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Chapter 15 Section 2. Hard Times. American Workers Face Unemployment. {At the height of the depression the number of unemployed workers reached about 15 million } For those who were lucky enough to keep their jobs, wages fell drastically (by nearly 1/3)

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Chapter 15 section 2

Chapter 15Section 2

Hard

Times


American workers face unemployment
American Workers Face Unemployment

  • {At the height of the depression the number of unemployed workers reached about 15 million}

  • For those who were lucky enough to keep their jobs, wages fell drastically (by nearly 1/3)

  • If wages weren’t dropped, then hours were

  • African American’s were usually the first to go during lay-offs.

  • {Poor African American women stood on corners hoping for a day’s work in what came to be known as the Bronx Slave Market}

  • Since employers could hire women more cheaply than men, women in the work force actually went up

  • During the Depression, over 6,000 unemployed workers began selling apples in the streets of NYC for a nickel. Most brought in a little over a dollar on a good day


Bronx Slave Trade

Apple Salesman


Life in the city
Life in the City

  • During this time the government did little to assist city-dwellers or their communities

  • Instead organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross tried to provide direct relief to the needy

  • Neighbors also helped each other.

  • Mexican American communities formed aid societies known as mutualistas

  • Chinese Americans would put out large barrels of rice to feed the needy in their community

  • In Harlem they would throw huge “rent parties” in which they would charge a small admissions fee to help a neighbor to pay their rent



Continued
Continued….

  • Because most didn’t make enough $ to pay rent and to feed one’s family, {poor men and women waited in breadlinesfor food} given out by charitable donations

  • In addition to hunger, homelessness was also an urban problem during the depression

  • The homeless often gathered in shantytowns collections of makeshift shelters built out of boxes, scrap lumber and iron

  • {Blaming an unresponsive President Herbert Hoover, the homeless would refer to the shantytowns as Hoovervilles}


Life on the farm
Life on the Farm

  • With people in the city unable to buy farm produce, farmers found themselves with more goods they could sell and getting very little $ for what they did sell

  • As their incomes fell, many farmers were unable to pay their mortgage. Banks began foreclosing on farms

  • Auctions were held for the foreclosed properties. {Farmers banded together to save farms from foreclosure sales} by bidding extremely low on the foreclosed property and then returning it back to the owner

  • Many believed that removing illegal aliens and Mexican immigrants would help with the unemployment problems, and more than {500,000 people of Mexican descent-many U.S. citizens- were forced to leave}


Early civil rights activist Josefina Fierro fought against the discrimination happening in the southwest. She led protests and boycotts. With the help of some celebrity friend she started a radio program for Spanish-speaking audiences. In 1939 she began helping El Congreso, a group that organized Hispanic migrants to resist oppression. She worked tirelessly staging hunger strikes, marches and lobbying for expanded relief programs for Hispanics


Family life in the 1930 s
Family Life in the 1930’s

  • The Depression took its toll on American Families

  • The {marriage rate went down, birthrates declined, divorce rates rose} and women assumed a new role as provider.

  • For middle class and wealthy families the depression was a huge set back

  • Many could not get over the shame of being unemployed, losing their businesses and homes and not being able to provide for their families.

  • {The suicide rate increased. In 1932 alone was more than 20,000}


Popular culture in the 1930 s
Popular Culture in the 1930’s

  • Due to the Depression, people needed a little entertainment and looked to inexpensive pastimes

  • Movie theaters offered inexpensive entertainment

  • {Among the most popular films of the era were gangster movies}, and movies containing roles with strong women, such as Gone With The Wind

  • {Thanks to Walt Disney brightening the movie screens. cartoons became popular too}

  • Radio programs also allowed people to escape. Heroes such as the Lone Ranger, Little Orphan Annie and the Shadow always triumphed over evil


Paul Muni as Scarface

Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara


Continued1
Continued….

  • The average person’s desire to escape reality was also reflected in the literature of that time

  • Comic books like Flash Gordon, The Shadow and Tarzan were inexpensive

  • Novels like Lost Horizon by James Hilton gave people hope of a better world

  • But not all fiction gave people hope and the warm fuzzies. Novels such as Studs Lonigan by James T. Farrell and As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner portrayed grim life and tragic events


Review questions
Review Questions

  • At the height of the depression the number of unemployed workers reached this number

  • Poor African American women stood on corners hoping for a day’s work in what came to be known as this.

  • Poor men and women waited in these for food

  • Blaming an unresponsive President Herbert Hoover, the homeless would refer to the shantytowns as ____________

  • Farmers banded together to save farms from these

  • What types of films were among the most popular of the era?



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