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’s Failure To Aid African Americans Essay, Research Paper The New Deal’s Failure to Aid African Americans President Roosevelt’s New Deal program during the 1930’s failed to aid impoverished African-American citizens. The New Deal followed a long, historical chronology of American failures in attempts to ensure economic prosperity and racial equality.

’s Failure To Aid African Americans Essay, Research Paper

The New Deal’s Failure to Aid African Americans

President Roosevelt’s New Deal program during the 1930’s failed to aid impoverished African-American citizens. The New Deal followed a long, historical chronology of American failures in attempts to ensure economic prosperity and racial equality. During the nearly seventy years after the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States faced a series of economic depressions, unmotivated Congress,’ and a series of mediocre presidents. With the exception of Teddy Roosevelt, few presidents were able to enact anti-depression mechanisms and minimize unemployment. The America of the 1920’s was a country at its lowest economic and social stature facing a terrible depression and increasing racial turmoil. Author and historian Harvey Wish described the situation as follows:

The decade of the 1920’s was an era of intolerance. Labor strife, government repression of political radicals, anti-foreign paranoia, intensified by war and legalized in the racial quotas of the 1924 Immigration Act, were only a few examples of this intolerance. For American blacks, it was axiomatic that any measurable shift to the right in social and political opinion, would bring with it increased difficulties for their race. The 20’s were no exception.

Lingering and pervasive racism found in FDR’s Cabinet, Congress, and New Deal administrators, contributed to a failure of the Administration’s grand scheme to raise America’s poor, particularly African-Americans, from the depths of despair. Harold Ickes, President Roosevelt’s powerful Secretary of the Interior and the Administration’s leading advocate for African-American relief, believed that the problems faced by poor blacks were inseparable from the problems facing all Americans. While the New Deal was designed to aid all suffering Americans, in practice, the well-intended programs could not ensure economic and racial fairness in the delivery of relief. Instead, most early New Deal programs specifically sanctioned discrimination against African-Americans. Furthermore, political fortitude to enact civil rights legislation and put an end to racial discrimination did not exist during the New Deal era.

Just prior to the New Deal, unemployment steadily rose, while the Hoover administration paid little attention to the plight of the jobless and poor. President Hoover ran for re-election and tried to assure the voters with the slogan, “prosperity is just around the corner.” However, the following unemployment figures, published by the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, indicated significant national unemployment, particularly for African-Americans:

According to the 1930 census, 37 percent of working African-Americans were employed as agricultural laborers and 29 percent as personal-service and domestic workers. Only 2 percent were classified as professionals (lawyers, doctors, teachers and clergy)…Unemployment increased rapidly in the early 1930’s. It was thought that approximately 15 percent of the workforce were unemployed in 1930. African-American organizations estimated that the percentage of unemployed black workers was at least twice the rate of the country as a whole.3

A president who pledged to put the nation back together was what America yearned for. FDR appealed to the masses because he adamantly assured all Americans that he would do everything he could to reform the nation. This same view was stated in the following passage from the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History:

President Roosevelt assumed office in 1932 with the promise to turn the economy around and to put American’s back to work. Most Americans, particularly impoverished African-Americans, viewed FDR’s election with optimism, a newfound hope, and the expectation of a better life. These expectations would remain unfulfilled for the next decade.4

In 1933, immediately upon entering the presidency, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wasted little time and created what would comprise the single largest economic reform program in the history of the United States: The New Deal. Roosevelt hoped that his New Deal would provide much needed relief to working class Americans during that period of devastating depression. In the first 100 days of Roosevelt’s presidency, during a special session of Congress, major recovery programs were passed. The most notable programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps (March 21, 1933); the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (May 10, 1933); and the National Relief Administration (June 16, 1933). Although the Works Progress Administration (April 28, 1935) had not been formed yet, it later became known as one of the single most important relief programs of the 20th century. Congress passed these programs with the intention that they would ensure a decent living for all able-bodied Americans. What the new programs failed to accomplish however, was to focus on the needs of a large percentage of African-Americans. Rural African-Americans especially, received a disproportionate amount of aid from the government, and suffered immensely in contrast to the industrialist and middle class citizens in the cities. From the African-American perspective, the New Deal represented a series of biased laws, failed programs, and racism. African-American critics of the relief programs were valid in concluding that the New Deal did not meet their expectations. Little had been done to provide African-Americans with relief from the depression and from America’s apparent ambivalence towards racism. Prominent African-American Ralph J. Bunche, a critic of New Deal programs, concluded in 1936:

