8 Ways That Racism Made the Great Depression Worse for Black People

Black Lynchings

Black People Were Killed for Their Jobs

Jobs were, no doubt, scarce during the Great Depression (1929-1941). In some cases, whites killed Black employees in order to create jobs for unemployed whites. In fact, the Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, published by U.S. History in Context, elaborates on an instance in which white unionized workers along with railroad brotherhoods “intimidated, attacked and murdered [Black] firemen in order to take their jobs.” In addition, the number of Black people being lynched also rose.


Great Depression Unemployment Line Blacks Were Hired Last

With the entire nation suffering, white people were given the “Negro jobs” that they had previously deemed inferior. According to an article written by Lee Sustar, the labor editor of Socialist Worker and a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review, “Blacks faced unemployment of 50 percent or more, compared with about 30 percent for whites.” As it happens, a racist group, the Black Shirts, roamed Atlanta advocating the dismissal of Black workers as a means of hiring white workers. 

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