University of Maryland University College Harlem Renaissance Essay


Choose one of the topics for your main post. Respond to at least one student who answered a different question from you. The answers should come from your textbook, the book of primary source documents, the assigned website, the lecture, videos, and the research you conducted in the APUS Library. Respond as many times as you wish. Your two best responses will be graded. Check the Note. The initial post with well referenced facts is due by Wednesday, 11:55 p.m. ET and 2 peer responses are due by Friday, 11:55 p.m. ET. 
Choose one of questions below. Respond to at least one student who answered a different question from you. The answers should come from your textbook, the book of primary source documents, the assigned website, the lecture, videos, and the research you conducted in the APUS Library. Respond as many times as you wish. Your two best responses will be graded. Check the Note. The initial post with well referenced facts is due by Wednesday, 11:55 p.m. ET and 2 peer responses are due by Friday, 11:55 p.m. ET. 
1). What was the Harlem Renaissance? Give some examples of artists who were active at the time. Just give a couple of examples but offer context and detail. What were the reactions to the Harlem Renaissance? Why did it come about? (starts in text page 123 or use scholarly sources from elsewhere)
2).Who was Marcus Garvey? Was he successful or not? Remember to read critically, not passively. Feel free to do extra reading, but be careful about sources. Ask yourself if the source that you are looking at is scholarly (assuming it is not the text, for the text see page 128). Was it written by a historian? Does the website have a particular angle that it is pushing?
3). Did WWI (One) impact African Americans? Did black soldiers serve in the war?
4). What was the famous case of the Scottsboro Boys? Be absolutely sure to use scholarly sources. No encyclopedias, no “”, only scholarly sources, if you choose this question. Find articles and books and websites written by historians, preferably from web addresses with .edu in the address. Try Google Scholar or our wonderful library.|
Herbert Hoover: Domestic Affairs
By David E. Hamilton
erbert Hoover took office in 1929 with a display of optimism and the promise
of a “New Day.” In his inaugural, he boasted that “in no nation are the fruits of
accomplishment more secure” and claimed that “anyone not only can be rich,
but ought to be rich.” He warned his audience of the dangers of a large and activist federal
government but also decried the self-serving greed of large corporations. Hoover
reiterated his belief in the centrality of the individual in the American experience, the
theme he had developed at some length in his 1922 book American Individualism.
Organizing the Hoover Administration
Hoover’s cabinet choices were generally strong ones. The standouts, like Secretary of State
Henry Stimson, Secretary of the Interior Ray Wilbur, Secretary of the Navy Charles Adams,
and Attorney General William Mitchell, more than compensated for lesser lights such as
Secretary of War James Good, Secretary of Labor James Davis, Secretary of Commerce
Robert Lamont, and Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Hyde. Postmaster General Walter F.
Brown proved valuable to Hoover as the President’s chief connection to (and adviser
about) the Republican Party. At the Treasury Department, Hoover retained Coolidge’s
appointee, Andrew Mellon, even though Mellon’s economic views were much less
progressive than those of the President. Hoover instead depended on Undersecretary of
the Treasury Odgen Mills for economic advice. In fact, Hoover stocked the higher reaches
of various executive departments with confidantes he called on regularly for advice.
Hoover’s White House staff was, per contemporary custom, quite small. Walter Newton,
the President’s senior secretary, monitored relations with Congress and the executive
departments and offered advice on executive appointments. Lawrence Richey helped
manage the President’s personal affairs and correspondence. George Akerson handled
Hoover’s relations with the press, albeit poorly. Hoover’s executive clerk French Strother
coordinated research projects on issues of social reform, topics that interested the
President greatly. Hoover’s staff was extremely loyal—Richey, Akerson, and Strother had
worked on the 1928 campaign—and generally competent. While Hoover kept in place
many of Coolidge’s appointees at the lower levels of the federal bureaucracy, he did
appoint hundreds of young technocrats and professionals trained in the new social
sciences to government positions and special commissions.