After two years of frantic trial and error, the New Deal, and most of its elaborate machinery, remains suspended in mid-air, bewildered, and innocuous… unemployment was greater at the end of the year 1934 than it was at the end of December 1933.5

Later, student activists at Howard University, expressed their misgivings about the benefit of New Deal programs to African-Americans at the National Negro Congress:

The Council has not begun to do its part in struggling for the rights of white and Negro workers when it hands out a few dollars to share-croppers facing machine guns, disposition, the burning of their homes, the closing of their schools, the beating and killing of their men, and slow-death form below-zero cold and hunger.6

By early 1932, African-Americans began to organize themselves politically and took the initiative to form their own division of the National Democratic Committee.

Presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt promised immediate relief to the working man. Whether he intended to include African-Americans or not, it is not known for sure, but he

gave the black American population hope and sufficient reason to support him. Author

and historian Raymond Wolters explained why African-Americans supported Roosevelt when he wrote: “Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected on a platform that promised to help the forgotten man, and bring a New Deal to the American people.”7

Of the four major relief programs designed and enacted in first 100 days of FDR’s first term, the most comprehensive and well-known New Deal program was the National Recovery Administration. The NRA was a program of government / business cooperation. It intended to establish codes of fair competition between business and labor. These codes set guidelines for pricing and production and guaranteed labor the right of collective bargaining, minimum wages and maximum hours. Even though the NRA did loosen the burden of the poor white male, it did not appreciably relieve the plight of the African-American. Author Raymond Wolters best illustrates this point:

Black objections to the NRA policies, however, were fundamental. In respect to the industrial codes, they pointed out that in the case of Blacks, the codes were frequently evaded through devices such as occupational and geographic job classifications, wage loop holes or simply lack of NRA enforcement. Yet when the minimal wage and hour standards were adequately enforced, they often had equally harmful effects on Black laborers. This was a result of the inability to compete in compliance with NRA wage levels.8

White state officials violated labor codes by ensuring that unemployed whites received the best jobs. The pattern of whites receiving the better jobs was pervasive for a number of reasons. First, particularly in the South, officials who were charged with enforcing NRA regulations were typically white and racist. It was apparent that white males in the South still held racist ideology from the Civil War, seventy years prior to the New Deal. Indeed, the bigotry of whites was quite apparent to African-Americans in the 1930’s. Award-winning author T.H. Watkins accurately remarked about the bias against blacks when he wrote:

Given the equal opportunity nature of bigotry, there was some logic in the fact that the anti-Semitism of the era often was linked to racism that had permeated in American society for three centuries and was still alive in the thirties. A popular doggerel of the day ran, ‘You kiss the Niggers, I’ll kiss the Jews, we’ll stay in he White House as long as we choose.’9

Many blacks had concluded by then that their only friends were members of their own race, and the Federal Government. Most blacks viewed themselves as, “the real sick man of America” and thus in “need of every liberal program,” designed for the “benefit of the masses.” After all, they concluded, “Government of, for, and by the people,” and the “problems of the people are the problems of the Government.”10 Congress passed laws for the poor and destitute, and yet, largely because of continuing racism in America, African-Americans did not receive their rightful benefits from these programs.

A second major reason for African-American discontent with the administration of NRA programs was due to continued segregation. When poor white and black laborers worked together on NRA sponsored construction jobs, government money was used to build separate, less quality housing units for African-Americans. Interestingly, Roosevelt was fully aware of the discrimination suffered by African-Americans, but he wanted to avoid confrontation with Southerners who controlled vital congressional committees. His reluctance to enforce compliance of New Deal programs at the state levels was largely centered on proposed anti-lynching laws. This legislation was written for the purpose of making illegal the barbaric practice of lynching blacks. Surprisingly, the President hesitated to support anti-lynching legislation. FDR made the following comment to NAACP Secretary Walter White in 1933 when asked why he was reluctant to openly support a bill that would promote anti-racism:

I did not choose the tools with which I must work. Southerners, by reason of the seniority rule in Congress, are chairmen or occupy strategic places on most of the Senate and House committees. If I come out for the antilynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can’t take that risk.11

