • Economic Security: Traditional SourcesWhen the English-speaking colonists arrived in the New World they brought with them the ideas and customs they knew in England, including the "Poor Laws." The first colonial poor laws were fashioned after those of the Poor Law of 1601. They featured local taxation to support the destitute; they discriminated between the "worthy" and the "unworthy" poor; and all relief was a local responsibility. No public institutions for the poor or standardized eligibility criteria would exist for nearly a century. It was up to local town elders to decide who was worthy of support and how that support would be provided. As colonial America grew more complex, diverse and mobile, the localized systems of poor relief were strained. The result was some limited movement to state financing and the creation of almshouses and poorhouses to "contain" the problem. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries most poverty relief was provided in the almshouses and poorhouses. Relief was made as unpleasant as possible in order to "discourage" dependency. Those receiving relief could lose their personal property, the right to vote, the right to move, and in some cases were required to wear a large "P" on their clothing to announce their status.
  • Educational Alliance"Educational Alliance: A History of a Lower East Side Settlement House," by EJ Sampson. "The Educational Alliance...balanced the growing professionalization of settlement house work by becoming community-based, and kept its emphasis on encouraging public civic culture even as in other ways it aligned with a social service “agency” model. And it kept it eyes on its Jewish origins not only in its neighborhood work, but in negotiating its internal ethos. "
  • 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.
  • Egypt, Ophelia Settle (1903-1984)In the late 1920s, Ophelia Settle Egypt conducted some of the first and finest interviews with former slaves, setting the stage for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) massive project ten years later. Born Ophelia Settle in 1903, she was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a researcher for the black sociologist Charles Johnson at Fisk University in Nashville.
  • Eileen Blackey: Pathfinder for the ProfessionIn Blackey’s view a school of social work had many constituencies—the university, the profession, the communities and clients served, cooperating agencies, and the general public. With all of them Blackey urged the maintenance of meaningful ties and a leadership role that in large measure remains elusive. She hoped that schools of social work would have a stronger presence within their universities; she envisaged greater involvement of the schools in formulating social policy and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable groups in society; and she wanted agencies to be more open to experimental approaches to practice. These are goals still to be achieved.
  • 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?
  • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938On May 24, 1937, President Roosevelt sent the bill to Congress with a message that America should be able to give "all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day's pay for a fair day's work." He continued: "A self-supporting and self-respecting democracy can plead no justification for the existence of child labor, no economic reason for chiseling worker's wages or stretching workers' hours."
  • Family Service During War TimeMany mothers have come to us in conflict as to whether or not to go to work. The motives may be patriotic, or desire for a more adequate income, or deeper personal urges for greater independence and release from home care. Since the absence of the mother from the home often creates serious problems of childcare, the decision is particularly crucial. We believe firmly that a mother’s care of her children is in itself an “essential industry”, but, if we are to be realistic, we know that it will not for every woman take priority over other “essential industries”. Our efforts have been to engage in a sort of “screening process”, to try to determine as promptly and soundly as possible the best solution for all concerned, to help the woman who should not work accept her homemaking role as a dignified and contributing one, and to help the mother who should work maintain all possible security for herself and her children.
  • Family Service In The Charity Organization Society, 1935This article was written by Anna Kempshall, a nationally renowned social worker. "Two general principles that are basic in casework philosophy help in differentiating the specialized service of a caseworking agency: (1) that individuals react differently to the problem of need and dependency (2) that casework services have not been limited to persons in economic difficulty."
  • Family Service: Community Service Society 1940A report to the board of directors of the Community Service Society of New York, 1940, by Anna Kempshall, Director of Family Service. "The realization that there is nothing more precious than the life of a child places upon our caseworkers a grave responsibility. To understand the impact of, the currents and cross currents of the environment upon the delicate and elusive mechanism of a child's mind and heart is a challenge to science, religion, education, and social work."
  • FDR's Essentials for Unemployment Relief: 1933One of the obstacles to creating unemployment relief programs as part of the President's New Deal was the widespread feeling that in this land of opportunity, any individual could find some way to maintain himself and his dependents without relief if only he would exert the necessary initiative and effort. Therefore, it was with only the greatest reluctance that the American public in general and legislative bodies in particular came gradually to accept that fact that as a result of the Great Depression there were actually too few jobs to go around.
  • Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933Text from the The Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933
  • Federal Emergency Relief AdministrationFederal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was the new name given by the Roosevelt Administration to the Emergency Relief Administration (ERA) which President Herbert Hoover had created in 1932. FERA was established as a result of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and was replaced in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). FERA's main goal was alleviating household unemployment by creating new unskilled jobs in local and state government.
  • Flint Faces Civil War: 1937Article by Charles R. Walker, The Nation, 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.'"
  • Flint Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937)The Flint Sit-Down Strike is known as the most important strike in American history because it changed the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from a collection of isolated individuals into a major union, ultimately leading to the unionization of the United States automobile industry.
