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The Great Depression. Hard Times Hit America. Photo of Florence Owens and her children, taken by Dorothea Lange in California, 1936. Her husband had died, and she was looking for work picking lettuce. .

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the great depression

The Great Depression

Hard Times Hit America


Photo of Florence Owens and her children, taken by Dorothea Lange in California, 1936.Her husband had died, and she was looking for work picking lettuce.


soup line during depression
Soup Line during Depression

depression deepens 1930 and 1931
Depression Deepens: 1930 and 1931
  • In 1930 it becomes apparent that the Depression was not going away.
  • Bank failures soared and businesses closed.
  • In 1930, 1350 banks closed, and by October four million were unemployed (9%).
  • By 1931 that figure would rise to 16%.
  • Also in 1930/1931 a drought struck the Midwest, causing conditions leading to the Dust Bowl later in the 1930s.
  • For families already poor in the Midwest before the Depression, the situation would be even worse.

gin day in alabama 1927
Gin Day in Alabama 1927

Alabama Department of Archives and History, LPP00217


Alabama School during the Depression in 1937

Alabama Department of Archives and History, LPP00220

life during the depression
Life During the Depression
  • For most families, the effects of the Depression worsened over time:
    • Husbands’ wages were cut.
    • Families postponed major purchases and cut spending.
    • Older children got jobs to earn needed money.
    • Husbands lost jobs and families lived off any savings.
    • Savings ran out and home mortgages were foreclosed.
    • Families moved in with relatives or moved to a large city looking for work, possibly becoming transients.
  • Many women were told to quit their jobs so men could have them. Many married women were fired.
family traveling through mobile alabama searching for work
Family traveling through Mobile, Alabama searching for work. June 2009

  • Many homeless families moved from town to town looking for work and relief stations.
  • Many men rode the rails to find jobs.
  • Shantytowns that formed outside cities became known as “Hoovervilles” where conditions were deplorable.
  • A pocket turned

outward was

called a

“Hoover Flag.”

depression era song
Depression Era Song