President Roosevelt’s New Deal poverty programs came under attack for their lack of initiative to correct racial discrimination. Several major programs including the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, the Tennessee Valley Administration, and the Civil Works Administration, to name a few, were criticized because while they provided some employment assistance to blacks in large cities they ignored the majority, the chronically impoverished rural citizens. During the New Deal period, 56.5% of the black population was rural. Blacks usually worked as sharecroppers and tenants, receiving low wages in a constantly fluctuating market. Clark Foreman, Harold Ickes’ chief racial assistant at the Department of Interior, wrote in 1934, that it was necessary to enact a program sensitive to the plight of rural blacks. He commented the following:

In 1930, the census showed 6,697,230 or 56.5 per cent of the Negro population to be rural. Of that 4,690,523 or 39.3 per cent of the entire Negro population were classified as rural-farm population. Of this number 1,987,839 or 46 percent of the total number of Negroes over 10 years of age were gainfully employed in agriculture; 181,016 Negroes owned and operated farms and 700,911 were tenants, 923 were managers and 1,112,510 were farm laborers of one sort or another. Any program that is intended to reach the masses of the Negro population will undoubtedly have to do something about the Negro farmer.12

In light of an increasing cry for legislation to aid the rural blacks, Roosevelt created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (May 10, 1933). Ironically, in many respects, the AAA actually “enforced” poverty and reinforced racism on the black farm population. It facilitated violations of the rights of the tenants under crop reduction and rendered enforcement of these rights impossible. Faced with the Dred Scott decision against farm tenants, the AAA remained discreetly silent. In the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court rendered blacks powerless from suing anyone because they were not considered to be U.S. citizens. Therefore, African-Americans could not dispute their eviction from employment based on discrimination by white officials. For tenants and sharecroppers who were retained on the plantations, the government’s agricultural program meant reduced income. Wholesale fraud in the payment of parity checks occurred. Tenants who complained to the Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. were referred back to the locality of where they lived, and trouble of a serious nature often resulted from the white landlords. Even when this did not happen, in many cases, tenants failed to receive their checks. Compulsory reduction of acreage for cotton and tobacco crops, regulated by local boards in which blacks had no representation, meant drastic reduction of their already low income. According to Guy Johnson, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina in 1934, the burden on the African-American under the AAA was a catastrophe. His thoughts on this subject were as follows:

Even in the administration of federal relief, the Civil Works Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration etc., there has been, particularly in the lower South, a tendency to perpetuate the existing inequalities. Negro tenants received pitifully little of the crop reduction money last fall. Landlords quite generally took charge of the checks and applied them to back debts of the tenants. Furthermore, many landlords are known to have ‘understandings’ with local relief administrators to prevent the ‘demoralization’ of their Negro labor, and it is reported that some go as far as to charge to their tenants’ accounts all food and other supplies furnished by the relief office. The director of relief in a southern seaboard city remarked not long ago, ‘I don’t like this fixing of a wage scale for work relief. Why, the niggers in this town are getting so spoiled working on these relief jobs at thirty cents an hour that they won’t work on the docks for fifty cents a day like they did last year.’ 13

In May 1933, Congress approved creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the largest single undertakings during the New Deal. At that time, the decline of black agricultural employment was a quarter of a million. Roosevelt realized that it was necessary to provide the rural American the same basic privileges that Americans enjoyed in the cities, such as electricity and plumbing. He decided to create major employment opportunities with this program to construct dams in the Tennessee Valley, an area that stretched from Ohio through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama alongside the Tennessee River. Recognized by some historians as the most significant program of the New Deal, the purpose of the TVA was to “provide for the agricultural and industrial development of the Tennessee Valley, and to foster an orderly and physical, economic and social development of such areas.”14 The TVA employed more than 2,000 people in the region and is credited with providing relief to many out-of-work rural citizens. Some of the TVA jobs included the construction of dams to provide fresh water to the rural workers and to provide residents with electricity for their homes. When construction began on the Norris Dam, an integral part of the project, officials rejected African-American applicants for work, telling them that they could not work on it because the entire project was for the advantage of the white man. Moreover, in a number of other TVA dam projects built in densely populated black areas, the workforce was always predominantly white. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored Person’s Walter White pointed out the pervasive racial discrimination by TVA administers when he wrote a letter on March 14, 1938 to Senator George Norris, considered the father of the TVA.

