The New Deal and African-Americans

This paper discusses the New Deal, a set of federal policies targeted at welfare relief and economic development during the administration President Franklin Roosevelt, and its effect on African-Americans.

This paper explains that the Roosevelts were promoters of human rights and racial equality; thus, part of the goal of the New Deal was to promote racial equality by creating federal agencies to help ease discrimination against African-Americans and to create economic opportunities for the advancement of black citizens. The author points out that, despite their status as free Americans and the general economic prosperity that occurred in the 1920s, African-Americans were still far from being treated as full citizens; therefore, for many black families in the 1930s, the difficulties spawned by the Great Depression magnified already existing forms of inequitable treatment. The paper concludes that, even though the promises of the New Deal engendered hope in the African-American population, which was desperate for social and political change, studies show that the New Deal fell far short of its goal of promoting racial equality.

Table of Contents
African Americans and the Depression
The Promises of the New Deal
After the New Deal
“This mass migration, however, led to growing racial tensions in the cities. Unemployed whites felt that they should have first priority for the few factory jobs that were available. Many desperate white workers also began taking jobs as janitors and street sweepers — positions that were formerly reserved for African Americans. This contributed further to the displacement of African Americans from the paid labor force. Furthermore, while limited financial aid was available, white families had priority for any unemployment assistance.”