Great Despression Minorities

By James Spence and Zach Burk

Labor Unions

Two New Deal programs affected labor unions greatly. These were the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Wagner Act of 1935. These acts legalized labor unions and tactics like collective bargaining and striking. More victories for labor came with the Fair Labor Standards Act which established a minimum wage, a maximum workweek, and set child labor restrictions.
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AFL and CIO

As unions began to grow in power, tensions between rival unions increased. An example of this is between the American Federation of Labor and the Comitee of Industrial Labor. The AFL was dominated by skilled white males laborers. A group of unions within the AFL thought that all workers should be unionized, regardless of race, gender, or whether or not their labor was skilled. The CIO(now called the Congress of Industrial Labor) broke away from the AFL and became its chief rival, focusing on organizing unskilled labor.
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Strikes

Even though collective bargaining was now protected by federal law, many companies still refused to listen to unions. As a result, strikes were a common occurrence. At the General Motors plant in 1937, workers participated in a sit-down strike to gain the right to join a union. They were successful, and the company recognized the United Auto Workers union. Despite being successful at General Motors, union organizers at Ford were beaten and driven away by police. Unions were much better off after the New Deal.
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Dust Bowl

Struggles for farmers became even worse during the Great Depression. In the early 1930s, a severe drought combined with poor farming practices and high winds caused millions of tons of dried topsoil to be blown into the air. This event was known as the Dust Bowl, and caused thousands of Okies from Oklahoma to migrate west to California. They struggled to find work out west. In response to the Dust Bowl, the federal government created the Soil Conservation service to teach farmers ways to avoid a similar disaster. The region recovered, but there were still environmental issues.
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Women

More women sought work, as most men at the time were unemployed. Emboldened by Eleanor Roosevelt. Accused of stealing jobs from men, which was not true. Many New Deal Programs allowed women to receive lower pays than men. They were better off after the New Deal, as women could now hold jobs in society, even though they faced discrimination.

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African Americans.

Last hired, first fired of the social groups in America. Black sharecroppers were forced off of the land in the South due to cutback production by the A.A.A. Jobless African Americans often didn't receive aid from local and state relief programs. Lynchings continued in the South, as racial tensions increased. Civil Rights leaders received little support from Roosevelt. President Roosevelt hired Mary McLeod Bethune and over 100 African Americans in middle-level positions in Federal Departments. Fought for improving education and economic opportunities for African Americans. F.E.P.C was an executive order to help assist minorities to get jobs in the defense industries. In 1939, Marian Anderson was supposed to play at the Congressional Hall, but was refused. Eleanor Roosevelt and the D.A.R allowed Marian Anderson to play at the Lincoln Memorial. They were better off after the New Deal Programs. While programs discriminated against the black community, they were less likely to be unemployed after the New Deal, and Roosevelt himself hired over 100 African Americans in middle-level positions in Federal Departments.
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Mexican Americans

High unemployment and drought caused whites to move to the West. Discrimination in the New Deal Programs and competition for jobs forced many Mexicans to move back to Mexico. They were better off before the New Deal Programs. The New Deal forced thousands of migrations back to Mexico due to it discriminating against the Mexican community.

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American Indians

Indians: John Collier created the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1933. Conservation and C.C.C projects could now start on reservations and gained American-Indian involvement in the W.P.A and other New Deal Programs. Congress repealed the Dawes Act of 1877, and replaced it with the Indian Reorganization Act. Returned lands to the control of tribes and supported the preservation of Indian Culture. They were better off after the New Deal Programs. The programs gave the Indians back their tribal land and involved them in modern politic affairs like the W.P.A.

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