“But what my dear Senator Norris, is the worth to a man of an electrically lighted home if he can be taken from that home as easily as from a cabin lighted by candles and burned to death by a howling mob?”15

Blacks were understandably frightened by frequent murders. No one could guarantee their safety, and whites still had the right to lynch blacks. At that time, about the only place that might believe the blacks’ stories of racial injustice was in the Federal Courts.

In many instances, even skilled black workers were not used for projects where their talents could have been helpful. Another problem facing black workers was the enormous number of unemployed and unskilled black laborers. Officials in the TVA would generally pick a white skilled worker or a white unskilled worker over a

black skilled worker. Moreover, an extremely low percentage of blacks had any opportunity to be trained in their respective fields. The pay for any black worker was low but the payment for unskilled black workers, who were almost never in demand, was well below the minimum wage at that time. The reasons that the TVA gave for not hiring

blacks and their reasons for feeling discriminated against were stated in a black journal in

April 1934:

For example, TVA authorities did not, and still do not, plan to use any Negro labor on the building of the Norris Dam itself. They claim that building separate dormitories and accommodations for the few Negro laborers representing the small Negro population around Norris would be so expensive as to materially advance the price of electric power to be sold by the TVA and would thereby prevent the providing of a true ‘yardstick’ to be used on public utilities throughout the nation…The Negro as desperately as he needs training, is to be absolutely excluded. He can not even live on the outskirts of the town in his customary hovel. This is a bitter blow to Negro leadership.16

FDR attempted to bring the modern society of the big cities into the rural parts of the country with the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It became one of the most enduring and popular work-relief programs, lasting until the 1940’s. The CCC provided relief to young men and their families; it removed young people from the private labor market; and it provided basic education and job training. However, once again, African-Americans did not have equal access to this program. Although it was federally financed and administered, local social-service staffs selected participants. In some areas, this resulted in the exclusion of African-American youths. Because the War Department administered the camps where the workers lived, segregated policies of the armed forces were often followed. Additionally, there was a racial quota system that limited the number of black youths employed according to the proportion of blacks in the population. Since a larger proportion of African-American families than white families were on relief, the quota severely limited the participation of black youth. Typically, all-black camps were set up in areas where segregation was the law of the land.

The Works Progress Administration (April 28, 1935) was responsible for building hospitals, schools, farm-to-market roads, playgrounds and landing strips. The WPA created programs such as the Resettlement and Rural Electrification Administrations that provided federal relief to sharecroppers and supplied farmers with electric power. Part of the WPA, The Federal Writers Project, which focused its efforts on the Arts and Theatre, established projects that helped their respective fields become more popular. This included interviewing former slaves and writing narratives about the hardships that they faced during the late 19th century. But, the WPA had policies that were disturbing to the black population, including wage rates that were lower than those in the private sector and with geographic differentiations. The states in the Southeast, where the majority of African-Americans lived, paid workers sixty-five cents per day, the lowest wage rates in the country. As time went on, the WPA policies became more restrictive. Workers could not remain on projects longer than eighteen months. This was especially difficult for black workers because the private labor market did not absorb them as quickly as it had absorbed whites. There were many instances of inequalities in the WPA. Historian Anthony Badger commented on some of these inequalities:

But the elimination of discrimination by directive from Washington was not easy. Payments to blacks in the South never revealed the gross inequities that occurred under the WPA. Blacks in eight of thirteen southern states constituted a greater share of the WPA rolls than their proportion of the population. But blacks were discriminated against in job allocations: by May 1940 only 11 of the 10,344 WPA supervisors in the South were black.17

The rejection of blacks from joining labor unions was also found to be discriminatory and was summarized in the Journal of Negro Education in 1936:

Labor Unions refusal to admit Negroes in St. Louis building trades unions have kept Negroes out of practicality all skilled processes on jobs being erected from public funds in that city. An amazing situation arose where Negro workers obliged to picket a hospital building being erected for colored patients in the middle of the Negro district because the contractors refused to employ Negro skilled workers.18

Not permitting blacks to work on an all-black hospital construction project in a black district demonstrated the blatant racism that was prominent in so many New Deal programs.

