Boom to Bust - Continuity & Change By Tiffany Le


Women and African Americans - 1920s

Looking into the 20s, it marked a new era for women to expand what's possible outside working in the household such as by having opportunities to work in factories and being paid. The 1920s has seen women prevail in the workplace, where millions of women were being welcomed to be employed in factories and many new industrial opportunities ushered in. As the labor force expanded far and wide, so did mass-production of consumer goods and the means to advertise consumers to buy these products. With the adoption of a consumer oriented economy and advertisement, many Americans became eagerly ingrained to buying an overabundance of products they could not afford, and the ongoing cycle was made possible by credit or buying on credit. People could have ownership of the product, but over a period of time, the smaller payments add up to its full price. Speaking of the economy, the investment in stock increased at an incalculable rate. Many stockholders were at huge success as corporations prospered, . This decade was known as the "Roaring Twenties", but the "roar" and prosperity only barely reached forty percent of the population from the countryside which was an agricultural based economy. In the agricultural sector, farmers endeavored numerous difficulties since the end of World War I. Farmers had been overproducing since, and this became the groundwork for the burden to follow through the decade when overseas demand dropped sharply, which also drove the price of farm products very low; meaning a majority of farmers were struggling, already. African American sharecroppers, also from the agricultural sector, were earning a low-income as they had to pay additional costs to sell crops.

This photo was taken in the 1920s, where many the women were workforce, especially in factories. Many women during the twenties were being employed in factories and new opportunities expanded what's possible outside the household.


Women - 1929/1930s

The ongoing "prosperity" came to full closure in October 1929 when the economy had entered into a to the billions lost to the collapse of the stock market, which sent Wall Street Americans into a panic and wiped out millions of investors in stock. following the consumer oriented economy adopted in the 20s, which encouraged consumers to buy on credit (accumulated debt), bank failures, which diminished savings deposited in banks and contributed greatly to the financial crisis thousands of families were facing; this event was known the Great Depression. All in all, the economy was dipped heavily in a downfall, and it became an even bigger endeavor for Americans when buying power slowed down making factory owners forced to lay off workers, and women were put on a pedestal for the first choice to be laid off. Due to this, many women became unemployed and those were forced to work in the household. At the same time, women were also at an advantage when the depression hit because of the fields they are mainly employed under. A usual male’s work would be under the industrial and stock market which was where the depression hit significantly, a smaller number of women workers were employed under male-dominated fields, which gave men quite a disadvantage as they were being laid off or received a pay-cut wage to keep the job. Overtime, this accumulated to hundreds of thousands jobless Americans, both men and women, across the nation. In response, President Herbert Hoover, tried to remedy these economic problems mainly using private assistance and charities such as giving money to the churches and other small private organizations. He believed this indirect approach would fuel the economy. But, these remedies were too small while the crisis was too extreme for recovery to be produced. It was not until Franklin D. Roosevelt been elected that the economy began running again. Franklin D. Roosevelt believed in a lot of government assistance and promised Americans for a "New Deal." The New Deal was to provide relief, recovery and reform and did. But, it was not until the Second World War that fully brang the U.S. our of the Great Depression.

Females were protesting in cities to fight for jobless citizens, both mean and women, to become employed again. During the thirties, women were being laid off and many other feminist issues arrose.
A lot of both white and African American men, worked in a chemistry factory. African Americans moved to northern cities to seek new opportunities, they did , but blacks were often paid less.


African Americans - 1930s

Meanwhile, about twenty five to thirty percent of the U.S. population, farmers and sharecroppers from the countryside, were experiencing unimaginable difficulties in the agricultural sector. One major economic calamity/disaster in the United States that promoted a majority of these difficulties were from an ecological disaster consisting series of dust storms that hit the Great Plains area. Many families packed their belongings and made their new beginning towards the Pacific Coast in hope to seek new opportunities. Unfortunately, it was just as bleak as where they came from. There was a severe unemployment in states like California and families resigned to migrant camps, which were unsanitary. In addition to the migration, riding on the rails were also very common, where people who hop onto trans and wander the country to seek new opportunities. But, at about every corner of the U.S. was just hopeless. Police officers then would arrest people who arrived to a stop that were riding on the rails. As for sharecroppers, cotton prices dropped sharply, further fueling the difficulties from low income earned by African American sharecroppers from additional costs for selling and growing cotton and crops on a plantation. Unable to pay back loans, sharecroppers' leases were ceased and were evicted from their plantation. As in the north, African Americans also became the first to be laid off from their jobs and a numerous amount of black businesses failed. .

