The Great Depression

The Great Depression was the worst economic disaster in the history of the United States. Because of it, over a third of Americans were out of work, children were taken out of school because it no longer mattered to parents if they got an education or not, the parents wanted the children to get jobs to support the family.

It can be said that the Great Depression was caused mainly in part by excessive spending on new products, the vast investment of the stock market, the unequal distribution of wealth during the 1920s, and lastly, peoples’ confidence and naivtivity.
The events leading to the Great Depression began in the period of time identified as the ‘Roaring 20s’ (named so because of Americas booming economy through the 20s). During the 20s’ new inventions such as the radio and automobile were introduced and people just couldn’t get enough. With so many Americans spending their money on consumer goods, and our superfluous trading with other nations, the economy rose to an alarming height.

The Beginnings

The Great Depression was mainly the fault's of The Stock Market. Although the depression started in countries around the world in 1928, when it hit America, it became a worldwide issue. On Black Thursday: October 24th, 1929, the Stock Market crashed, and the Great Depression officially began in America.

African Americans and Racial Violence

African Americans as a whole suffered a big hit during the Great Depression. By 1932, half of black Americans were out of work. Black workers who did find work were ridiculed by the white workers because they also were short on work and believed that the African Americans stole work from them.
In the south, racial violence surged during this time period. Usually, eight people were lynched a year. But in just two years, it rose to twenty-eight people per year.
The election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt made made African-Americans begin voting Democratic because Roosevelt had many black advisors and promises he made to black citizens, he also promised to fight the main problems of the Depression.
Discrimination still occurred in FDR's New Deal housing and employment projects. Roosevelt did not support pro-black legislative groups. In World War II, Roosevelt issued an order which provided African-Americans the right to fight in the war regardless of race or color.

Racial Segregation

Dust Bowl

During 1930 the majority of the Midwestern and Southeastern United States was in a drought. The states mostly affected were Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. The local wild grasses held the nutrient rich soil in place through severe droughts and harsh winds. But when settlers came to the area 30 years before World War I they planted wheat and raised cattle on the land which reduced the grass population and therefore the dirt was free to blow away in the harsh dry wind. In the thick of the drought the light material such as clay were blown as far away as the Atlantic Ocean. The heavier material known as top soil piled against barns, fences, and houses as much as 3- 4 inches deep. During the drought two thirds of the settlers moved west while the remaining third had to rely on government aid to support their families. During 1935 the governments of the U.S. and local states decided to take action. They decided to reseed the area with grasses, introduce a 3 year cycle for crop rotations, and plant trees in the parts where rainfall was more common to try and cut down the harsh wind from blowing the soil away.

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During the Depression a couple of award winning books were published. John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath won the Pulitzer Prize along with the Noble Peace Prize when it was published in 1939. Later on, the book was made into a movie. The book focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers that are forced to leave their home becuase of the massive drought, econimic hardship, and changes in agriculteral technologies. John Steinbeck also wrote Of Mice and Men during the time period. The book was about a pair of friends who travel the country side in order to find work to survive during the Great Depression.

The End of The Depression

At the end of the 1930's, unemployment was still high, at fifteen percent. The beginning of World War II began a new age in America, producing ships, planes, weapons and other war materials. Unemployment was shrinking, and the economy was booming. When the U.S. entered the war in late 1941, the economy was ready to withstand the many needs of the Allies. Industry expanded, the amount of workers grew and unemployment diminished, and the Great Depression was officially over.

_Citations :P_
"Great Depression in the United States," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007 © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation.

Oklam, Mark. "Race Relations in the 1930's and 1940's." Library of Congress. 26 Sep 2002. Library of Congress. 19 Sep 2007

Gusmorino III, Paul Alexander. "Main Causes of the Great Depression." Gusmorino. May 13 1996. Gusmorino. 19 Sep 2007

Sutton, Bettye. "American Cultural History - 1930-1939". Kingwood College Library. 17 Sep 2007 <>

"Blacks in the Great Depression". Bowdoin University Library. 16 Sep 2007 <>.

^^Sources^^ :)
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