Although the Public Works Administration was one of the most important and helpful organizations of the New Deal, it was not without discrimination. The PWA was created under the watchful eye of Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, the administration’s leading advocate of equal wages for whites and blacks. The purpose of the program was to provide jobs for the unemployed and to donate money to important organizations without much funding. Even though Ickes meant well, many blacks found problems with PWA programs similar to those of the AAA and the NRA. Again, the federal government (Ickes included) did not hold any influence over the individual state governments. Therefore, the blacks continued to be denied jobs and equal wages. John P. Davis, an authority on the Roosevelt Era explained this quite well in his article for the Journal of Negro Education:

The Negro’s experience with the PWA has been no better than his experience with other New Deal programs. Negro workers in the building trades have been driven to the wall. They have been denied employment on public works projects and singled out in the South for sub-standard wages. Even under the new Works Relief Bill we find the establishment of work relief for families of five as low as from $10 to $17 for four 30 hour weeks…What hope can we have for the improvement of the lot of the Negro as long as the federal government joins with private employers in imposing upon Negroes by law and administrative practices sub-normal standard of living?19

The depression and collapse of America’s economy in 1929 enhanced the political, social, and economic burdens of black Americans. Any substantial gains in wealth that many African-Americans had enjoyed during the roaring 20’s became obsolete due to the harsh reality of the depression. For the unskilled laborers, tenant farmers, and household domestics, who made up the majority of the black working class, the depression was indeed immediate and as a result devastated many lives. In the mid 1930’s there were enormous wage differentials between black and whites, AAA cotton subsidy policies, discrimination is government-sponsored relief and public works, and restrictions in federal hiring practices. In John P. Davis’ “Black Inventory of a New Deal,” written in May 1935, the few benefits that had been won by black people during the first two years of the Roosevelt administration were listed. It was apparent even then, that the Roosevelt New Deal was not a fair deal for the black community:

“Perhaps the best indication of the effect that the New Deal had on the Negro was the increase of blacks on relief from two million in 1933 to three and one half million by January, 1935.”20

From 1929 to 1935, the nation had been engulfed in an extraordinary economic crisis. Blacks had been exploited and excluded in every possible way by white New Dealers and the federal government. One can conclude that many blacks felt that racism and exploitation had been heightened by New Deal programs. The NRA and the AAA, essentially the heart of the New Deal, failed to deal with the “special problems” confronting blacks during the depression, and their “ultimate impact was detrimental to black economic and social progress.”21 Blacks found themselves cemented in a futile position of segregated inferiority in all aspects of American society.

Between Roosevelt’s reluctance to strive for racial inequality, and the disproportionate funding of wealth to the tenant farmers, the New Deal was a broken promise to the whole of the African-American population. Historian John Byron Kirby summarized the New Deal and the dilemma faced by African-Americans when he wrote:

Racial ambivalence, based on the white man’s own racial conflicts, lay at the heart of the New Deal’s relationship to Black America and that ambivalence was clearly expressed in the mixed impact of its reform policies and the frustrations experienced by Blacks who tried to unravel its true meaning.22

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Alfred, Helen. “The New Deal and Housing,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 12, p.23-25, January 1934.

This article, from a popular African-American Journal, outlines the troubles that many rural blacks had affording their own property due to the poor wage rates that they received.

Mary McLeod Bethune. “I’ll Never Turn Back No More!” Opportunity XVI

(November 1938), 325.

This source points out African-American discontent at the bias of the NRA and the AAA, and explains the poverty that African-Americans faced during that time period.

Bunche, Ralph J. “No Relief From Racism,” The Journal of Negro Education, p.35-55, February 1936.

In this article, Ralph Bunche, one of the most outspoken African-American men in his time explains each program and why each of them was detrimental to the African-American community.

Clayton, Cranston. “The TVA and the Race Problem,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 12, p. 111-114, August 1934.

The purposes of the TVA are stated in this article, as well as why there was a wage differential between black and white unskilled workers.

Edwards, Thyra J. “Attitudes of Negro Families on Relief,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 14, p.213-215, July 1936.

This article illustrates how the lives of African-Americans worsened (even while they were on relief) during Roosevelt’s first term.

Florant, Lyonel. “Florant Discusses Negro Congress and Opening of Council Meetings,” The Hilltop (Howard University Newspaper), 21 February 1936.

This newspaper article from Howard University conveys the importance of African-American council meetings in order to understand what black Americans in the nation’s capital could do to limit discrimination in New Deal programs.

Foreman, Clark. “What Hope For the Rural Negro?” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 11, p.105-106, April 1934.

This article, from an early version of Opportunity explains why rural African-Americans felt disenfranchised from the rest of the nation’s population. It appears that this feeling was caused by the amount of wealth going from the government to the pockets of many white individuals.

Johnson, Guy. “Discrimination in New Deal Programs,” Social Forces, p. 30, October

1934.