  • Flint, MI, November 30, 1934, A Report to Harry HopkinsSince Flint lives and has its being through General Motors the staggered production-plan, by which fewer families will get work but they have more steady employment, will it is generally agreed make less high peaks in relief but by the same token prevent the minimum drops of last Spring and Summer here. The tentative production schedules of Buick and Chevrolet, on which Fisher Body and accessory companies depend, are based on "reasonably optimistic" plans. Those two companies expect to employ more than 8,000 less than they did last year at their peaks. Chevrolet, for instance, went up to between 18 and 19,000 last Spring. While now only at 3,900 it expects by the middle of December to have 10,000 employed. By February 1 it expects to have 13,000 employed. It will continue, according to present plans on that schedule.
  • Food, Farmers, and Fundamentals: 1941Thanks to the ever-normal granary and the efficiency of modern farm production, we can approach the problem of nutrition more constructively than during the last war. There seems little likelihood that we shall have meatless days, or days without sugar. The problem today is to use our soil, our farmers, our processors, our distributors, and our knowledge to produce the maximum of abounding health and spirits—a broad foundation on which we can build all the rest of our hemispheric defense.
  • From the Ground Up: 1936An informal description of demonstration projects of the Resettlement Administration on the West Coast during the Great Depression.
  • Glenn, Mary WilcoxMrs. Glenn’s move to New York coincided with the growing awareness for the need for professional training for charity workers and the importance of trained caseworkers. It was also a time when social welfare advocates and charity workers were beginning to realize the necessity for more efficient organizations of “good will” and better means for dealing with the conditions of a society where large numbers of able-bodied workers were being compelled to seek handouts, depend on breadlines and soup kitchens. Mrs. Glenn became an active participant in discussions about the possibilities of a larger, national movement that would bring together local agencies and advocates into some form of national organization.
  • Great Depression: American Social PolicyOne 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.
  • Hamilton, Amy Gordon (1892 - 1967)While teaching at NYSSW, Hamilton also sought social work practice opportunities in local and national agencies. She became associate director of social service and adviser on research at Presbyterian Hospital in NYC (1925–32). From this experience came her first book: Medical School Terminology (1927). During the Great Depression, Hamilton worked with federal relief agencies and helped establish the 1st Federal Emergency Relief Administration training program. For the years 1935 and 1936, Hamilton took a leave of absence from NYSSW in order to serve as social services director of the New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. After World War II, Hamilton became involved in international social welfare. She worked with the Church World Services and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration from 1944 until 1952. She also worked as a research consultant at the Jewish Board of Guardians, in New York City from 1947-1950.
  • Harlan: Working under the GunArticle written by John Dos Passos, The New Republic (1931). "Harlan 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."
  • 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 New Deal PoliciesThe 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Health Conservation and the WPAThe Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created by Executive Order #7034 on May 6, 1935. President Roosevelt had the authority for this Executive Order via the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. The WPA was created to offer direct government employment to the jobless. The unemployment rate was about 20% at the time the WPA was created. The WPA lasted until June 30, 1943. The unemployment rate then was possibly below 2%, with many Americans working in the armed services, defense industries, etc. The WPA–during it’s 8 years of existence–employed over 8.5 million different Americans, and reached peak employment of over 3.3 million in late 1938.
  • Health Conservation and WPAThe following address was delivered by Mrs. Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner, Work Projects Administration. "In our WPA project work, we have come to grips with the problem of public health on a number of important fronts...we are not just talking about the need for better sanitation the need for more medical, dental and nursing service, the need of school children for hot, well-balanced lunches, the need of home visits to underprivileged families in time of illness...We're...doing something about them."
  • 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.
  • Hoover, Herbert, 31st U.S. President: 1929-1933 Before serving as America's 31st President from 1929 to 1933, Herbert Hoover had achieved international success as a mining engineer and worldwide gratitude as "The Great Humanitarian" who fed war-torn Europe during and after World War I. Son of a Quaker blacksmith, Herbert Clark Hoover brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator, and humanitarian.
  • Hoover, Herbert: Another View of His CareerHe was elected thirty-first President of the United States in a 1928 landslide, but within a few short months he had become a scapegoat in his own land. Even today, Herbert Hoover remains indelibly linked to an economic crisis that put millions of Americans out of work in the 1930s. His 1932 defeat left Hoover's once-bright reputation in shambles. But Herbert Hoover refused to fade away. In one of history's most remarkable comebacks, he returned to public service at the end of World War II to help avert global famine and to reorganize the executive branch of government....By the time of his death in October 1964, Hoover had regained much of the luster once attached to his name. The Quaker theologian who eulogized him at his funeral did not exaggerate when he said of Hoover, "The story is a good one and a great one. . . . It is essentially triumphant."
  • Hopkins, Harry LloydWritten by Dr. June Hopkins, Associate Professor, History Dept., Armstrong Atlantic State University. Harry L. Hopkins (1890-1946) — Social Worker, Architect of the New Deal, Public Administrator and Confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Hot Lunches for a Million School ChildrenOne million undernourished children have benefited by the Works Progress Administration's school lunch program. In the past year and a half 80,000,000 hot well-balanced meals have been served at the rate of 500,000 daily in 10,000 schools throughout the country.