Early Months of the Hoover Administration
Hoover began his presidency with a burst of energy and enthusiasm that demonstrated his
progressive political leanings. He directed the Department of the Interior to improve
conditions for Native Americans on government-controlled reservations. He won passage
of the Boulder Canyon Project Act, which mandated the construction of a massive dam
(later named the Hoover Dam) that would provide power for public utilities in California.
And he appointed the conservationist Horace Albright to the National Park Service and
placed nearly two million acres of federal land in the national forest reserve,
demonstrating his belief in the conservation of national resources.
Underscoring his faith in the desirability of managerial expertise, the value of social
science knowledge, and the benefits of private-public cooperation, Hoover convened a
variety of conferences and appointed numerous commissions to study and solve vexing
social problems. The White House Conference on Health and the Protection of Children
of July 1929 looked at child welfare and produced an astounding 35 volumes of findings
that social workers would use in the coming decades. The Wickersham Commission on
Law Enforcement investigated the federal government’s judicial system, including the
politically dangerous issue of Prohibition enforcement. Finally, Hoover tasked the
President’s Committee on Recent Social Trends with assessing twenty-four aspects of
American life, such as population, food, and public administration; in the final year of
Hoover’s presidency, the Committee provided a comprehensive statistical survey of each
field. Consistent with Hoover’s thinking, these commissions and committees gathered and
publicized information, made recommendations, summoned voluntary efforts, and, in
some cases, suggested legislation. Invariably, these groups resisted calls for an activist
federal role in solving social or economic problems.
Two issues in particular took center stage during Hoover’s first nine months as President:
improving the economic health of the nation’s agricultural sector and tariff reform. Upon
entering office, Hoover called Congress into a special session to address these challenges.
American farmers suffered greatly in the 1920s as their incomes shrunk to only one-third
the national average. The chief problem was overproduction. American farmers benefited
from new technologies that increased their productivity, but the glut of product, along
with overseas competition, caused prices at market to drop precipitously. Many farmers
were demanding federal government subsidies (known as McNary-Hauganism for the
congressional sponsors of such legislation) to boost farm incomes. Secretary of Commerce
Hoover rejected this solution.
By the time Hoover became President in early 1929, the agricultural sector was still reeling.
The President, nevertheless, still opposed subsidies; along with his congressional allies,
Hoover instead supported a bill that created a Federal Farm Board. With a $500 million
budget, the Federal Farm Board would loan money to farmers to create and strengthen
farm cooperatives in the hope that these entities would control production and bring
crops to market more efficiently. Hoover saw the Board as a shining example how
voluntarism and cooperation among competitors could produce a more efficient economy
without the government intervention that subsidies represented. The farm bloc in
Congress, however, still vigorously supported subsidies. A political deadlock ensued, as
factions in Congress battled over farm policy and Hoover did little to break the impasse.
Finally, in June 1929, Congress passed the Agricultural Marketing Act, replete with a
Federal Farm Board and no subsidies for farmers. Hoover got his desired agricultural
program but not without significant political costs. By the fall of 1929, the Federal Farm
Board was up and running.
Tariff policy, the other early challenge facing Hoover, had long been a flashpoint in
American politics. Hoover was not a supporter of high tariffs but he did believe that
farmers deserved some sort of protection, a position that aligned the President with
progressive Republicans from the midwest, such as powerful Idaho senator William Borah.
The House of Representatives largely acceded to Hoover’s request for high tariffs on
agricultural products alone, but senators from eastern states passed a tariff bill that raised
rates on industrial and manufacturied products. Borah and his allies were understandably
very angry. Hoover, privately and discretely, supported insertion of a codicil into the
legislation creating a non-partisan Tariff Commission that could raise or lower rates; he
reasoned that the Commission would lower excessive rates after the tariff bill passed. The
proposed commission, though, had little support among either protectionists or freetraders in either party and thus was defeated in the fall of 1929. After months of discussion,
tariff reform remained at a standstill.
