- Published: August 29, 2022
- Updated: August 29, 2022
- University / College: Washington University in St. Louis
- Language: English
- Downloads: 8
Some may call it the time of the Great Depression. Some may call it the unemployment period, in which more than 12 million people were left unemployed.
Nevertheless, the 1930’s will always be remembered as a decade of the most gruesome acts of racism towards the African- Americans in the US. They were a time of torture, discrimination, the KKK, and the Jim Crow laws, which every African-American person had to live by in order to survive. They were a time of inequality among the races, along with unfair trials and executions of African- Americans. They were a time of war against racism and a badly needed change in the society. The 1930’s were a decade no human looks up to and a an example of one of the biggest acts of inhumanity in the U.
S. On December 6th, 1865, slavery in America officially got abolished and countless African-Americans were finally considered as human beings. They got rights, the power to vote and the ability to start living and investing into higher-quality lifestyles. Nevertheless, only sixty-five years later, Americans began blaming the African-Americans for the crash of Wall Street and the start of the Great Depression, and thus embarked yet another decade of gruesome acting towards the African Americans. By some means, they thought that African- Americans were fully responsible for the crash of Wall Street and for dissipating all of the money that was invested into it, even though African- Americans had absolutely nothing to do with the crash.
In reality, everyone kept spending their money without reasoning and kept investing in the stock market thinking that it would rise. Nonetheless, the prices were actually dropping and people ended up losing all of their money, causing many poor citizens to go in debt. After losing all of their money and fighting with the struggle to live a decent life, Americans grew with rage and anger. After apprehending the economic disaster, many grew angry and the anger, anticipated with the struggle to live while in debt and without any money, forged an abhorrent reaction of racism against the African-American citizens. With emotional harassments, killing and treating the African-Americans as if they weren’t human, the most violent manifestation of racism was the reappearance of the KKK, also known as the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK, established in 1865, took positions such as white nationalism, anti-immigration, nordicism, anti-Catholicism anti semitism and white supremacy, a racist ideology in which people of white color considered themselves as more superior to the other races (African-Americans) in many ways, and therefore thought that they should be more dominant (Wikipedia).
In existence, the KKK developed in 1865 for the first time and lasted until 1871, with the number of members unknown. The second time, it existed from 1915 and lasted until 1944, meanwhile the peak number of members was 3, 000, 000-6, 000, 000 from 1920 until 1930, meaning that more than 3, 000, 000 people joined and carried out horrible acts of racism towards the African-Americans. The KKK and their actions were an absolute nightmare. They would set fire to the buildings in which the African- Americans lived, harass them emotionally by calling them different names and treating them as if they weren’t human and making special rules and laws that the African- Americans had to follow if they wished to stay alive. The discrimination evolved into a normal part of life. The life was no longer simple and African- American people got special laws they had to abide and rules they had to follow.
“ These measures were nicknamed the ‘ Jim Crow’ laws, after a fictional character in the popular minstrel shows that made fun of black people” (Sustar). For example, shops, hotels, cinemas, theaters and libraries had to provide special rooms for different races and public transport waiting rooms were divided. Adults were strictly forbidden from having a higher status job, thus they had to work as janitors, cleaners, porters, etc.., while their children had to be educated in separate schools that didn’t have an equal educational standard as white kids schools.
But apart from these laws, even the government and the judicial system joined onto the bandwagon and wrongfully accused people just because of their race (Race in the 1930’s). For example in 1931, nine African-American boys known as the Scottsboro boys were wrongfully accused by the KKK of raping two women . The nine teenagers were immediately put into jail and set for immediate execution. The justice system, being bigoted and brain-washed, prosecuted the teenagers based on the false testimony from the KKK members and convicted the teenagers of rape because of their race. Eight out of nine boys got executed days after by the electric chair. The ninth boy, being only 13, was too young to be executed and was thus the only survivor of the horrible act of inhumanity (BBC).
As a result, African- American people realized that they, even with so much strength and courage, couldn’t go against the KKK members as they were much more powerful and were seen as right and smart in the 1930’s. Constant discrimination and fear became a part of everyday life and they tried avoiding the places where the members of the clan could potentially be, in order to stay alive and not having to face discrimination. The KKK, the Jim Crow laws, along with discrimination and horrible acts of violence are only a few things that the African- Americans had to deal with in the 1930’s. They were the decade of one of the biggest examples of inhumanity in the U. S. and a decade no human looks up to.
Works Cited “ Ku Klux Klan.” En. wikipedia. N. p.
, 2001. Web. 6 Mar. 2018. “ Race In The 1930S.” Xroads.
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6 Mar. 2018. “ Race Relations Between The Wars.” Bbc. co. uk.
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2018. Sustar, Lee. “ Blacks And The Great Depression.” SocialistWorker. N.
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