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Anguish in The Great Depression 1930's Vol.II

Updated on May 20, 2013


Everyone had their role to play in the great depression, whether it was a mother, a father, or a child. Most mothers would be responsible for holding the family together, through comfort, strength, and being the financial supporter. Many women did not believe, in working for a living. But when the depression hit, that notion went with it. Many women took job's, to help their husbands that had been laid off. Women who had previously worked for the labor force, before having a family, would be more likely than others, to find a job, although this did not necessary mean that you would survive. Many of the jobs that women got offered, would consist of, developing toys, sewing, nurses aid, and sometimes even being a daughter of the night. Although most of these jobs, would pay no more than $5.00 a week, in 1930s wages. Which in today's society would be roughly around $85.00, to $87.00 . Women workers, faced heavy discrimination and discouragements during the great depression, for two different reasons. The first one, was due to male beliefs that women, were stealing their jobs, or showing them down in the job market. The second reason, had come from Better Homes and Gardens, when they distinctly said " The mothers role is to stay home, and take care of the family. A mother can not manage both a job, and family".


During the Great Depression, many things became rather unaffordable, clothing being one. Mothers would mend the wholes in clothing, barter with others for certain sizes, or make it themselves. Although fabric was very expensive many women, would be able to afford potato, rice, or feed bags, which were typically sold for ten cents. These bags would be turned into clothing, blankets, coats, and other fabric needs. This would allow the children to have proper clothing to attend school, although during the 1930's, most schools had gone through great hardships. The kind of hardships that would close down most schools, or at least cut the amount of teachers. This was partly caused, by not having enough funding, or inadequate pay, do to people not affording to pay taxes. Thorough out the great plains, it would not be uncommon to see a one room school-house, that had a very young teacher, teaching all grades, or to see shut down schools. During the great depression, the London school district in Texas, was one of the richest, school districts in America. Do to finding oil in Rusk county Texas, which sent the economy of Texas into full throttle, along with the education. One of the schools that had benefited from this, was the London School, in New London Texas. The schools construction occurred in 1932, this would be one of the first schools built of steel, and concrete. The land that the school had sat upon, was sloping,and had a lift of dead air space underneath of the structure. The architect had already drawn up blue prints, to use a boiler system, do to the lift of the school. But the school board would disregard the advice, and had decided to use 72-gas heaters, throughout the building, instead. In 1937, to save money, the school board had decided to tap into Parade Gasoline Company's residue gas line. This practice was never authorized by the local oil companies, nor was the oil clean, but in the form of waste oil. This waste oil had no volume or density, which meant that at any second, a large amount of oil could be released into the school. This was a terrible, fearful ordeal, considering this form of oil was colorless and odorless, which meant there was no way to predict if there was a leak in the line. For weeks students had complained about getting headaches, but no one would listen to these complaints. But there had been a leak and no one noticed, then one day a spark had hit the oil causing a fire to burst the school into flames, some say they could see the school lift, in the air. while others said it immediately smashed to the ground. Others said they could hear and see the blast four miles away. This disaster took 295 life's of students, and teachers.


In many cases parents could not afford, to take care of the children, and had to send them out on their own. Most of these children, would ride the depression away on box-cars, and trains. Looking for a place to spend the nigh,t and get a meal. But when Roosevelt entered office, he would set up the New Deal, which would benefit most of these lost people, and offer them away out. The New Deal, which included Emergency Conservation Work Act, (E.C.W), or commonly known as, Civilian Conservation Corps, (C.C.C.) This act allowed young men, to take part in saving the environment. Most young men, would be in charge of renewing the forest, by replanting billions of trees. During the years of the dust bowl, the trees would be beneficial to cutting the wind, there by reducing the dust. This job would have simple, although strict regulations of who would be able to work. These rules were mandatory for everyone wanting to work, these rules were: Every worker has a born U.S. Citizenship only, All wishing to work must go through a mandatory Sound physical fitness, All wishing to work had unemployed, unmarried, and between 18-26 years of age. Young men would flock, to fill these positions. Which pleased many politicians, do to reducing over 55% of unwanted crimes. Men got paid thirty dollars a month, with mandatory twenty-five dollars allotment checks sent to the families of the men, which made life easier for those at home. Camps where set up, all around America, as well as Hawaii, Alaska, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The C.C.C., was primarily focused upon improving millions of acres of federal and state land. As well as building fire-towers to over look the forest. Paving emergency roads, for fire escape. Establishing Camps, agriculture, shelters, swimming pools, picnic shelters, and restrooms. In 1938, many men would be recruited for flood help in Vermont, and New York.


While for others, the great depression, was the most fearing time, in the early 1900's which caused thousands of individual's, to lose all financial assets to the crash of the stock market. This meant that lower, and middle class individual's would no longer be able to spend money on unnecessary goods, or lecture items. This would be the downfall, of employment, and would send, over 15 million individual's into unemployment. The 1920's would not leave, with the excitement, and joyful spirits that were felt throughout the year. But it would be embarking into a time, of great fear, disparity, and pride in there pockets. Many had tried to turn to the government, but Herbert Hoover gave no remorse. Although this would not change people's beliefs, that the government should help. But Hoover refused to even touch the idea. So all that had occurred, was times got tougher, and the depression worsened. Millions would lose everything, jobs, pride, self-esteem, assets, and even there homes. With nowhere to turn, millions would turn to family for a place to stay, but even the homes would soon be taken. Desperate for shelter, homeless citizens would build shantytowns, all across the nation. These towns would be known as Hooverville's, after president Herbert Hoover. These Hooverville's would consist of a card board installation, with wood from old fruit boxes as walls. Then to make them waterproof, they would take tar paper, and wrap the outsides. Although others would be less glamorous and be nothing more than a cardboard box. While others where more glamorous, being built by laid-of masons.


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      Binoy 3 years ago

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      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent historical Hub, TFox62. Women played a major role in keeping the family afloat during horrible economic times just as they have during our current downturn. My grandmother on my father's side had to assume this role due to the death from tuberculosis of my grandfather in 1932. She did so admirably. These women were heroes in keeping families together and ensuring that their children received the support they needed during this incredibly trying time.