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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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

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A Black American Asks FDR to End Racial Inequalities in Federal Relief

Although Franklin D. Roosevelt never endorsed anti-lynching legislation and condoned discrimination against blacks in federally funded relief programs, he still won the hearts and the votes of many African Americans. Yet this support and even [...]

"United We Win"

This 1943 government poster offers an image of racial solidarity among wartime workers under the slogan "United We Win." Although African-Americans did find enhanced opportunities thanks to the high demand for workers and the Roosevelt [...]

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 [...]

"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 [...]

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 [...]

A Black Candidate Runs on Civil Rights in 1940s New York

The Japanese distributed leaflets over the South Pacific that asked, "If Americans are fighting for the freedom and equality of all people, why aren't Negro Americans allowed to play big league baseball?" Ben Davis, an African-American candidate for [...]

A Black New Yorker Describes Life in a CCC Camp

Luther C. Wandall, an African American from New York City, wrote the following account of life in a segregated Civilian Conservation Corps camp for Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Wandall tells [...]

A Bracero Is Disenchanted With the United States

Despite rumors that braceros would be sent off to fight in World War II, Manuel Sandoval Espino joined the bracero program in 1943. He recalls having to go to the local politician in order to get a pass to join. Mr. Sandoval worked in Kansas as a [...]

A Bracero Protests Low Pay and Discrimination

Although he had received a rare scholarship to attend middle school, Andrés Héctor Quezada Lara dropped out to become a bracero. His work took him to many places in the United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, [...]

Table of Black and White Tenant Farmer Unemployment Rates, 1931-1932

The hard times of the Great Depression were even harder for African Americans, who were often the “last hired and first fired.” Particularly hard hit were black domestic workers (mostly female) and black tenant farmers (mostly male), [...]