  • Housing In The Depression: A Speech by Senator Robert F. Wagner 1936The central importance of the housing problem exists everywhere. The fifteen million families in America who are shabbily quartered do not all reside in New York or Chicago. They are to be found in the small mining towns of Pennsylvania, in the tenanted areas of Arkansas and Mississippi, and in the remote mountain villages of the great Northwest. Hardly a county in the nation has escaped the searing influence of characterizing even during the times of relative prosperity.We are now prepared to attack this fundamental problem. At the same time, let us not forget that an even deeper, though not entirely unrelated, issue must be met. It is true that demoralizing living conditions multiply hardships of poverty, and make its victims unfit to utilize even those opportunities that better days may offer.
  • Hunter, Jane EdnaHunter graduated in 1905 as a trained nurse from Hampton Institute, VA, and migrated to Cleveland Ohio, arriving in 1905 as a 23 year old single African American woman. When she arrived in Cleveland she could not find decent housing or professional work because of segregation laws and practices. Her first housing was a place where prostitutes lived. With With the help of other women and $1,500, she first opened the Working Girls Home Association, a boarding home for 10 women at East 40th, north of Central Avenue.
  • Indians At WorkAnd suddenly the Navajos have been faced with a crisis which in some aspects is nothing less than a head-on collision between immediate advantages, sentiments, beliefs, affections and previously accepted preachments, as one colliding mass, and physical and statistical facts as the other....The crisis consists in the fact that the soil of the Navajo reservation is hurriedly being washed away into the Colorado river. The collision consists in the fact that the entire complex and momentum of Navajo life must be radically and swiftly changed to a new direction and in part must be totally reversed. ...And the changes must be made—if made at all—through the choice of the Navajos themselves; a choice requiring to be renewed through months and years, with increasing sacrifices for necessarily remote and hypothetical returns, and with a hundred difficult technical applications.
  • Institute of Family Service, C.O.S.Written by Anna Kempshall, Director of the Institute of Family Service. "The recent period of social and economic change has affected the programs and functions of many social agencies in the community. The Institute of Family Service has constantly adjusted its program in relation to the total community situation, making such revisions of practice and procedure at various times as seemed indicated."
  • Keepers of DemocracyIf you are in the South someone tells you solemnly that all the members of the Committee of Industrial Organization are Communists, or that the Negroes are all Communists. This last statement derives from the fact that, being for the most part unskilled labor, Negroes are more apt to be organized by the Committee for Industrial Organization. In another part of the country someone tells you solemnly that the schools of the country are menaced because they are all under the influence of Jewish teachers and that the Jews, forsooth, are all Communists. And so it goes, until finally you realize that people have reached a point where anything which will save them from Communism is a godsend; and if Fascism or Nazism promises more security than our own democracy we may even turn to them.
  • Kempshall, Anna "Star" - (1891 -1961)In 1917, four days before Christmas, and with only twenty hours notice, Miss Kempshall was dispatched by the C.O.S to assist the American Red Cross in relief work in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the site of an enormous explosion that caused death and damage to a large area surrounding the Halifax Harbor area. (Editor’s Note: On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and the other held relief supplies, both intended for war-torn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth. The toll of the Halifax Explosion was enormous with over 1,600 men, women and children killed. An additional 9,000 people were injured and 25,000 buildings spread over 325 acres were destroyed.)
  • 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.
  • Letters from the Field: June 11, 1934On this trip I've tried not to be too preoccupied with relief. I've tried to find out what the people as a whole are thinking about--people who are at work. I carry away the impression that all over the area, from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Tupelo, Mississippi, and on up to Memphis and Nashville, people are in a pretty contented, optimistic frame of mind. They just aren't thinking about the Depression any more. They feel that we are on our way out and toward any problems that have to be solved before we get out their attitude seems to be, "Let Roosevelt do it."
  • Letters from the Field: IntroductionWe spent the morning in conference, took a quick look at the transient setup--thousands came here looking for work, you see, and present quite a problem--and spent the afternoon looking over Muscle Shoals--Wilson dam and power house, Wheeler dam, the houses they are building there for the engineers and their families, the construction camp, and so on. It's all on such a huge scale! But darned interesting. Always in the background, though, is this dreadful relief business-- dull, hopeless, deadening. God--when are we going to get out of it? As nearly as I can figure it out, most of the relief families in Tennessee are rural, living on sub-marginal or marginal land. What are we going to do with them? And, so low are their standards of living, that, once on relief, low as it is, they want to stay there the rest of their lives. Gosh! TVA is now employing some 9,500 people. But it doesn't even make a dent! . . .
