The Great Depression of the 1930s worsened the already grim economic situation of social minorities. During that time, millions of Americans lost their jobs in the 1929 stock market crash. The crisis that began in 1929 seemed, at first glance, to Americans to be a normal part of an economic cycle of repeated ups and downs. The Great Depression followed the same laws as the minor economic recessions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that preceded it. But the new crisis struck everyone with its scale, and the country could not overcome it for a very long time. The groups most affected by depression were women, Hispanics, Hispanics, and African Americans.
The Impact on Women
In the 1930s, women gradually entered the labor market in larger numbers over the decades, but the Great Depression forced women to seek urgent work as thousands of men who were once the breadwinners of the family lost their jobs. The 22 percent drop in marriages between 1929 and 1939 also meant that more single women were left to fend for themselves. Although women’s jobs paid less, they were less precarious; by 1940, it was 90 percent. All women’s work can be grouped into ten categories, such as nursing and teaching. White women were civil servants, and black and Hispanic women were mostly civil servants. Confined to household chores, according to David Kennedy in his 1999 book Freedom out of fear. The rapid expansion of the regime through the New Deal Demand for secretary roles filled by women in haste and created by others. Employment opportunities for women, albeit limited.
The Impact on Blacks
Virtually ignored by the Republican government of the 1920s, black voters converted to the Democratic Party, particularly in northern cities. In the 1928 presidential election, African Americans voted for the Democrats in large numbers for the first time. Republican President Herbert Hoover nominated John J Parker, a man of strong anti-Black views, for the US Supreme Court (New Deal and the Negro (1935), 2013). The NAACP successfully resisted the nomination. In the 1932 presidential campaign, African Americans overwhelmingly supported the successful Democratic nominee Franklin D Roosevelt.
Discrimination by local governments was common, but African Americans benefited greatly from the New Deal program. Inexpensive public housing became available to black families. The National Youth Service and the Civil Defense Corps allowed young African Americans to continue their education (Thomas, “New Deal a Square Deal?” 1933, n.d.). The Works Progress Administration hired many African Americans, and its Commonwealth Writers Project supported the work of many black authors, including Zora Neale Hurston, Aluna Bontemps, Waters Turpin, and Melvin B. Tolson.
The Impact on Mexian Americans
When the Great Depression began, there was intense pressure on Mexican migrant workers and even Mexican Americans to return to Mexico. Today, they are seen as unwanted competitors for jobs and welfare programs. In addition, Mexican-Americans and Filipino-Americans were part of a militant union movement in California that threatened manufacturers and conservatives in the border states. These two men from the National Youth Administration (NYA) were helping to build the Ranger Station in West Riverside. President Herbert Hoover quickly decided to deport Mexican Americans when the economy plummeted after the stock market crash of 1929 ” (Onda Latina: The Mexican American Experience Program Collection of the KUT Longhorn Radio Network, n.d.). After President Hoover appointed William N. Doak as Secretary of Labor in 1930, the INS began an intensive search for aliens responsible for deportation. He believed that eliminating resident aliens would reduce labor costs and free up jobs for local citizens.
Things changed dramatically when Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933. Since 1934, the number of deported Mexicans has dropped by about 50 percent. The New Deal began to help Hispanic Americans through various relief and recovery programs. In particular, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Working Progress Administration (WPA) engaged unemployed Mexican Americans in relief work in both rural and urban areas of the Southwest. The New Deal was designed to end the Great Depression in America through aid, recovery, and reform. Native Americans on reservations suffered more from poverty than any other racial group in America (Onda Latina: The Mexican American Experience Program Collection of the KUT Longhorn Radio Network, n.d.). During the Great Depression, John Colliers served as director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the 1930s. Collier wanted to reclaim some Native American lands, restore autonomy to their own governments, and increase federal funding.
The Impact on Native Americans
Within the New Deal, there were programs specifically for Native Americans. One such program was the Citizen Conservation Corps – Indian Division (CCC-ID). The Citizen Conservation Corps recruited young unmarried men to work on conservation projects. CCC-ID recruited Native Americans of all ages to work on conservation projects. They built fences, buildings, power lines, and more. Native Americans were not consulted when the New Deal program was developed for them. Native peoples were not in charge of the BIA, so most decisions on behalf of Native peoples were made by whites (Hannahdurbin, 2012). None of these programs, however, ended poverty on reservations. Native Americans remained the lowest-income group in the country. The Wheeler-Howard Act repealed the Dawes Act and returned reservations that the government had not sold to the tribes. The government did not return the lands left to the tribes and did not properly pay them for the lands sold. Thus, I believe that historical assessments of how the new policies since the Depression have improved the situation of social minorities can be considered fair. This is evidenced by various legislative changes as well as statistical data.
Hannahdurbin. (2012). John Collier (Native Americans). Great Depression and World War II Project. Web.
New Deal and the Negro (1935). (2013). Social Welfare History Project. Web.
Thomas, “New Deal a Square Deal?” 1933. (n.d.). History.hanover.edu. Web.