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The First Step Toward Fitness

When America began to recover from the Great Depression, it began to take stock of its human resources. We found that a large minority of our population did not get enough to eat. These people who did not get enough to at were below par in health. They were below par in initiative and alertness.Continue Reading »

Harlem: Dark Weather-Vane

The Harlem riot of 1935, now the subject of a comprehensive report, demonstrated that “the Negro is not merely the man who shouldn’t be forgotten; he is the man who cannot safely be ignored.” Alain Locke, early interpreter of the New Harlem in a special issue of Survey Graphic, here pictures the Harlem of hard timesContinue Reading »

The Job Ahead

A call to action—and a program. An epochal statement.—by the Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service in July 1941.Continue Reading »

Book Relief in Mississippi

Article by Beatrice Sawyer Rossell, Editor, Bulletin of the American Library Association, appearing in The Survey, 1935. “‘The people are book hungry,’ said one of the librarians who has a reading-room in her home. ‘A little boy knocked at my door at six o’clock in the morning to borrow The Dutch Twins. I passed a house the other day where a little girl was sitting on the porch reading aloud to her family of five people, not one of whom could read. An old man who was once a school teacher and a young girl who loves reading are each walking miles carrying books to share with people who otherwise would be without them.'”Continue Reading »

Berry Picking and Relief (1935)

Public relief affords no real security. The family on relief cannot meet its actual minimum needs. If private employment can offer more, we send it men. But we can hardly abandon our people to industry or agriculture which offers them less than relief. Employers will have no difficulty in getting or keeping labor if they can guarantee a certain and adequate wage and decent conditions. The relief client and his family are not lolling on the fat of the land on $7.50 a week.Continue Reading »

New Floors and Ceilings in the Minimum Wage: 1939

“The Wage and Hour Administration Reaches a Second Stage” by Beulah Amidon, an article in Survey Graphic, December, 1939Continue Reading »

Are We Checking the Great Plague?

Article written by R. A. Vonderlehr, M.D., appearing in Survey Graphic, 1940. “A little less than four years ago Surgeon General Thomas Parran launched the present campaign against syphilis…The battle has since been waged continuously with the cooperation of the medical profession, health officers, and voluntary agencies all over the country. It is of interest to pause briefly and take stock.”Continue Reading »

American Youth Congress

The student movements of the Depression era were arguably the most significant mobilizations of youth-based political activity in American history prior to the late 1960s. In 1934 the American Youth Congress (AYC) came together as the national federation and lobbying arm of the movement as a whole.Continue Reading »

City Diets and Democracy

The proportion of our children who are found in families without adequate nutrition should be a matter of grave concern to all of us. A Bureau of Labor Statistics’ study of employed wage earners and clerical workers shows that more than 40 percent of the children in this relatively favored group live in families whose incomes are below the level necessary to provide adequate food, as well as suitable housing, clothing, medical care, personal care, union dues, carfare, newspapers, and the other sorts of recreation for which city families must pay in dollars and cents. Continue Reading »

Schools for a Minority

Article written by Gould Beech, appearing in Survey Graphic, 1939. “…it was ‘too great a compliment to attribute to the Negro child the ability to gain equal education for one dollar to every seven spent on the education of the white child…’ And yet even against such handicaps, the Negro race has advanced in little more than three generations from 80 percent illiterate to better than 80 percent literate—a heartening measure of capacity to make bricks with such straw as there is.Continue Reading »

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