Minorities in The Great Depression

By: Mackenzie Bluman and Hasan Hamoudi


-With lower income rates for men/husbands, women sought employment to support their families

-Overall percentage in the workplace for women drastically increased during this time

-Althougn ambitious, the New Deal programs still allowed for women to receive a lower pay than that of men

African Americans

-Discrimmination in the workplace led to lack of opportunity for African Americans, and they tended to be the "last hired, first fired"

-African American unemployment rates were higher than the national average, and they were left out from national relief programs

-Civil Rights leaders received little support from President Roosevelt, who sought to preserve the white, southern Democratic votes

-Some New Deal programs provided jobs for African Americans, however they tended to be low-paying and also segregated

-African Americans during this time began to receive moral support from government executives such as Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady), and Harold Ickes (Secretary of Interior)

-Many African Americans were granted middle-level positions in federal departments by President Roosevelt

-The Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) was set up to assist minorities in gaining jobs in the defense industries


-The American Federation of Labor (A.F. of L.) was made up of many different unions of skilled, white male workers. Different unions inside the A.F. of L wanted to expand to all workers in an industry. The industrial unions in the A.F. of L. joined together to create the Committee of Industrial Organizations (C.I.O.). However, this organization was suspended, so they changed the name to the Congress of Industrial Organizations, broke away from the A.F. of L., and this new C.I.O. became their chief rival.

-Strikes were very common in the workplace with unions

-The Fair Labor Standards Act instituted workplace policies such as:

1.) Minimum wage of 40 cents/hour

2.) Maximum workweek of 40 hours, not including overtime which was given extra pay

3.) Child labor restrictions on hiring people under 16 years old

Mexican Americans

Mexicans in the Great Depression had many reasons for deportation, mainly those Mexican Americans in California and the southwest region of the U.S.. Most Mexican American's jobs included agricultural labor, although when the depression hit, high unemployment rate caused white people to migrate west looking for jobs, pushing Mexican Americans out of their jobs because of discrimination in the New Deal programs. Competition for jobs had made it so thousands of Mexicans had to return back to Mexico.

American Indians

-John Collier established Conservation and CCC projects on reservations and gained recognition from the New Deal programs

-Won President Roosevelt's support to withdraw the Dawes Act of 1887, returning lands to the control of the tribes and supporting the American-Indian culture

Dust Bowl Farmers

-Poor farming methods paired with very high winds caused millions of tons of dried topsoil to blow away

-"Okies" (farmers from Oklahoma) and people from surrounding states moved west searching for jobs and farmland that they could not find back home

-The federal government created the Soil Conservation Service in 1935 to teach farmers about proper farming techniques