Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

Latinos in the Great Depression

Academic journal article Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy

Latinos in the Great Depression

Article excerpt

Savvy students and practitioners of public policy frequently look to history to inform decision making. Data from the past can shine light on demographic trends, demystify foreign affairs, and identify best (and worst) government practices. Historical observation is particularly enlightening in times of crisis; indeed, in the current economic recession, federal policy makers have used lessons from the Great Depression to illuminate a path to brighter times.

But history offers more than just facts and figures. The four stories in this section show that we may also look to history to inspire personal strength, ingenuity, and resolve in times of great uncertainty. The collapse of the stock market in 1929 marked not only the beginning of the most severe economic crisis of the twentieth century, but it also triggered a tidal wave of tribulation that challenged American families of all races, colors, and creeds. Yet, the pain of the economic destruction was only matched by the power of American families to pull together, plow ahead, and overcome.

Latinos were no exception. In fact, as these stories show, Hispanic families were often hardest-hit by the economic misadventures of the 1930s. …

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