For centuries, African Americans have struggled in society and even to survive in the United States, even when there is no crisis. The New Deal and the Depression combined to make life harder for African Americans, but also solved some problems and paved the way to integration in other ways.

Overall, the African Americans' unemployment rates were twice as bad as the common white men's unemployment rates. However, African Americans in the south were dealing with completely different things than those that lived in the north. Northern abiding African Americans were not hired often because jobs were saved for the whites, and they were the first ones fir
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A typical African American farmer in the south.
ed during the beginning of the crisis. In the south, African Americans still worked as sharecroppers and house servants, due to the Jim Crow Laws that held them back. Since there were so many without jobs, blacks and whites became desperately longing for the same jobs. This escalated discrimination all over the country.


As discrimination spread through the common people, it also occurred in the government. The New Deal was mainly hurtful to African Americans by offering whites the first pick of jobs, and saving jobs for blacks that had lower pay and were segregated. Also, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) didn't offer mortgage to blacks who tried to purchase a home in a mainly white neighborhood. Simply put, the government was more focused on giving jobs to whites. The Social Security Act of the New Deal banned jobs from blacks that they normally held, since whites were so desperate for any type of work. Most of these acts were taking place in the north. Southern blacks were being forced off their sharecropped land due to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. By keeping their land unplowed, white landlords made more money, so sharecroppers were not needed and forced off the land. (To learn more about the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, see Farm Programs). 100,000 blacks were forced from the land in the early 1930s. The African Americans did advance in government in some ways, however. A black teacher, Mary McLeod Bethune, was added to the advisory committee of the Nation Youth Administration, giving education for black children a boost. A few blacks were also appointed as advisers on the black affairs part of the New Deal. Although African Americans were being treated the same way they have also been, they were also breaking new ground.

The African Americans had much faith in Franklin D. Roosevelt; they hoped he could bring them out of poverty for good. Many blacks had been Republicans for Abraham Lincoln, but 75% of them shifted to the Democrat party because they believed Roosevelt's new ideas could help them. Unfortunately for them, the New Deal was not used to get rid of discrimination, it was often a big part of the New Deal. This was because Roosevelt's movements needed to be approved by Southern Democrats, who were the seniority in Congress. However, Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, did stand for civil rights. It is safe to say the Great Depression started a new beginning for the African Americans.