Discrimination In The 1930s Essay

862 Words4 Pages
For all Americans, the 1930s were dark and difficult times. Following the stock market crash of 1929, the United States entered a long period of economic recession, known as the Great Depression. Although all social groups were affected by this catastrophe, none was as acutely damaged as the African-American population, which had already been facing widespread racial discrimination at that time. At the same time, many basic rights such as black suffrage were incomplete, with laws in many southern states (where the majority of the African-Americans lived) made voting nearly impossible for the vast majority. This caused severe underrepresentation within the U.S. government for African-American and fueled the rampant segregation and racial…show more content…
Following the 1896 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Plessey v. Ferguson, the ‘separate but equal’ rule for segregation in various public facilities was established. In the ‘separate but equal’ philosophy, public facilities that were separated between races but were of equal quality for all, did not violate the fourteenth amendment of the U.S. constitution. However, it the south during the 1930s, ‘separate but unequal’ conditions loomed overhead like a dark cloud. In workplaces, blatant discrimination was the norm; for example, in the Works Progress Administration, one of the largest parts of the New Deal, out of over 10,000 supervisors hired in the south, only 11 were African-American. (Greenberg, 2009, p. 60) schools were also segregated, a system which only ended after Brown v. Board of Education, another landmark Supreme Court decision, in 1954. In the period from 1932-1936, the pay ratio for White and African-American teachers was approximately 2:1, showing the obvious difference in school quality for the two races. (Card & Krueger, 1992, p. 168) In South Carolina in 1930, the teacher-to-student ratio of colored schools was about 45:1, while the same in white schools was approximately 29:1, also showing a clear disparity. (Card & Krueger, 1992, p. 172) Segregation had also seeped into housing, in the south during the 1930s. Although the 1917 Supreme Court decision of Buchanan v. Warley ruled that ordinances for residential segregation were unconstitutional, white landowners began using formal deeds known as restrictive covenants to keep property from entering the hands of African-Americans. Those who violated these deeds were subject to lawsuits claiming damages from their neighbors. This practice remained widespread until the 1948, when another Supreme Court decision ruled that the practice was unconstitutional, in Shelley v. Kramer. (National Park Service, n.d.) In this
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