The Great Depression
Cindy and Marina
A man selling apples in NYC
On my way to the train. I met a group of hobos. I had an interesting conversation with one of the men in the group and he told me his life story. He said "when I lost all his money due to the stock market crash I joined the hobos." This man has lost just about everything and he didn't know what was going to happen next but he followed the rails with his group of hobos (which were now his friend). "One day" he told me "we were following the rails and we noticed a house not too far away. I knocked at the door but nobody answered. After a few more knocks a tall man opens the door. He looked at us then waved his hand in as a welcoming sign. The family was not rich but managed to feed us all a little. When we were leaving I left a sign on the front door for others like us to know that they are welcomed here." I spent an entire day listening to his stories about losing money, finding friends, visiting people, riding the rails and much more. It was getting late so I had to get on the train and continue on my trip.
Teenage boy 'riding the rails'
A man in a breadline
A family in a Hooverville
One day on my way to visit family in New York City, I past by a small place with a lot of poor people. I walked up to a lady named Sara and she told me all about her life story and how she became so poor. She said it all began because of the great depression and all the unemployment which made it worse for her family to get money. They live in a small place called Hoovervilles. She said the hardest hit were those at the bottom of the economic ladder which is where she was at. They were unable to pay their rent so they tried moving in with relatives. Their Hoovervilles were made out of tar paper, cardboard, and scrap materials. She also said that people that couldn’t build Hoovervilles slept in boxcars or open freight cars. By 1933, an estimated one million people were on the move, risking jail, injury, or death.
A mother whose son has been lynched
I met this very nice women and she agreed to tell me about her son. Her son, John was lynched. She told what happened that day. “I sent him to get some food for the day. I had no idea that this would happen to my one and only son. He was gone for way longer than usual so I went looking for him. I found a crowd of people gathered around something or someone. My first thought was someone got lynched and my second, well I didn’t have time for a second thought. I ran towards them and pushed people out of my way. When I saw him I fell to my knees. I cried, yelled, and hit the ground with all my strength. He was my only son. Do you understand what that means?” At this point tears where rolling down her cheeks. “He was my ONLY son! Now I have work and live all alone, no husband, no child, and no family at all. You know before the 1890’s, most lynch victims were white and most of it occurred in the south but after that all could get lynched.” She was such a sweet person but I had to leave.
I notice that many of the richer kind went to movie theater. It seemed to be popular. I talked to some people in line to enter and they all mostly said the same thing. “Cartoons are a way for me to get out of this world into another, to get away from all this stress, depression, and reality.
A man in a soup kitchen
One day I was walking in New York City and I decide to talk to a man in a soup kitchen and ask him questions of how the soup kitchens started. We had a long and interesting conversation about how it started. He told me it all started because of the Great Depression and the massive unemployment in America which stood at 1.5 million. By 1931, it mushroomed to 4.5million. One result of such massive unemployment was a huge increase in bread lines and soup kitchens to feed the jobless. He told me that soup kitchens were operated out of missions, gymnasiums, and church basements. He said he would see people wait in lines that extended for blocks just to get a doughnut and a cup of coffee. He told me he never heard anyone complain because they were grateful they could at least get something to eat.
(General AH Book) American Heritage Publishing Staff. America: Pathways to the Present.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (School Division), 2005. Print.
(Honors US Book) Lapsanksy-Werner. United States History. Student ed. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.