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United We Eat (1934)

Article written by John S. Gambs, Survey Graphic, 1934. “In this fashion, carrying on their banners the device used by men in the Continental Navy—-the coiled rattlesnake and the militant words, Don’t Tread on Me—thousands of men and women are protesting the inadequacies of unemployment relief.”Continue Reading »

Indians At Work (1934)

And suddenly the Navajos have been faced with a crisis which in some aspects is nothing less than a head-on collision between immediate advantages, sentiments, beliefs, affections and previously accepted preachments, as one colliding mass, and physical and statistical facts as the other….The crisis consists in the fact that the soil of the Navajo reservation is hurriedly being washed away into the Colorado river. The collision consists in the fact that the entire complex and momentum of Navajo life must be radically and swiftly changed to a new direction and in part must be totally reversed. …And the changes must be made—if made at all—through the choice of the Navajos themselves; a choice requiring to be renewed through months and years, with increasing sacrifices for necessarily remote and hypothetical returns, and with a hundred difficult technical applications.Continue Reading »

Health Conservation and WPA (1939)

The following address was delivered by Mrs. Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner, Work Projects Administration. “In our WPA project work, we have come to grips with the problem of public health on a number of important fronts…we are not just talking about the need for better sanitation the need for more medical, dental and nursing service, the need of school children for hot, well-balanced lunches, the need of home visits to underprivileged families in time of illness…We’re…doing something about them.”Continue Reading »

Women and the Vote

Women are thinking and that is the first step toward an increased and more intelligent use of the ballot. Then they will demand of their political parties clear statements of principles and they will scrutinize their party’s candidates, watch their records, listen to their promises and expect them to live up to them and to have their party’s backing, and occasionally when the need arises, women will reject their party and its candidates. This will not be disloyalty but will show that as members of a party they are loyal first to the fine things for which the party stands and when it rejects those things or forgets the legitimate objects for which political parties exist, then as a party it cannot command the honest loyalty of its members.Continue Reading »

Company Unions and the American Federation of Labor (AFL)

Article by Louis Adamic, The Nation, 1934. “In brief, the A. F. of L. union skates are utilizing, exploiting the workers’ hate for company unions, stirring and intensifying it, focusing their thoughts and feelings on the company-union evil, exaggerating the power of company unionism, in order to keep them blind to the faults and shortcomings of the A. F. of L. organizations.”Continue Reading »

Flint Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937)

The Flint Sit-Down Strike is known as the most important strike in American history because it changed the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from a collection of isolated individuals into a major union, ultimately leading to the unionization of the United States automobile industry.Continue Reading »

Flint Faces Civil War: 1937

Article by Charles R. Walker, The Nation, 1937. “‘We’ll stay in till they carry us out on stretchers,’ is the message sent out by the sitdowners in Fisher 2. ‘We’d rather die than give up.'” Continue Reading »

That “One Third of a Nation” (1940)

Article by Edith Elmer Wood, appearing in Survey Graphic, 1940. “Equal opportunity which lies at the heart of democracy implies for every man, woman and child at least a sporting chance to attain health, decency and a normal family life. It was because the cards were stacked against a third of the nation that there had to be a new deal in housing.”Continue Reading »

The Detroit Strike (1933)

Article by Samuel Romer, The Nation, 1933. “…There were only about 450 men working in the plant then–but every one of them put away his tools and walked out. So began the first major labor struggle in Detroit since the period immediately following the war.”Continue Reading »

Report from Flint, Michigan, November 30, 1934

What to me was of outstanding interest here is the way the unemployed are behaving about relief. The workers on the whole are “hard babies,” the living conditions are bad, the struggle for existence has been terrible even before the depression, but the place is to a certain extent a yardstick of behavior in depressed, deflated conditions….I spent a day visiting homes with investigators. They tell me that relief is actually raising standards in some of these shack lives. One of the leading doctors told me that medical care in the City was now better than it had ever been before. In the homes that I visited less than 25 per cent were “unemployables.” All, except a very few, asked for clothing or other articles such as a new stove, that neighbors had received from relief. I certainly had a feeling that few would choose to stay on relief but there was little feeling that it was a painful process to ask for relief.Continue Reading »

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