Many African American businesses failed in the 1930s, this man was one of the victims of black business failure.


Women and African Americans - 1920s

The city life in the 1920s was a time for young people to have fun. The youth enjoyed the prosperity while in rural America, many farming and sharecropping families were facing many financial problems throughout the 1920s.

Two high-class young women from urban America are using sitting by an automobile. Many people often enjoyed the prosperity.


Women - 1930s

Although this decade was a personal tragedy for many Americans, people started ... to this poor lifestyle. Poor Americans, in desperate need of money, opened soup kitchens in cities. Also in cities, poor neighborhoods called "Hoovervilles" made from makeshift scrap metal, wood, and other materials were established for those sold their home or were severely poor.

Often times, the “poor man's divorce” option was chosen by the man of the household, where unemployed men found themselves at a disability to provide for their family or abandoned their family without a qualified divorce. Divorce rates skyrocketed, and this meant women, a majority unemployed, needed to take care of their children and themselves without having reach to any financial resources. Women coming from the middle, working class and poor endeavored to get by poverty, starvation, and to provide the basic necessities such as shelter and clothing. Adapting to a poor and minimal lifestyle, women learned to cope with their day to day struggles from a wide and clever range of how to "made do." On the contrary, wealthy individuals were not touched the equal volume in comparison to the suffering of others, they felt minimal or no impact.

Since there was a substantial amount of unemployment among men, they often resorted to divorce or abandoning their families from feeling the disability to provide for their families. This sign reads, "Jobless mean keep going", to encourage unemployed husbands to continue helping out with their families.
A mother and her six children live in poverty, but avoid loosing their home, unlike many other mothers caring for their children without a husband. Many women were unemployed, including their husbands, many of which had a divorce or abandoned their families.
A large African American family is displayed in a neighborhood called a "ghetto." Ghettos were black neighborhoods established due to the segregation African Americans faced in northern cities.


African Americans - 1930s

About in any corner of the United States, African Americans faced hatred and discrimination from whites either it was in the workplace or in public, north or south, it was bleak. Northern African Americans African Americans were often offered little opportunities in comparison to whites, and if they were employed, were often payed less. It was just like In addition, the circulation of discrimination in the north often times led whites to act violently against African Americans. Lynching remained common and legal in the 30s. On the other hand, in rural America, sharecropping families

This is a sharecropping family in the 1930s who were lucky enough to still be living in a home, as many sharecropping families were forced off their lands because sharecroppers were unable to pay loans.


Women and African Americans - 1920s

In the 1920s, young urban dwellers established a new way of thinking and living as the morals of the past generation were forgotten. Urban America consisted of modernists, the youth who embraced the new culture and styles. From these new values and morals, the city life mainly consisted of going to speakeasies, parties, clubs, etc. and people had a sense of taking risks and having fun. The cities were also a place for young women to break away from society's views which were to work at home. The "new woman" image was created, where the traditional woman was replaced with Young couples would often participate in dance competitions, where the longest dancing couple would be prized, flagpole sitting, and more. Modernists often enjoyed drinking alcohol but were discontent and felt violated when laws were created to regulate drinking. The 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was passed in 1919 to ban the consumption, production, and sale of alcohol, but it played a minor role in preventing people to stop. Resistance against Prohibition mainly from the cities were rising and Prohibition was one of the main sources for breeding crime such as transporting and selling alcohol, bootlegging, promoted people to take risks and attend speakeasies, and also for murder.