Explains why many minorities felt left out of the New Deal programs, and provides proof of the racism of state officials enforcing the New Deal programs (by means of dialogue between white workers in New Deal programs and officials).

The Journal of Negro Education, Volume 5, p.1-110 (many various articles), January 1936.

A wide variety of articles providing explanations for African-American discontent at the first three years of Roosevelt’s presidency. Hoover had promised prosperity, but the blacks did not experience it in his era or in the New Deal era.

Books and Articles

Badger, Anthony J. The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940. New York: Hill and Wang, 1989.

A good description of the First New Deal and what progress was made in the Second New Deal. Badger, concludes that the New Deal was an instant success for whites, but not for blacks.

Bunche, Ralph J. The Political Status of the Negro in the Age of FDR. Part I New York, 1932. Part II New York, 1968.

A recount of African-American lives in the age of New Deal programs, and how they dramatically shifted from bad to worse.

Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom, 1940-1945. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1970.

This book is an explanation of why the New Deal of the 1940’s treated everyone much better than in the 1930’s.

Dudley, William. The Great Depression: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1994.

A fabulous book that provides a topic of debate relating to the New Deal, and how two people can justify their claims for supporting each side of the argument. It makes use of primary source material also.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Volume 2, New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1996.

Explains why the Roosevelt/New Deal Era was just a continuation of the Great Depression for the African-American population.

Grolier Encyclopedia Online.

http://www.grolier.com

I looked up New Deal, African Americans, 1930’s etc.

I just found factual information about New Deal programs and Roosevelt’s presidency.

Kirby, John Byron. Black Americans in the Roosevelt Era, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980.

A behind-the-scenes evaluation of Roosevelt’s cabinet members during the New Deal era. Also, a large portion of this book is devoted to an explanation of Roosevelt’s lackluster effort to help African-Americans in this time of crisis.

Lash, Joseph P. Dealers and Dreamers: A New Look At The New Deal. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

A book debating both sides of the racial inequality issue. Also provides information on some of the major players in Roosevelt’s administration such as Harold Ickes.

Leuchtenburg, William E. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal 1932-1940. New York: Harper and Row, 1963.

Shows that FDR’s vision of a New Deal was quite consistent with what actually happened during his presidency. However, it makes only a little reference to African-Americans.

Louchheim, Katie. The Making of the New Deal: The Insiders Speak. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1983.

This presented the way FDR and his administration molded the New Deal into one of the most successful reform campaigns in United States history (from a subjective standpoint of course).

Rauch, Basil. The History of the New Deal 1933-1938. New York: Capricorn Books, 1944.

An objective illustration of each New Deal programs from the First New Deal, and how their affects could be felt towards the end of the Roosevelt administration.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Coming of the New Deal. Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1959.

A history of the events that lead up to the New Deal and the issues that Roosevelt failed to address with his programs.

Schwarz, Jordan A. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

A biography of Roosevelt’s cabinet members and how they contributed to the New Deal. Also, the views of many (white) Americans who praised the New Deal for its unbiased programs.

Watkins, T.H. The Great Depression: America in the 1930’s. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1993.

An overview of the 1930’s and how many Americans’ lives were adversely impacted by the New Deal.

Videos

“The New Deal and New York,” The Great Depression, prod. Henry Hampton, 57

minutes, PBS video, 1993, videocassette.

A video focusing on the effects of New Deal programs in the city and a comparison of how both black and white industrial workers fared during the 1930’s.

Primary Sources

Alfred, Helen. “The New Deal and Housing,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 12, p.23-25, January 1934.

This article, from a popular African-American Journal, outlines the troubles that many rural blacks had affording their own property due to the poor wage rates that they received.

Mary McLeod Bethune. “I’ll Never Turn Back No More!” Opportunity XVI

(November 1938), 325.

This source points out African-American discontent at the bias of the NRA and the AAA, and explains the poverty that African-Americans faced during that time period.

Bunche, Ralph J. “No Relief From Racism,” The Journal of Negro Education, p.35-55, February 1936.

In this article, Ralph Bunche, one of the most outspoken African-American men in his time explains each program and why each of them was detrimental to the African-American community.

Clayton, Cranston. “The TVA and the Race Problem,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 12, p. 111-114, August 1934.

The purposes of the TVA are stated in this article, as well as why there was a wage differential between black and white unskilled workers.

