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Surviving The Great Depression

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The nation was growing up. Movies were starting to show more violence and sexuality. Women were coming out of their shell so to speak. They were starting to dress and act much differently than ever before. Women were now showing a side that was not ever seen before in film. Such stars of the 1930's Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Bette Davis appeared self confident and sexy. Before this women were seen as housewives and not much more. Even outside of movies women were seeking much more independence. They were now looking for things other than the perfect man. They wanted jobs, but there just wasn't enough to go around.

Unemployment plagued America throughout the 1930's. The stock market crash of 1929 changed the lives of Americans forever. This began the era that we know as The Great Depression. Within three years the low wages that Americans had been receiving just was not cutting it. Unemployment was reaching record numbers. It was 50 percent or more in many places. There simply were not enough jobs or money to go around. Depression was becoming a way of life. People were living out of their cars, cardboard boxes and moving in with relatives that were slightly luckier than they were.

Many men were faced with terrible depression. Families that were economically and socially dependent on their husbands' jobs were devastated. Men just could not find jobs. They stood outside of the unemployment office day after day asking for work but there just wasn't enough to go around. Because of this many men felt extremely depressed. Some men left home, others turned to violence beating their wives, and some even killed themselves.

The depression was not just affecting white but blacks had things even harder. Black women who have been working much longer than white women now couldn't even find jobs. Black women dominated the field of domestic labor. Many worked in private households doing cooking, cleaning and other household duties. But many blacks weren't this lucky. They were discriminated from many relief programs.

To try and combat this depression president Franklin D. Roosevelt created something called the New Deal. This new deal was a series of programs that were geared to recovery and reform of the nation. Through the new deal the government became responsible for regulation of the economy. They also began to recognize the needs of poor families unable to support themselves giving them government support. Because of this people loved FDR. One woman wrote him a poem written in block letters. "I THINK THAT WE SHALL NEVER SEE / A PRESIDENT LIKE UNTO THEE . . . POEMS ARE MADE BY FOOLS LIKE ME, / BUT GOD, I THINK, MADE FRANKLIN D."

After the new deal while the nation was struggling to get itself out of this depression social welfare was the top topic of American politics. Famous women saw themselves as social workers, such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Until Eleanor has spoken up for women their place in the New Deal had been overlooked. She had always been outspoken in politics next to her husband but after an affair that he had they had become political partners instead of the traditional man and wife. She began to gain publicity for groups of unemployed, blacks, and women's rights.

Another powerful woman of this time period is Molly Dewson. She was a veteran of the National Consumers' League and also a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as head of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. She organized parties through



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