In both the tariff and agriculture debates, President Hoover demonstrated questionable
political acumen. The “Great Engineer” had proven as ineffective a politician as he was an
effective organizer of exploratory commissions and committees. Instead of convincing
Congress that his proposals were sound, Hoover chose to limit his involvement and let
Congress legislate. The result, though, was policy stalemate and political tension between
the President and Republicans, especially progressives like Borah, who might have been
among Hoover’s stronger supporters. It was a performance that did not bode well for the
future, when Hoover’s skills would be put to the test as the nation confronted its greatest
crisis since the Civil War: the Great Depression.
Causes of the Great Depression
The American economy of the 1920s, while prosperous, was fundamentally unsound. The
economic collapse that defined the Great Depression did not occur all at once, nor for one
particular reason. Historians have identified four interwoven and reinforcing causes of the
nation’s most severe economic crisis: structural weaknesses in both American agriculture
and industry; the frailty of the international economy in the late 1920s and the early 1930s;
and the overly speculative and unstable foundations of the American financial sector.
As discussed previously, the nation’s agricultural sector during the 1920s was unhealthy, a
condition that was due largely to overproduction. But if the economic outlook looked
bleak from the nation’s fields, they appeared just as dreary from its factory floors. While
industrial productivity and profits increased during the decade, wages remained stagnant.
These profits, more often than not, were placed in the stock market or in speculative
schemes rather than re-invested in new factories or used to fund new businesses, both of
which (theoretically) would have created new jobs. The combination of agricultural woes
and industrial stagnation conspired to grind America’s economy to a halt.
The world economy also suffered from a general slowdown in the late 1920s. The Treaty of
Versailles that ended the Great War required Germany to pay reparations to France and
Britain, countries which owed money to American banks. The German economy, wrecked
by the war, could not sustain these payments, and the German government looked to the
United States for cash. Europe’s economic health, then, was built on a web of financial
arrangements and hinged on a robust American economy.
Finally, America’s financial sector was a house of cards. During the 1920s, American
businesses were increasingly raising capital either by soliciting private investment or by
selling stock. Over two million Americans poured their savings into the stock market and
many more into investment schemes. But there was little or no regulation of these
companies and supposed investment opportunities, nor much oversight of the process.
Too often, Americans put their money into “get rich quick” schemes which had no chance
of long-term financial return, or into companies that made no real profits—and sometimes
no actual products!The stock market was particularly volatile during the 1920s. It soared
during the second half of the decade, with the New York Times index of industrial stocks
growing from 159 points in 1925 to 452 points in September 1929. Investors bought stocks
“on margin,” meaning they produced only a small down-payment and borrowed the rest
from their broker or bank. As long as the stock increased in value, all was well. The
investor would later sell the stock, repay the broker or the bank, and pocket the profit.
Each of these factors helped create and sustain a severely unequal distribution of wealth in
the United States, where a tiny minority possessed incredible riches. In 1929, five percent
of the populace held nearly a third of the money and property; over 80 percent of
Americans held no savings at all. In addition, the stagnation in wages, the collapse of
agricultural markets, and rising unemployment (all of which led to the growing gap
between rich and poor), meant that most Americans could not buy the products that made
the economy hum. Wealthier Americans, moreover, failed to spend their money, choosing
instead to invest it. In short, the American economy was a consumer economy in which
few consumed.
As the economy began to slow in 1929—with fewer purchases, creeping unemployment,
and higher interest rates—stock owners tried to sell but found no buyers; the market
tumbled. Two days in particular, October 24 (“Black Thursday”) and October 29 (“Black
Tuesday”), saw investors desperately trying to dump stocks. On that Tuesday alone,
brokers sold over 16 million shares. The market slide continued for more than two years,
with one estimate claiming that investors lost nearly $75 billion. “The Great Crash,” as it
came to be known, was only one cause of the economic Depression that followed, but it
brought home to many Americans in stunning fashion the harsh reality of the American
economic landscape.
