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Social Issues of the 1930s

1930s Newspaper Articles


Newspaper Articles

Article #1
Farm Labor Issue Centers on Itinerants

Migrant farmers have discovered their new residence to be a continual cause of strife.

John M. Brumm, a man formerly employed by the Migratory Labor Survey of the Resettlement Administration, was kind enough to disclose the fact that the wages of migrant workers lie just above the living expenses at the time. These wages (17 - 25 cents an hour) make it extremely difficult to take residence in sanitary dwellings, many living in houses of tin and wood. Such domains also lacked adequate space for the more than 600 migrants living in such cities, water, and toilet facilities. A negligent garbage system also presents many ailments and illnesses.

Most migrants are pickers. When the crop for a specific area becomes depleted, the families are forced to pack their belongings and attempt to move to another area. This continual motion has caused a strain on the children of these families’ education. The education crucial in presenting the opportunity for a job outside of farm picking lacked stability, bringing many children to continue their parents’ work in a hopeless cycle.

“State and Federal officials, farmers and workers, and social workers agreed that the lack of housing and proper sanitation for the migrant workers are(was) deplorable.” Yet, these American citizens were forced to live in such horrendous conditions.


Father and two sons in Iowa

Article #2
Farm Folks in ‘Jungles’ Sit and Wait

Although living conditions for Mr. Adam Lane have been considerably average compared to those of non-migrants, other “Okies” are not so well off. Forced to leave their farmland in the Great Depression, over two hundred thousand migrants submit to their atrocious living conditions. As in many of the migrant societies during that period of time, the stench of rot and refuse tainted the air. Such unsanitary conditions are considered a health risk for everyone in the vicinity. Such hopelessness brings parents to no longer advocate citizenship and decency. This does include the prohibition of sexual activities in public and the attending of school. The IQ for children of migrant workers drastically fell below average, as well. It was not that they wanted to live like this or that they were lazy. Under normal circumstances, one may believe that many of these citizens would have never ended up in such conditions.