Edwards, Thyra J. “Attitudes of Negro Families on Relief,” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 14, p.213-215, July 1936.

This article illustrates how the lives of African-Americans worsened (even while they were on relief) during Roosevelt’s first term.

Florant, Lyonel. “Florant Discusses Negro Congress and Opening of Council Meetings,” The Hilltop (Howard University Newspaper), 21 February 1936.

This newspaper article from Howard University conveys the importance of African-American council meetings in order to understand what black Americans in the nation’s capital could do to limit discrimination in New Deal programs.

Foreman, Clark. “What Hope For the Rural Negro?” Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, Volume 11, p.105-106, April 1934.

This article, from an early version of Opportunity explains why rural African-Americans felt disenfranchised from the rest of the nation’s population. It appears that this feeling was caused by the amount of wealth going from the government to the pockets of many white individuals.

Johnson, Guy. “Discrimination in New Deal Programs,” Social Forces, p. 30, October

1934.

Explains why many minorities felt left out of the New Deal programs, and provides proof of the racism of state officials enforcing the New Deal programs (by means of dialogue between white workers in New Deal programs and officials).

The Journal of Negro Education, Volume 5, p.1-110 (many various articles), January 1936.

A wide variety of articles providing explanations for African-American discontent at the first three years of Roosevelt’s presidency. Hoover had promised prosperity, but the blacks did not experience it in his era or in the New Deal era.

Books and Articles

Badger, Anthony J. The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-1940. New York: Hill and Wang, 1989.

A good description of the First New Deal and what progress was made in the Second New Deal. Badger, concludes that the New Deal was an instant success for whites, but not for blacks.

Bunche, Ralph J. The Political Status of the Negro in the Age of FDR. Part I New York, 1932. Part II New York, 1968.

A recount of African-American lives in the age of New Deal programs, and how they dramatically shifted from bad to worse.

Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom, 1940-1945. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1970.

This book is an explanation of why the New Deal of the 1940’s treated everyone much better than in the 1930’s.

Dudley, William. The Great Depression: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press Inc., 1994.

A fabulous book that provides a topic of debate relating to the New Deal, and how two people can justify their claims for supporting each side of the argument. It makes use of primary source material also.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Volume 2, New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1996.

Explains why the Roosevelt/New Deal Era was just a continuation of the Great Depression for the African-American population.

Grolier Encyclopedia Online.

http://www.grolier.com

I looked up New Deal, African Americans, 1930’s etc.

I just found factual information about New Deal programs and Roosevelt’s presidency.

Kirby, John Byron. Black Americans in the Roosevelt Era, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980.

A behind-the-scenes evaluation of Roosevelt’s cabinet members during the New Deal era. Also, a large portion of this book is devoted to an explanation of Roosevelt’s lackluster effort to help African-Americans in this time of crisis.

Lash, Joseph P. Dealers and Dreamers: A New Look At The New Deal. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

A book debating both sides of the racial inequality issue. Also provides information on some of the major players in Roosevelt’s administration such as Harold Ickes.

Leuchtenburg, William E. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal 1932-1940. New York: Harper and Row, 1963.

Shows that FDR’s vision of a New Deal was quite consistent with what actually happened during his presidency. However, it makes only a little reference to African-Americans.

Louchheim, Katie. The Making of the New Deal: The Insiders Speak. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1983.

This presented the way FDR and his administration molded the New Deal into one of the most successful reform campaigns in United States history (from a subjective standpoint of course).

Rauch, Basil. The History of the New Deal 1933-1938. New York: Capricorn Books, 1944.

An objective illustration of each New Deal programs from the First New Deal, and how their affects could be felt towards the end of the Roosevelt administration.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Coming of the New Deal. Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1959.

A history of the events that lead up to the New Deal and the issues that Roosevelt failed to address with his programs.

Schwarz, Jordan A. The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

A biography of Roosevelt’s cabinet members and how they contributed to the New Deal. Also, the views of many (white) Americans who praised the New Deal for its unbiased programs.

Watkins, T.H. The Great Depression: America in the 1930’s. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1993.

An overview of the 1930’s and how many Americans’ lives were adversely impacted by the New Deal.

Videos

“The New Deal and New York,” The Great Depression, prod. Henry Hampton, 57

minutes, PBS video, 1993, videocassette.

A video focusing on the effects of New Deal programs in the city and a comparison of how both black and white industrial workers fared during the 1930’s.

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