The nation’s economic woes deepened considerably in the months and years after the
stock market crash. With American farmers earning less, they could not pay their bills and
mortgages. Rural banks failed without these payments, placing more pressure on a banking
system already shaky from the shocks that hit Wall Street. After 1932, drought conditions
plagued the midwest, further compounding existing agricultural problems. As industries
failed, factories closed and stores shuttered. Between 1929 and 1933, 5,000 American banks
collapsed, one in four farms went into foreclosure, and an average of 100,000 jobs
vanished each week. By 1932, over 12 million Americans—nearly one-quarter of the
workforce—were unemployed. Statistics alone, however, do not tell the story of the “Great
Depression.” For tens of millions, it was a time of panic and poverty, hunger and
hopelessness. The national will sagged and its future seemed, at least to some, in doubt.
Hoover and the Great Depression
The collapse of the stock market and the Great Depression did not catch Hoover
completely unaware, although he surely—like the vast majority of Americans—was utterly
surprised by the severity of these developments. As secretary of commerce, Hoover had
worried about speculation in the stock market, even asking for new government regulation
of banks and stock exchanges to prevent “insider trading” and the dangerous practice of
“margin buying.” He had also called on the Federal Reserve Board to raise interest rates,
but the board lowered them instead, thus fueling a stock market boom in the two years
prior to his presidency.
During his first eight months in the White House, Hoover and his advisers continued to
voice their concerns about the shape and future of the economy. Hoover supported the
Agricultural Marketing Act because he believed it would shore up a weak agricultural
sector. Suspicious of stock speculation, he approved of efforts by the Federal Reserve
System to convince the New York Federal Reserve Bank to halt the practice of giving
discounts to smaller banks, a practice that many experts believed fueled stock speculation.
Hoover was dubious, however, of the wisdom of the Federal Reserve Board asking its
member banks to tighten the money supply to halt speculative loans. Moreover, as the
historian Martin Fausold explains, no one in government or the financial sector could
agree upon the exact role that the Federal Reserve should play in monitoring and
overseeing the financial sector.
Hoover reacted to the October 24 (“Black Thursday”) stock market crash by stating that
“the fundamental business of the country, that is production and distribution, is on a
sound and prosperous basis.” But shielded from public view, he and his administration
worked hard to counter what they worried might be the beginning of a cyclical economic
downturn. Hoover’s advisers drew up proposals to stimulate the economy with reductions
in taxes, a plan for the Federal Reserve to loosen its credit policies, and more public works
spending. Hoover also called openly for local and state governments to expand public
works projects, and organized a series of conferences in November 1929 which brought
together leaders of industry, labor, and government to discuss the economy. Hoover asked
for and received pledges from industry not to cut jobs or wages, and from labor not to
press for higher wages.
The President’s actions in the wake of the stock market crash were premised on his belief
that the economy faced a mere downturn rather than the prospect of complete collapse.
Likewise, Hoover’s actions accorded with his faith in voluntarism, cooperation, the value
of expertise and statistics, and the effectiveness of limited government measures to
counteract economic cycles. He urged cooperation among and between industry and labor.
He also ordered the Departments of Labor and Commerce to compile precise and accurate
economic statistics. Unfortunately for Hoover, those statistics showed that in the weekand-a-half before Christmas 1929, one million Americans lost their jobs. The nation’s
economic slide would only continue.
Battles over the Tariff and the Supreme Court
Nonetheless, during the first half of 1930, issues other than the nation’s economic
problems consumed much of Hoover’s time. The death of Supreme Court Justice Edward
Sanford left a vacancy on the Court that Hoover needed to fill. The President chose John J.
