Hard Times: An Oral History Of The Great Depression

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HIS 109 004 3/21/13 The Great Depression in America lasted from 1930-1940. It was devastating to America. It was the biggest stock market crash that America had ever seen. The Great Depression caused unemployment in The United States to drastically sky rocket. Inflation stood at its highest, living became its hardest. Many countries were affected by The Great Depression, as well as many different people. Some people were hit hard; some people were not even affected. Studs Terkel, author of “Hard Times: An Oral History Of The Great Depression”, interviews many people in his fascinating book, people of different classes; low, to middle, to high class. Terkel interviews people of many different races as well; from white, black, chinese. He…show more content…
So when The Great Depression hit America, along with everyone else, everybody felt the conditions made by the Depression. Clifford Burke, an African-American pensioner, stated, “The negro was born in depression. It didn’t mean too much to him… There was no such thing.” He would go on to say, “It [The Great Depression] only became official when it hit the white man.”(82). A few pages down Robert Langston, an African-American social worker and jazz musician, makes a similar statement when he says, “It was the Depression because no white and no blacks were working. The whites not working made it official.” (90). Burke is saying that The Great Depression didn’t hit home until it affected the white people. And the fact that no white people and as well as no black people were working made African-Americans view The Great Depression as being equal with Caucasians. African-Americans were used to these Depression conditions. Clifford Burke made the remark that their wives would go to the store and get beans and a big piece of meat to cook for dinner and the white man could not do this, if he were to bring back the same items his wife would threaten to leave him. (83). Clifford Burke said, “They [white people] weren’t able to live up to the standards they were accustomed to…” (83). Meaning that white people could not achieve the living conditions they had once had during a pre-depression state. African-Americans view themselves nearly as equal to whites during The Great Depression because the white men were bring home the exact items that they were bringing
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