The Struggles Of African-Americans During The Great Depression

It was very complicated for black people to survive alive between 1929-1939. They haven’t got a job or they had a very badly paid job. It was difficult to find a job for them because of the everyday violence and racism. They were starving and often became homeless. They had nothing so they were forced to steal time to time.

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This topic is inspired and also deriving from Bud, not Buddy book. The story is about a young orphan boy Bud and his adventurous way to find his father in Grand Rapids – Michigan. The story is based in times of The Great Depression. Bud’s experiences are an injustice, rejection, racism, suspicion, but also friendship, first kiss, hospitality and goodness of many people.

Black people faced many dangerous situations throughout African-American history. It was, for example, violence, theft, and homelessness. One of a typical kind of fight between whites and black was lynchings. Historians broadly agree that lynchings were a method of social and racial control meant to terrorize black Americans into submission, and into an inferior racial caste position.

Lynching would involve criminal accusations, often dubious, against a black American, an arrest, and the assembly of a “lynch mob” intent on subverting the normal constitutional judicial process. By 1932, approximately half of black Americans were out of work. Sometimes whites called for blacks to be fired from any jobs as long as there were whites out of work. Racial violence again became more common, especially in the South.

In the book was a situation when some of the people who jumped to the train to Chicago didn’t get there, they came back in the forest and cops start to shooting on them. Or when Amoses locked little Bud to the shed where were hornets, dark, without bed and food – to punish him for his behavior. But there was a true? They just didn’t trust a little orphan boy.

During the Great Depression, with much of the United States mired in grinding poverty and unemployment, some Americans found increased opportunities in criminal activities like robbing and sometimes even worse. People were starving, so they were forced to steal food. Children stole food right from the bin like Bud did when he was hungry. That is also only one thing in his life he stole from other people as he thought to himself when Mr. Calloway suspected that Bud is a thief.

Parents cannot take care of their kids so they sent them to work or steal fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs. Poor people didn’t steel just food but also other stuff, that is why Bud hold his suitcase all the time with him because he was scared of being robbed by somebody. And if he would lose his suitcase he loses everything – especially a flyer with details of his father – who became his grandpa after all. Or second occurrence when Mr. Calloway didn’t trust Bud and was too scared of being robbed by a little boy, or Amoses as well.

A big problem was also homelessness. Like the chapter in a book Bud, not Buddy, when Bud was on the lam, it means he had no home and he slept under the Christmas tree in front of the library. Millions of homeless people roamed the country. The crisis changed the company. Poor districts were created throughout the country, forming a tiny temporary housing. It was like homeless camps. They called them Hoovervilles. Bud and his friend Bugs traveled also to one of Hoovervilles. They mistakenly called it Hooperville. It was a place where they met a good and nice people. They helped him, get food and hope.

Several million ‘hobos’ or homeless people were traveling to America at that time. Many of these people were children or adolescents that families couldn’t take care of them. People had to limit some foods. They cooked a Hooverstew – a soup for the poor. There was a ‘shared food’ that was distributed to poorer families by volunteers.

There were children in orphanages, people were dying of malnutrition, and animals in the Zoo were shot to support the unemployed. Paper notes at that time lost value. They were made of money that did not exist, they were made of wood, fish skin, or shells, somewhere printed on paper as vouchers, somewhere right on the skin.

It’s difficult and almost impossible to imagine how severe was it for Bud as it is written in the story. He hasn’t got money, home, family, nothing except his suitcase.

But there is always hope. He met a lot of nice people, found his grandpa and made a lot of friends from the band and also found a home. Today we know a lot about a blacks history and African-American history as well thanks to people who survived, talked and wrote about it. Although it was not easy for them. Even today there are many cases of racial intolerance but not that much as it was during The Great Depression.

10 October 2020

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