Parker, a highly regarded judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Parker’s
nomination initially won wide support, but labor groups and the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) argued that the judge’s record was hostile
toward unions and African-Americans. At Parker’s Senate confirmation hearings, organized
labor and the NAACP attacked the nomination; Progressive Republicans like Senator
Borah, who already had a testy relationship with the President because of farm policy and
the tariff, took the criticisms seriously. As a vote neared in the full Senate, some rank-andfile Republicans began to rethink their support for Parker. Hoover compounded the
problem by failing to give Parker a strong public show of support and by refusing to let the
judge appear before Senators to explain his civil rights and labor positions. The Senate
killed the Parker nomination in early May 1930 by a tally of 41 to 39, with ten Republicans
voting “nay.”The other domestic issue Hoover addressed in the first half of 1930 was the
tariff, which lay unresolved after the failure of legislation one year earlier. As the Seventy-
first Congress convened in December 1929, Borah and other progressive Republicans still
opposed both higher tariffs on industrial products and a tariff commission that could
adjust rates; instead, they supported a plan—called export debenture—in which the
government would compensate farmers who sold their products overseas at a loss.
Politicians from industrial states unsurprisingly favored higher tariffs on industrial and
manufacturing imports. Hoover, meanwhile, still supported the commission and opposed
export debentures just as strongly. The President, however, refused to interfere in the
congressional deliberations, though he did finally make his preferences known. Six months
of legislative wrangling produced the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill in June 1930 that raised
rates on both agricultural and industrial products to historic levels, provided for a
commission, and rejected export debentures. Hoover quickly signed the legislation.
In subsequent years, some Democrats argued that the tariff caused the Great Depression.
This charge was politically motivated and historically inaccurate; the Depression was well
underway by time of Smoot-Hawley’s passage. Nonetheless, higher tariff rates, most
economists and historians agree, did little to help the American economy as it swooned in
the early 1930s. Instead, protectionism further weakened the international economy by
suffocating world trade, which in turn made it more difficult for the U.S. economy to
recover. Just as important, the battles over Judge Parker’s nomination and the tariff
worsened Hoover’s relations with the more progressive elements of the Republican Party.
The Hoover administration continued throughout 1930 to battle the nation’s economic
problems. To a remarkable degree, state and local governments, as well as leading
industries, followed through on Hoover’s requests. The President’s proposals for increased
government and private-sector spending were outlined at conferences that brought
together business, labor, and political leaders in the wake of the market crash. Hoover
pressed Congress in 1930 to pass bills that would spur infrastructure construction, even
while he asked executive departments to hold the line on spending so as not to increase
the federal budget deficit.
By March 1930, the Labor and Commerce Departments told Hoover that the worst of the
crisis had passed, news that the President happily passed on to the public. Other observers
—both in and out of government—were not so sure. Hoover ignored these pessimistic
forecasts and rejected calls for more aggressive government actions (like relief bills or
bond sales to fund unemployment benefits) to combat the nation’s economic problems.
Instead, he formed the President’s Emergency Committee on Employment (PECE) in the
fall of 1930 to coordinate private organizations’ efforts to help the unemployed. Even
Hoover’s own appointee to head PECE, though, warned the President that greater
government spending was needed to combat unemployment.
Hoover dismissed this suggestion, although unemployment had climbed to 8.7 percent of
the workforce by the end of 1930, meaning that more than 4 million Americans were out of
a job. Other indicators were just as dreary. Industrial production in 1930 fell by onequarter; roughly 1,350 banks failed that year as well, more than twice as many as in 1929. As
American economic problems grew—and his anti-Depression efforts floundered—Hoover
frequently advanced the argument that a global economic slowdown was primarily to
blame for the dismal economic circumstances at home. This assessment indicated that
Hoover would likely pair his domestic anti-Depression measures with increased efforts in
the international arena.
1931: Into the Vortex
By 1931, members of Congress—especially Democrats and midwestern progressive
Republicans—began to call even more vociferously for decisive government action to
combat the effects of the Depression. They were particularly desirous of relief bills for
farmers and the unemployed. Most of these bills failed, largely because progressives and
liberals were a distinct minority in Congress. Increasingly, however, other members of
Congress gave credence to these requests. While not a relief measure per se, Congress did
pass (over Hoover’s veto) the Bonus Bill in the winter of 1931. The bill allowed veterans to
borrow up to one-half the value of life insurance policies that Congress had purchased in
1924; with the policies set to mature in 1945, early access to these funds came to be
regarded as a “bonus.” Likewise, Senator Robert Wagner of New York, perhaps the Senate’s
most prominent liberal, won passage of bills providing for the collection of unemployment
statistics and the systematic planning of public works. A third Wagner bill related to
unemployment, which would have set up a system of employment agencies at the state
level, was vetoed by Hoover.
