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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) (x)

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An African American Describes Why New Deal Relief Is Not Reaching the Black Community (with text supports)

In this letter, an African American in Georgia anonymously writes to Franklin D. Roosevelt to tell how discrimination in his community means that black citizens are not receiving the relief they are entitled to under New Deal programs. This version [...]

Workers Ask for the Continuation of the W.P.A. (with text supports)

In this letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Works Progress Administration workers in Michigan ask him to continue the program, claiming that it makes them feel more American. This version includes tax supports.

"For My People"

As a young writer, Margaret Walker penned "For My People" to demonstrate African-American racial pride in the face of institutional racism and victimization. Walker interprets the dreams of African-Americans through discussions of the development [...]

Discharge Record from the CCC

While the original goal of the CCC was to put unemployed youths to work on natural resource projects, training and vocation in other areas eventually became an important function of the camps.

Map of Harlem Health Areas and Census Tracts, 1930

Census and public health records help identify the areas of New York where the highest concentration of African Americans lived during the first half of the twentieth century. In the five boroughs of New York in 1930, only 4.7% of the population was [...]

"Times Is Gettin' Hard"

Here Mississippi bluesman Lucious Curtis sings about hardships among African-American cotton sharecroppers in the South. Recorded in 1940 by folklorists John and Alan Lomax, the song was probably written earlier. The Lomaxes toured the rural South [...]

CCCers Sing "Oh, why did I join the C.C.C.?"

This song, titled "Loveless C.C.C.," was most likely written as a parody by a young enrollee in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The song pokes fun at the hard work and strict discipline found in the camps. While a majority of corpsmen were [...]

CCCers Sing "Oh Why Did I Ever Join the CCC?" (with text supports)

This song, titled "Loveless C.C.C.," was most likely written as a parody by a young enrollee in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The song pokes fun at the hard work and strict discipline found in the camps. While a majority of corpsmen were [...]

"The Double V Campaign"

In his 1941 State of the Union address to Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt identified "four freedoms" (freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom to practice religion) that the U.S. needed to defend by entering into [...]

An African-American Man Protests Labor Discrimination at Bowman Dairy

In 1937, African-American activists in Chicago founded the Negro Labor Relations League to put pressure on companies that refused to hire black workers. The League's campaigns targeted newspapers (to promote black newscarriers), movie theaters (to [...]

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