Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era

Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era

Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era

Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era

Synopsis

In the 1930s and 1940s, a loose alliance of blacks and whites, individuals and organizations, came together to offer a potent alternative to southern conservative politics. Days of Hope traces the rise and fall of this movement that helped shape the struggle for racial democracy in America.

Excerpt

[With the depression and the New Deal] there came unemployment and relief . . . [and] a direct connection between politics and industry, between government and work, between voting and wages, such as the South was born believing was absolutely impossible and fundamentally wrong.

W. E. B. Du BOIS, 1941

"At the heart of the dark labyrinth of America's complex problems is the crisis in the South," wrote University of Virginia student Palmer Weber in 1938. Weber commended Franklin Roosevelt's successful effort to focus national attention on the region with the widely noted Report on the Economic Conditions of the South. Southerners themselves had finally become conscious "of the inherited shackles of tenancy, disease and illiteracy." Such general social problems, he noted, had become "accepted subjects of discussion," and this was a significant development. "But," Weber continued, "the black thread in the crisis ridden pattern of [the region's]

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