Struggle of African Americans During 1929-1941

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Ross Murphy: 10365571
US War and Depression Essay
Struggle of African American People 1929-1941

African Americans have always struggled throughout history, and th1930s was no exception. During this period they were victims of hate crimes, racism, discrimination, segregation, and lynching, had unfair employment and had very bad access to education and other resources. The great depression was felt throughout the entire country but was obvious that African Americans were getting the worse end of the stick. Roosevelt’s new deal helped many people in America also, yet again it seemed that African Americans were often left behind, or more their needs were dealt with second to whites. Although Roosevelt had little interest in race relations and civil rights, his wife Eleanor realised the crisis black people faced in America, and did much to aid them throughout the 30s. African Americans were still affected by the Jim Crow laws, which saw the segregated in many areas such as schools, public transport, and drinking fountains, in restaurants and even in the military. Even in times of war America could not bring itself together to fight alongside people who were fellow countrymen, regardless of the colour of their skin to fight what they all believed to be a greater evil. So yes, the 1930s were a turbulent time for race relations in America, despite the decline of organisations like the Ku Klux Klan, which received renewed support during the 10s and 20s in America tensions were still high in America between blacks and whites[1].

There were many ups and downs for blacks in the 1930s, although they had backing from many parties such as the NAACP and from people like Eleanor Roosevelt and even from many New Deal programs that gave them a voice in the arts, with federal music, theatre and writers projects, They still suffered large amounts of discrimination from many other angles. The WPA (Works Projects Administration) tried to encourage jobs for blacks in the south, as many of the problems they faced were with employment, companies simply did not want to hire black people to work for them, regardless of their background or skill in a particular line of work, and even WPA leader Harry Hopkins, worked with NAACP leaders to try and prevent discrimination, but even with this support blacks were still discriminated against, they were paid less wages than white people, and when it came down to who got the job, black people were always chose second over white in most cases, even if they were more qualified[2]. An example of this unfair unemployment received by blacks in America can be seen in a statement made by the Urban League (Who tried to promote a better understanding of trade union principles and to affiliate organised labour) and the AFL (American Federation of Labour) on racial discrimination. They claimed that the city of St.Lewis bars the door of organised labour to black people, and the building of trade unions showed complete opposition to the employment of blacks and simply refuse to admit them, many bricklaying , painting and carpeting unions refuse to permit local blacks to be set up and also refused to recognise union cards of blacks from other cities as well, this was not only blatant discrimination, but companies were shutting out many perfectly qualified and skilled workers. The hardships these people faced were horrific for no other reason than the colour of their skin. In another case given in the same speech a skilled electrician working in a city hospital, was forced to accept membership into a coal passers union in order to keep his job, despite being a skilled electrician for a dozen years, and having only done electricians work in the hospital. And in another case an Engineer named William Hodges was accepted to a job, but the union would not accept him, despite taking and cashing his 110$ administration fee, forcing him to take legal action against the company[3]. There was constant discrimination against...
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