  • Letters from the Field: June 6, 1934Nearly 10,000 men--about 9,500--are at work in the Valley now, at Norris and Wheeler dams, on various clearing and building projects all over the area. Thousands of them are residents of the Valley, working five and a half hours a day, five days a week, for a really LIVING wage. Houses are going up for them to live in--better houses than they have ever had in their lives before. And in their leisure time they are studying--farming, trades, the art of living, preparing themselves for the fuller lives they are to lead in that Promised Land. You are probably saying, "Oh, come down to earth!" But that's the way the Tennessee Valley affects one these days.
  • Long, HueyAs the Great Depression worsened, Long made impassioned speeches in the Senate charging a few powerful families with hoarding the nation’s wealth. He urged Congress to address the inequality that he believed to be the source of the mass suffering. How was a recovery possible when twelve men owned more wealth than 120 million people?....In 1934 Long unveiled a program of reforms he labeled “Share Our Wealth” designed to redistribute the nation’s wealth more fairly by capping personal fortunes at $50 million (later lowered to $5 - $8 million) and distributing the rest through government programs aimed at providing opportunity and a decent standard of living to all Americans. Long believed the programs he initiated in Louisiana were effective in lifting people out of poverty, and he wanted to implement this philosophy nationally.
  • Lutheran Social Services of MichiganThis entry was copied with permission from the book "This Far By Love: The Amazing Story of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan" by Nancy Manser. Motivated to serve others as an expression of the love of Christ, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan continues today to help those in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or national origin.
  • 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! (1941)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.
  • National Housing Conference, IncFrom the 1940s to the 1960s, NHC consisted of a coalition of public housing advocates, social workers, labor unions, and local housing authorities who pushed for housing reforms. However, by the 1970s, NHC became an ally of the federal housing bureaucracy because its membership included primary builders, construction unions, and real estate developers.
  • National Industrial Recovery Act: FDR's Statement - 1933The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was one of the most important and daring measures of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was enacted during the famous First Hundred Days of his first term in office and was the centerpiece of his initial efforts to reverse the economic collapse of the Great Depression. NIRA was signed into law on June 16, 1933, and was to remain in effect for two years. It attempted to make structural changes in the industrial sector of the economy and to alleviate unemployment with a public works program. It succeeded only partially in accomplishing its goals, and on May 27, 1935, less than three weeks before the act would have expired, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
  • National Recovery AdministrationThe National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was signed by newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 16, 1933. The new law created the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The NRA began to work with businesses to establish the mandated codes for fair competition, which were to be exempt from the antitrust laws.
  • National Youth Administration: The College and High School Aid ProgramA speech by Aubrey W. Williams, Executive Director of the National Youth Administration in 1937. "The Youth Administration was established to equalize opportunity for Youth. It was set up to raise economically disadvantaged Youth to within reach of opportunities denied them."
  • National Youth Organization"I hereby prescribe the following functions and duties of the National Youth Administration: To initiate and administer a program of approved projects which shall provide relief, work relief, and employment for persons between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five years who are no longer in regular attendance at a school requiring full time, and who are not regularly engaged in remunerative employment."
  • Negro Wage Earners and Trade UnionsWritten by William Green, President of the American Federation of Labor, 1934. "During the past five years Negro wage earners have been turning to the organized labor movement with new conviction. They are becoming responsible union members, sharing the benefits and hardships of union endeavor...These developments are evidence of substantial progress in the growing acceptance of responsibility on the part of Negro workers."
  • Negro Workers and Recovery: 1934Written by Lester B. Granger. "Negro labor in St. Louis, MO., has shown the way for colored workers throughout the country to make an aggressive attack against prejudiced and discriminatory policies on the part of certain sections of the American labor movement."
  • New Deal and the Negro (1935)If the 2,500,000 Negroes in the North and the 9,500,000 in the South earned more they would buy more. The masses of Negroes have never purchased enough food, clothing, furniture, transportation, hospitalization, and the like. Twelve million people would greatly expand production if they were employed and paid according to their economic value rather than their social status.
  • New Floors and Ceilings in the Minimum Wage: 1939"The Wage and Hour Administration Reaches a Second Stage" by Beulah Amidon, an article in Survey Graphic, December, 1939
  • Old Age Pensions - Eleanor Roosevelt (1934)"...We can hardly be happy knowing that throughout this country so many fine citizens who have done all that they could for their young people must end their days divided--for they usually are divided in the poorhouse. Old people love their own things even more than young people do. It means so much to sit in the same old chair you sat in for a great many years, to see the same picture that you always looked at!And that is what an old age security law will do. It will allow the old people to end their days in happiness, and it will take the burden from the younger people who often have all the struggle that they can stand. It will end a bitter situation--bitter for the old people because they hate to be a burden on the young, and bitter for the young because they would like to give gladly but find themselves giving grudgingly and bitterly because it is taking away from what they need for the youth that is coming and is looking to them for support. For that reason I believe that this bill will be a model bill and pass without any opposition this year."
  • 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.
  • Outlining the New Deal Program (1933)A Radio Address by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sunday, May 7, 1933.
