A Reflection Of The Treatment Of African Americans In The 1920's And 30's

1818 words - 7 pages

In the time between World War I and World War II, African Americans faced many forms of discrimination. After World War I, during the 1920's, some 800,000 African Americans moved north to cities such as Detroit, New York City and Chicago due to the harsh treatment they faced in the South. However, the North was not free of bigotry. Langston Hughes, a famous African American poet and author, wrote many poems describing the treatment of African Americans and their struggle to survive. Hughes' poems reflect the treatment of African Americans in the 1920's and 30's in a very realistic manner regarding: education, housing, and racist organizations.

During the 1920's and 30's educational opportunities for African Americans were becoming more available than ever before. Between 1915 and 1930, "hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved northward" due to "job opportunities and the prospect of higher wages" (Boyer, 1995, 603). In Northern cities, the economic and educational opportunities were greater than in the South. "African Americans went to the North with great hope. But for many, life in the North proved harsh" (Boyer, 1995, 604). However, during the 1920's and 30's, the rural South was tainted with hatred toward African Americans. Many of the white residents still saw African Americans as slaves and not as equals. They believed they were `superior' because they were white. In the North, education was required to maintain jobs. Despite the racism African Americans faced, they had a better chance of getting education in the north than in the south. With the Great Depression weighing down the economy, and president Hoover's "idea that success comes through individual effort and private enterprise" there was a great deal of discontentment in the United States. When Election Day came the democratic candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the election. His plan to restore America to economic stability was an `alphabet soup' of programs known as the New Deal. It brought upon organizations such as the National Youth Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The NYA and the CCC enabled black youths to continue their education. The National Youth Administration helped them by "[giving] young people part time jobs that provided money to help them stay in school" (Boyer, 1995, 702). Also, "some 200,000 young black men flocked to the CCC, where they found work and training" (Boyer, 1995, 708). Although African Americans had work and training available to them, they were "strictly segregated from the whites" (Boyer, 1995, 708). With the help of the CCC, NYA and other programs brought on by the New Deal, more educational opportunities were opened unto African Americans than ever before.

Also, during this time period, discrimination towards African Americans in relation to housing was common. African Americans were confined mainly to overcrowded and...

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