This photos clearly expresses a sense of having fun and celebrating, depicting the everyday moments in the city life of young women. Here, a group of younger and older women are happily dancing to the music.
Young couples, as shown in this photo taken in the 1920s, would often join dance competitions held to prize the longest time a couple dances. People living in cities would also participate in other competitions such as flagpole sitting.


Women - 1930s

The Great Depression was a highly influential on the economy and government in U.S. history, in spite of that, it was also a decade long personal tragedy for millions of Americans. Many Americans needed a solace escape from the harsh realities, and the era gave a rise to the widespread popularity of films, novels, and the use of the radio and Americans did not need to go out and spend time having fun. As mentioned, films became very popular, on average, every men watched one film each week. In addition, radios became a necessity for families to have to be able to tune into soap operas, shows, dramas, music, fireside chats, religious programs and much more. Another form of entertainment that became popular in the 30s were novels, it could have been comedic or even go as far as to address the problems nationwide Americans were facing. Meanwhile, many middle, working and low class struggled to take care of their children either could or could not have leisure time to spare.

A mother is holding a young child in her arm with two of her children laying beside her. The facial expression of the mother depicts the life of other middle, working class, or poor mother, that they lived a devastating time taking care of their children.
Since the creation of jazz in the 1920s, it became a "big hit" among African Americans and white Americans and was enjoyed by many. A musician is playing in a club for an audience mainly consisting of African Americans, but also whites.


African Americans - 1930s

African Americans, who were in a time of misery during the 30s, turned to music as a solace escape and to the remedy the suffering of the harsh realities and everyday struggles. Styles of music including jazz remained its popular throughout the 1930s and also swing dancing which was coupled with jazz in the 20s. Jazz always lifted the spirits and raised the American people out of their difficulties. But, after turning off the music and stopping the dancing, the misery African Americans faced, unfortunately, remained.

A young African American women was listening to music, not as something to dance and listen to, but as a solace escape from the harsh realities of the Great Depression. Many African Americans continued listening to music in the 30s, including jazz, for the same purpose.


Women and African Americans - 1920s

The three republican presidents of the 1920s were not intricately involved in its citizens well-being. The government were indirect specifically women, but the 18th Amendment, Prohibition, did of course apply to everyone. Although, blue laws, which were imposed by traditionalists towards young women, only to regulate the extent of change. On the other hand, while African Americans were facing hatred, segregation, and violence from whites, the government still allowed for those to happen to blacks.

A policeman checks the length two young women's bathing suits in this photo taken in the 1920s. The Blue Laws were strict upon
In this photo, Eleanor Roosevelt and a group of female reporters gathered for a press conference which was exclusively held for women.
The banner reads, "A man was lynched yesterday", meant to present information in a straight-forward way, but really crafts the conclusion that the government is doing very little to prevent the lynching of African Americans. That their role was not utilized to ensure the safety and well-being of African Americans.
This is a photo of the "Black Cabinet", which was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s.


Women and African Americans - 1930s

With dwindling optimism and confidence, Americans, including those of different race of the majority, began to halt the way they see the role of government seeking to blossom out of country’s economic woes and elected democrat, Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the country’s new leader in order to lead and bring attentive relief to the ”American people” with a promise of a “New Deal.” During President Herbert Hoover's presidency, many Americans did not see his lack of leadership as a cause of the depression and resigned to self-reliance, but overtime, they thought the government should be intricately invloved. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was a candidate, they American people responded with optimism and hope as Franklin D. Roosevelt reassured Americans about how he will utilize his role to bring the country out of its depression with the New Deal. This role of government not only expanded its power far and wide, but people began to look to the government, like Franklin D. Roosevelt as something to forward to for help. First lady, Eleanor Roosevelt also helped advance women's rights by trying to push for more women to be appointed in government positions and holding press conferences exclusively for female reporters. A majority of the vote were from African Americans for change, but Franklin D. Roosevelt did not make a substantial amount of change with the New Deal that made blacks received less financial aid less hired often, paid less. Franklin D. Roosevelt's role changed the way Americans saw the government in American history.

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