  • Pea-Pickers' Child (1935)The 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.
  • Perkins, Frances, Change AgentIn 1913 Perkins married Paul Caldell Wilson. He was handsome, rich and a progressive. She defied convention and kept her maiden name. After several attempts at conceiving a daughter was born. Life did not treat Frances well. Both husband and daughter were depressed and institutionalized for long periods. While she had some help with living from her wealthy friends Frances paid their bills until they died. She also dealt with a myriad of stresses they introduced into her life. She did not believe in divorce. Despite her personal miseries Frances continued to develop her political skills.
  • Perkins, Frances: The Roosevelt YearsThe Labor department that Perkins found called into play all her research and political skills. It was corrupt and inefficient and hadn’t accomplished much. Many were removed and some eventually went to jail. No detail was too small. In her shabby offices cockroaches were found. This was because black employees were not allowed to use the department cafeteria and brought their lunches to work. She and her secretary cleaned the office and soon ordered the cafeteria to be integrated.
  • President Roosevelt's Fireside Chat, June 28, 1934And, finally, the third principle is to use the agencies of government to assist in the establishment of means to provide sound and adequate protection against the vicissitudes of modern life -- in other words, social insurance.Later in the year I hope to talk with you more fully about these plans. A few timid people, who fear progress, will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it "Fascism", sometimes "Communism", sometimes "Regimentation", sometimes "Socialism". But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.
  • Profile of General Motors: 1937Article written by Samuel Romer, The Nation, 1937. "When sitdown strikes in five General Motors automobile and parts plants resulted in a practical paralysis of production operations and forced direct negotiations between national officers of both the corporation and the union, few of the workers involved realized that they were participating in the first important battle of a civil war which will largely determine the industrial progress of America during the next decade."
  • Public Works AdministrationThe Public Works Administration (PWA) was an expansive, Great Depression-era Federal government spending program that aimed to create jobs while improving the nation’s infrastructure.
  • Rehabilitation Of The Mentally And Physically Handicapped (1929)Further progress must of necessity depend on a deeper understanding on the part of every man and woman in the United States. Knowledge of the splendid results already accomplished is not widespread. You can go into thousands of farming districts in this State and you can go into thousands of closely populated wards in our great cities and find ignorance not only of what has been accomplished but of how to go about utilizing the facilities which we already have. There are literally hundreds of thousands of cases of boys and girls in the United States hidden away on the farm or in the city tenements, boys and girls who are mentally deficient or crippled or deaf or blind. Their parents would give anything in the world to have their mental or physical deficiencies cured, but their parents do not know how to go about it.
  • Report from 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.
  • 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.
  • Robinson, Virginia PollardTo a degree rare in social work education her view of her tasks was marked by a sustained interest in and respect for the field of social work practice, while at the same time she maintained a scholarly perspective upon the field as a rich source for study, learning and teaching. Even more significantly for the School, the nature of Robinson's interest in social work as related to professional education suggested methods of interchange and patterns of relationship between classroom and field work which have proven steadily fruitful through the years and remain widely recognized as effective in preparing the student both in comprehension of his task and in be- ginning competence in practice.
  • Roosevelt, EleanorDespite her initial intent to focus on her social activities as First Lady, political issues soon became a central part of the weekly briefings. When some women reporters assigned to ER tried to caution her to speak off the record, she responded that she knew some of her statements would "cause unfavorable comment in some quarters . . . but I am making these statements on purpose to arouse controversy and thereby get the topics talked about."
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor and the AFSCWritten by Jack Sutters, former AFSC archivist. "Eleanor Roosevelt's association with the AFSC began before Franklin Roosevelt's inauguration in March 1933."
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor: The Women's MovementEleanor Roosevelt (ER) became aware of the barriers women faced while working with other women on other social justice issues. Although she did work in a settlement house and joined the National Consumers League before she married, ER's great introduction to the women's network occurred in the immediate post World War I period when she worked with the International Congress of Working Women and the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to address the causes of poverty and war.
  • Schiff, PhilipAs headworker at Madison House during The Great Depression, Schiff, like so many other settlement house workers, tried to cope with the immediate problems of relief, unemployment, and evictions. He established a day care center, introduced venereal disease and tuberculosis control programs, and started a vocational training program for unemployed youth. he was also was a community organizer and helped create a network of Lower East Side social service agencies to advocate for social welfare policies, especially unemployment and housing. In 1936, Philip Schiff ran unsuccessfully on the American Labor Party's ticket for First Assembly representative to the New York State legislature.
  • School for Bums (1931)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.
  • Scottsboro Boys, Trial and Defense Campaign (1931–1937)On March 25, 1931, nine unemployed young black men, illegally riding the rails and looking for work, were taken off a freight train at Scottsboro, Alabama and held on a minor charge. The Scottsboro deputies found two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, and pressured them into accusing the nine youths of raping them on board the train.
  • Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part III - 1930sThe following pages present a detailed historical chronology of the development of social insurance, with particular emphasis on Social Security. Items are included in this compilation on the basis of their significance for Social Security generally, their importance as precedents, their value in reflecting trends or issues, or their significance in SSA's administrative history. The information includes legislative events in Social Security and related programs. Our expectation is that this Chronology can be used as a reference tool and finding aid for important dates and events in Social Security's long history.
  • Social Security: The Roosevelt AdministrationPresident Franklin Delano Roosevelt's philosophy was: that Government has a positive responsibility for the general welfare. Not that Government itself must do everything, but that everything practicable must be done. A critical question for F.D.R. was whether a middle way was possible-- a mixed system which might give the State more power than conservatives would like, enough power indeed to assure economic and social security, but still not so much as to create dictatorship.
  • Social Welfare In The Black Community,1886-1939Over the past two decades, social work educators and students have developed a body of literature, which describes the legacy, and contributions of African Americans or members of the Black community to social welfare historical developments.
  • Social Work and the Labor Movement: 1937"The Social Program of the Labor Movement," a presentation by Mary van Kleek, Director, Division of Industrial Studies, Russell Sage Foundation New York City, at the National Conference of Social Work, 1937. "It is true that the movement has been divided as between the craft unions and the great masses of unorganized workers. Every day, however, brings evidence of the present vital unity."
  • Southern Farm Tenancy: 1936When an Alabama town erected a monument "in profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity" a moral was pointed which this author drives home with recent researches in the South. Cotton still enslaves 8 million people; emancipation can come only by diversified farming, a long range program for which is here given
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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
  • That "One Third of a Nation" (1940)If we had a real boom, and all our employable got jobs, that famous "one third" would no longer be ill-fed, or ill-clothed, but they would still be ill-housed. We must face this fact, says Mrs. Wood in an article which asks why public investment in human shelter should stagger a nation that builds roads, conserves forests and other natural resources.
  • That Work-Relief BillArticle by Lester B. Granger, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chapter National Urban League. "Dismay is the first reaction which thoughtful Negroes will register toward this program-not so much because of what it plans, but because of what it fails to plan"
  • 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: 1933Article by Samuel Romer, The Nation, 1933. "...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."
  • 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: 1934Article by Louis Adamic, The Nation, 1934. "In recent months, with production increasing, it has been necessary for the companies to bring in tens of thousands of people from outside, principally from the South, and put them to work in the busy plants. For months now the companies have been sending their labor agents to recruit hill-billies from Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama."
  • 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 Lasting Values of the WPAWritten by Ellen Woodward, WPA Assistant Administrator in charge of the Division of Women’s and Professional Projects. "No one can better appreciate the lasting values of the work relief program than we women, for its results affect primarily that which is closest to our hearts--the home."
  • The Lesson of Selective Service: 1941Out of a million men examined by Selective Service and about 560,000 excepted by the army, a total of 380,000 have been found unfit for general military service. It has been estimated that perhaps one third of the rejections were due either directly or indirectly to nutritional deficiencies. In terms of men, the army today has been deprived of 150,000 who should be able to do duty as soldiers. This is 15 percent of the total number physically examined by the Selective Service System
  • 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 Negro and Social Change"...No right-thinking person in this country today who picks up a paper and reads that in some part of the country the people have not been willing to wait for the due processes of law, but have gone back to the rule of force, blind and unjust as force and fear usually are, can help but be ashamed that we have shown such a lack of faith in our own institutions. It is a horrible thing which grows out of weakness and fear, and not out of strength and courage; and the sooner we as a nation unite to stamp out any such action, the sooner and the better will we be able to face the other nations of the world and to uphold our real ideals here and abroad...."
  • The New Deal: A Brief OverviewOn October 29, 1929, the crash of the U.S. stock market—known as "Black Tuesday"—reflected a move toward a worldwide economic crisis. In 1929-1933, unemployment in the U.S. soared from 3 percent of the workforce to 25 percent, while manufacturing output collapsed by one-third.
  • 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 New Deal: Part IIThe public’s acceptance of New Deal programs and services initiated by President Roosevelt in his first term was to a large extent a result of the pain and fear caused by the Great Depression. How bad the conditions were is worth remembering, since this is a means of gauging the enormous pressure for significant changes in government policy. One of the worst thing about the 1929 depression was its length of time. Men who had been sturdy and self-respecting workers can take unemployment without flinching for a few weeks, a few months, even if they have to see their families suffer; but it is quite different after a year, two years, three years. Among the miserable creatures curled up on park benches, selling apples on the street corner or standing in dreary lines before soup kitchens in 1932 were white men who had been jobless since the end of 1929. This traumatic experience marked millions of people for the rest of their lives, and made them security conscious.
  • The New Governmental Interest in the ArtsEleanor Roosevelt's speech before the Twenty-Fifth Annual Convention of the American Federation of Artists in 1934. "Go ahead and make this thing as beautiful as you can make it...make of this thing something that really was the expression of a "love"--a piece of work that was done because he loved to do it."
