Gadsden: Stories of the Great Depression (Voices of America)
The 1930s were an unparalleled period in American history. Never before or since - and probably never again - has the gamut of human emotions swung so far, and so fast. On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and soon after, the nation of plenty was in turmoil and fast becoming a wasteland. No sacred institution was left untouched; banks failed, factories shut down, stores closed, and almost every business seemed paralyzed with economic stagnation. A generation raised in these conditions could not help but be changed by such foreboding circumstances. It was a period in which new trends of thought emerged in economic matters, social activity, and moral conduct - all leaving the pockmark of progress upon the nation's young. This book presents a revealing portrait of one man's life during the Depression. His particular story is derived from a specific location in the state of Alabama; however, it is an intimately familiar tale to anyone who survived that horrible economic period, and to younger generations who have allowed the stories to endure in their family lore.
happy sounds of kids having a good time. Although occasionally there might be a few complaints from an “old grouch” about the noise, it was never too bad. At that time, mothers would start calling the youngest boys in to bed around 8:30 p.m. Most didn’t mind, however, because they knew that the next night they would be able to do it all over again. Marbles In the 1930s, marbles was a game played mostly at school during recess and lunch. The school playground provided an ideal field because it
sacrifice strengthened the national character and, in the process, built a better society for everyone in the generations to follow. This strike occurred at the Republic Steel Corporation. UNIONS The 1930s brought about a revolution in the labor movement. Until that time, labor was represented by the American Federation of Labor and was organized by specific crafts. These included skilled workers like brickmasons, carpenters, barbers, electricians, and machinists. In 1935, Congress passed the
effective air-conditioning and heating provided real relief from the weather. In those days, before a house became its own temperate environment regardless of the season, nature ruled supreme. The best most people could hope for was a change in the natural weather—either warmer in winter or cooler in summer. This flour sifter sits inside a kitchen cabinet of the 1930s. THE KITCHEN By today’s standards, the kitchen of the 1930s was a primitive arrangement. “Mother was fortunate enough to have
beneath the icebox and, if it wasn’t emptied frequently, would overflow. When the pan overflowed, a small stream of water could be seen coming from under the icebox. Then as the pan was pulled out a bigger mess was made, as even more water sloshed out. About twice a week the iceman would supply the family with a block of ice. As he approached, there was a bell on his truck he would clang to let his customers know he was near. A family would then quickly check their supply to determine how much
coming of the ice truck surprisingly served another purpose. It became a signal for the neighborhood kids to come running, because sometimes the iceman would give them a small piece of ice to eat. Another necessity in the kitchen was a cabinet with a small working area off to the side, used in mixing dough for biscuits, cakes, and cornbread. Inside, behind swinging doors, was a storage space for meal and spices; as well as a separate compartment for flour, which included a sifter. Sitting in a