Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) Era 8

Teaching Labor's Story

Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945) Era 8

Overviews: Historical Context


Coming soon

8.1 UAW-CIO song, 1942

This song is about the struggles by auto workers to organize a union and their patriotic pride as both producers for and soldiers in the American war effort during World War II. It equates unionism with patriotism. 

8.2 Blank Pay Days, 1933

This document is excerpted from an article written by a Chicago school teacher about how the Great Depression was affecting her work and personal life; published 1933 in The Saturday Evening Post.

8.3 Spasmodic Diary of a Chicago School Teacher, 1933

An excerpt from a published selection of a diary that belonged to an anonymous Chicago public school teacher, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly in November 1933.

8.4 Memorial Day Massacre, 1937

An eyewitness narration of unedited newsreel footage of the 1937 Memorial Day Massacre in Chicago, Illinois when steel unionists and their supporters were met with police violence on their way to demand the right to set up a mass picket in front of Republic Steel.

8.5 Murder of Frank Hanes, 1939

These three letters describe the murder of an African American farm worker named Frank Hanes by Mississippi plantation owner Tom Alexander. Bernice Wims wrote to the U.S. attorney general to request an investigation, but the federal government refused to act.

8.6 Charles Houston, Scottsboro Case, Revisited, 1939

Charles Houston delivered this speech to an International Labor Defense conference on July 8th, 1939. His “Special Paper on…Educational Equality” speech draws a connection between labor, civil rights, and education. Houston specifically links the Scottsboro Case to labor control.

8.7 The Soup Song ca. 1930

“The Soup Song” uses humor and sarcasm to convey workers’ experiences and attitudes during the Great Depression.  As a widely popular participatory song, it was an effective tool for labor organizing.

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