  • 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, 1935Speech given by Aubrey Williams, Assistant Works Progress Administrator and Executive Director of the National Youth Administration before the Buffalo Council of Social Agencies. "You and I know that the problem of unemployment does not stem directly from industrial depression...it was spawned in an era of giddy expansionism...it is an inescapable concomitant of our type of civilization...its roots are now sunk in the very bedrock of our capitalist society."
  • The Shift in Child Labor: 1933CHILD 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.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority: Electricity for AllTVA was one of the most ambitious projects of the New Deal, encompassing many of FDR’s own interests in conservation, public utility regulation, regional planning, agricultural development, and the social and economic improvement of the “Forgotten Americans.”
  • The TVA and the Race ProblemWhen the civil service examinations were first given by the TVA in the twelve counties round about Norris, only 1.9 per cent of those who qualified for jobs were Negroes. In these same twelve counties Negroes comprise exactly 7.1 per cent of the total population. Thus it looked as though colored labor was to suffer. TVA authorities insisted that they were helpless to rectify matters since they were compelled to choose their employees from among the people who had qualified by examination. Negro leaders claimed, however, that the reason so small a proportion of their population had qualified was that they had either not even been told of the examinations or else had been given to understand by the native whites that there was no need for them to apply since the whole project was for the advantage of the white man. There were some facts which lent credibility to this charge. For example, TVA authorities did not, and still do not, plan to use any Negro labor on the building of the Norris Dam itself....
  • The Urban League and the A.F. of L."A Statement on Racial Discrimination," read by Reginald A. Johnson, executive secretary of the Atlanta Urban League, at the Hearing of the American Federation of Labor Committee of Five to Deal with Negro Problems, 1935. "...the American Federation of Labor has stood firmly behind its position that the ranks of organized labor must be open to all workers regardless of color or creed. "
  • Townsend, Dr. FrancisAfter the war the Townsends lived in Long Beach, Calif. But Townsend's private medical practice did not prosper so he took a position as assistant city health director. Because of the Great Depression, he soon lost that job. Then, at the age of 66 and wanting to retire, Townsend grew increasingly indignant over the plight of the large number of poverty-stricken old people like himself. In 1933 he proposed a plan whereby the Federal government would provide every person over 60 a $200 monthly pension. The plan called for a guaranteed monthly pension of $200, a quite-considerable sum in the 1930. The pension would be sent to every retired citizen age 60 or older, to be paid for by a form of a national sales tax of 2% on all business transactions with the stipulation that each pensioner would be required to spend the money within 30 days. His idea was to end the Depression through consumer spending by way of ending poverty among the elderly.
  • Training The Rural Relief Worker On The Job (1935)The rural social worker is confronted with a real dilemma in knowing how much of a family's welfare is her responsibility. It is not unusual to find that man'y of our rural areas have been untouched by social working organizations, or, for that matter, by few if any community organizations. The rural worker is called on to provide for the health needs of the families in many instances where there is inadequate medical and nursing service. School attendance becomes her concern where the state laws are static in their effectiveness. She finds mental problems of long standing, or disturbances of an acute nature, in her families, and since she is the only representative of an agency in the area, securing treatment or institutionalization becomes part of her service to the family. Whether she is equipped for it or not, emergencies arise where the worker participates in removing children from the home, in institutional placement of delinquents, feeble-minded, or handicapped members of the family.
  • Triborough Bridge Dedication - 1936On October 25, 1929, Mayor Jimmy Walker broke ground on the Triborough Bridge. This date later proved significant, as it was just one day after the "Black Thursday" that helped trigger the Great Depression. The initial $5.4 million allocated by New York City for construction of the new bridge - most of which went to condemnation awards and counsel fees - had already been spent before the Ward's Island piers had been built....With its coffers depleted by the ensuing Depression, the city abandoned work on the bridge early in 1930.In 1933, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Moses as the chairman of the Triborough Bridge Authority. President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted the new authority a $37 million loan, making the bridge the first project in New York City to earn approval from the new Federal-level Public Works Administration (PWA). Seeking a clear break from the Tammany Hall corruption of the past, LaGuardia said the following to the press: "We are going to build a bridge instead of patronage. We are going to pile up stone and steel instead of expenses. We are going to build a bridge of steel, and spell steel "s-t-e-e-l" instead of "s-t-e-a-l." The people of the City of New York are going to pay for that bridge, and they are going to pay for it in tolls after its completion."
  • United We Eat (1934)Article written by John S. Gambs, Survey Graphic, 1934. "In this fashion, carrying on their banners the device used by men in the Continental Navy—-the coiled rattlesnake and the militant words, Don't Tread on Me—thousands of men and women are protesting the inadequacies of unemployment relief."
  • Unruly Slaves (Fighters for Freedom)"It is a remarkable thing to tell you, some
people can’t see it, but I am going to tell 
you, you can believe it or not but it’s the
truth; some colored people at that [time]
wouldn’t be whipped by masters. They would run away and hide in the woods, come home at nights and get something to eat and out he would go again. Them times they called them "runaway niggers". Some of them stayed away until after the war was over."
