Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Effects of the Great Depression (2)

Shanty towns, or squatter communities dubbed as "Hoovervilles" during President Hoover's term in office composed of people evicted from their homes and farms were sprouting all over the United States. These individuals labeled (hobos) were forced to live a degraded existence among the piles of accumulated trash and public garbage dumps, waiting for the trucks, in hopes of finding scraps of food or something of value to sell. The poor and disposed would cook their meager portions of food in tin cans over open fires and cover themselves with newspapers displaying their Hoover shoes with holes in the soles. Their only scenery was one of dust in the summer, and mud in the winter breathing in the stench from trash and beyond unsanitary dilapidated outhouses.

The Years of the Great Depression

By April, 1930 there were 3,187,000 unemployed which increased to 4,000,000 by October, 1930. During this time the "Dust Bowl" a terrible drought devastated the Great Plains, causing much suffering in the area worsening the already farm situation. The depression and drought hit farmers on the Great Plains the hardest. Many of these farmers were forced to seek government assistance. Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi were the states most severely hit by the drought. Despite all efforts, almost a million farm families that lived in the worst-hit area amidst the unemployment, disease and diminishing food supply were forced to migrate to other states mostly out west in search of work. Intense conflicts would escalate between the new comers and the local residents in their fight for survival..

The people who migrated from the farms to the industrial cities in search of job opportunities, were surprised to find that the employment situation was not as good as they had anticipated , since one out of three workers were unemployed..

On December 11, 1930 the largest bank failure in the nation's history took place when the bank of the United States closed its doors in New York City. Almost 400,000 depositors were affected by the bank's collapse. On December 23-26, 1930 the Chelsea Bank and Trust Company, with six offices in the New York area, was forced to close. Three days later 20 small banks in six Southern and Midwestern states were also closed.

To be continued: The Effects of the Great Depression (3)

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