You are browsing the archive for NRA.

New Deal No Deal For Most African Americans

September 30, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, Political history, Social history

While reading Luther Adams’ article “Headed for Louisville” I was introduced to two topics rarely discussed in many historical lessons: the migration of African Americans within the south and the adverse affect of New Deal policies for most blacks.

When many people read about the “Great Migration” most think about the migration of African Americans from the South to the North, which did occur but why is the migration of southern blacks to other places withn the south widely ignored?  In his article Adams doesn’t offer a clear explanation to it, but he does mention the importance of a city such as Louisville had with African Americans.  “Indeed, many blacks migrated to Louisville from smaller towns within Kentucky; the city offered a variety of opportunites that did not exist anywhere else within the state”(Adams 11).  Louisville was a city within the south in which African Americans had more of a chance, although not much more, of better equality.  “Louisville has been called one of the most ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ cities on race relations in the south as well as a city with ‘southern racial traditions and a northern class dynamic'”(Adams 11).

Concerning the New Deal, however, is a topic that is not addressed enough.  Programs such as the AAA and the NRA which were meant to address social and financial crises confronting both blacks and whites proved to work negatively against most African Americans.  The AAA or Agricultural Administration Act which made farmers cut back acreage on their farms in order to receive a payout from the government which would raise crop production had the adverse affects on blacks.  Most White farmers woul dcut back the acreage of the sharecroppers first, who just happened to be black, and in turn would receive not only a check from the government, but also would not have African American sharecroppers on their land.  The NRA worked essentially in the smae way for urban African Americans.  Initially meant to create equal wages for both black and white employees, the NRA backfired in that white employers would fire black employees noting that “if they paid whites and blacks the same, what was the point of paying blacks?” (Adams).

This article goes into much more depth than the brief oversight that I’m giving it through this entry, but after reading it, it made me wonder how a person such as Mae Street Kidd was able to confront such issues, having lived through them in the majority of her youth.  Especially when she was not only African American, but a woman as well.  I think that it’s important to reflect on the significance of such events and realize that these occurances were, unfortunately, typical of the times.

Luther J. Adams, “Headed for Louisville”: Rethinking Rural to Urban Migration in the South, 1930-1950, J of Social History 40(Winter 2006), 407-430.

Skip to toolbar