  • Visiting Nurse Service Administered by the Henry Street Settlement (1936)"What the skill and care of these devoted nurses has meant to thousands of the needy sick, of all ages, during these dark times, no statistics can reflect. Home nursing, such as ours, includes health education to the family as well as care to the patient. The charts and facts presented in this report enable those previously unfamiliar with our work to understand in some small measure the significance of the Service."
  • Washington Sweatshop (1937)by Robert S. Allen, The Nation July 17, 1937. Wage-hour legislation was a campaign issue in the 1936 Presidential race.
  • We Do Our Part--But... (1933)Article by Ira DeA. Reid in Opportunity, Journal of Negro Life (September, 1933). "Three million Negro workers, more than half of the total number of Negroes who must labor for their livelihood, will not be covered by the industrial codes now being formulated by the NRA!"
  • What REA Service Means To Our Farm HomeTHE FIRST benefit we received from the REA service was lights, and aren't lights grand? My little boy expressed my sentiments when he said, "Mother, I didn't realize how dark our house was until we got electric lights." We had been reading by an Aladdin lamp and thought it was good, but it didn't compare with our I. E. S. reading lamp.
  • What Religion Means to MeArticle by Eleanor Roosevelt, Forum, 1932. "...in all cases the thing which counts is the striving of the human soul to achieve spiritually the best that it is capable of and to care unselfishly not only for personal good but for the good of all those who toil with them upon the earth."
  • What Rural Electrification Administration Means To Our Farm Home: 1939Article written by Rose Dudley Scearce in Rural Electrification News, 1939. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created in 1935 by President Roosevelt to promote rural electricity.
  • White, Walter F.By 1931 White had become executive secretary, the highest position in the association. During his tenure, the NAACP led the fight for anti-lynching legislation, and initiated trailblazing legal battles to eliminate all-white primaries, poll taxes and de jure segregation....Working with labor leader A. Philip Randolph, White in 1941 helped persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802 which prohibited racial discrimination in defense industries and established the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC), the first Federal agency to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination measures.
  • 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: 1933Article written by Carl Mydans, The Nation, 1933. "The real object of the strike at the Edgewater, New Jersey, plant of the Ford Motor Car Company was, of course, a wage increase. The workers seized the opportunity, however, to protest against a number of the conditions under which they had been working."
  • Will the Codes Abolish Child Labor?Determined efforts to regulate or eliminate child labor have been a feature of social reform in the United States since 1900. The leaders in this effort were the National Child Labor Committee, organized in 1904, and the many state child labor committees. These organizations, gradualist in philosophy and thus prepared to accept what was achievable even if not theoretically sufficient, employed flexible tactics and were able to withstand the frustration of defeats and slow progress. The committees pioneered the techniques of mass political action, including investigations by experts, the widespread use of photography to dramatize the poor conditions of children at work, pamphlets, leaflets, and mass mailings to reach the public, and sophisticated lobbying. Despite these activities, success depended heavily on the political climate in the nation as well as developments that reduced the need or desirability of child labor.
  • Women and the VoteWomen 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.
  • Work-Relief and Negroes"...optimism is premature, just as was true in the cases of NRA, CWA, and others of the Administration's pet schemes for "priming the industrial pump of America." Certainly the controversy which the Work-Relief Bin is evoking at present writing in Senate committee and corridors indicates that there are grave weaknesses in the plans of President Roosevelt for ending the dole by giving jobs. Outstanding among these weaknesses is the President's insistence that the rate of pay shall be lower than prevailing wage levels. Here he has met the bitter opposition of organized labor, and it seems that he will meet defeat on the issue.There should be no hesitation among the Negroes to back up the position which organized labor takes in this instance. Mr. Roosevelt's plan to pay a lower wage than private industry is nothing less than an attempt to lower the existing wage level throughout all industry. It is a surrender to those interests which claim that "recovery" is held back because the wage structure is too high. It is an ignoral of the plain fact that in the building trades the wages for workers have taken a considerable drop in the past two years while the costs of materials have gone steeply upward...."
  • WPA Travelling LibrariesThe depression came and county libraries were sorely stricken financially. 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.
  • WPA: The Works Progress AdministrationThe Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created by Executive Order #7034 on May 6, 1935. President Roosevelt had the authority for this Executive Order via the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. The WPA was created to offer direct government employment to the jobless.
  • Wright, Helen R.Helen Russell Wright was a pioneer social researcher, economist, and social work educator. She was the first president of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). She also had the formidable task of becoming dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Chicago in1941, a position she held until 1956. Following in the footsteps Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott and Sophonisba Breckenridge she became an important transitional figure in the emerging profession of social work, one who often went against the then current trends by advocating for social reform supported by research as opposed to the total emphasis on the primacy of casework within the profession.
  • 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.