By the spring of 1931, as he had a year earlier, Hoover still clung to the notion that the
worst had passed. The President had not taken leave of his senses; other respected
observers offered similar prognostications. Unfortunately, those assumptions proved
wrong. By June, more than one-quarter of the factory work force was unemployed, along
with 15 percent (more than eight million people) of the total work force. Bank failures
continued to rise, with more than 2,200 banks folding in 1931 alone. Personal income,
industrial production, and stock prices all began precipitous slides in the spring of 1931
after showing a burst of recovery in the preceding months. Social workers and labor
leaders, who worked closely with communities bearing the brunt of the Depression, called
attention to the inability of private relief to ameliorate the suffering and pleaded for more
substantive government action.
Even as the crisis deepened in 1931, Hoover held fast to his course. He reiterated that the
nation’s economic woes were largely the result of depressed world economic conditions.
He also made clear that he opposed federal intervention in the economy or the
construction of a welfare state. Instead, Hoover maintained that voluntarism and
individual effort would solve the country’s economic woes. His administration’s policies
throughout 1931 reflected these approaches. To stabilize the international financial and
economic situation, Hoover called in June 1931 for a one-year moratorium on
intergovernmental debts. In August, PECE morphed into a new agency, the President’s
Organization for Unemployment Relief (POUR), which essentially carried on its
predecessor’s mission of mobilizing private assistance. POUR did assume more of an
advisory role than PECE, suggesting federal public works programs and strategies to fight
unemployment; it did not, however, push for federal relief programs. In the early fall of
1931, Hoover convinced leading bankers to voluntarily organize the National Credit
Corporation, which would use a $500 million reserve to aid small, insolvent banks.
Bankers, though, extracted a pledge from the President that if the non-governmental,
voluntary effort failed, he would support a similar federal effort. Despite these maneuvers,
the economy showed no signs of recovery. Indeed, the crisis only deepened.
Hoover’s New Approach
In late 1931, Hoover changed his approach to fighting the Depression. He justified his call
for more federal assistance by noting that “We used such emergency powers to win the
war; we can use them to fight the Depression, the misery, and suffering from which are
equally great.” This new approach embraced a number of initiatives. Unfortunately for the
President, none proved especially effective. Just as important, with the presidential
election approaching, the political heat generated by the Great Depression and the failure
of Hoover’s policies grew only more withering.
The National Credit Corporation quickly proved insufficient, largely because its private-
sector leaders were too tight-fisted and reluctant to bail-out smaller banks. As the NCC
floundered, the Hoover administration drafted legislation for the Reconstruction Finance
Corporation (RFC). The RFC, which would be government-run and funded, was designed
to stabilize the nation’s financial structures by providing credit to banks weak and strong,
as well as to other entities like railroads and agricultural organizations; Hoover hoped that
by improving the nation’s financial health, public confidence would grow and that both
employment opportunities and international trade would expand. Congress created the
RFC in early 1932. While the RFC, like the NCC, often failed to help smaller banks,
historians and economists now sing its praises for saving many of the nation’s larger
financial institutions from ruin. The RFC, however, did not fulfill Hoover’s hopes by
cutting into unemployment.
Hoover also bowed to growing public and congressional pressure for emergency federal
relief. In the summer of 1932, he signed the Emergency Relief Construction Act, which
provided $2 billion for public works projects and $300 million for direct relief programs
run by state governments. While the bill only appropriated a pittance for direct relief and
placed many restrictions on how the $300 million could be used, its endorsement by
Hoover testified, at least partially, to the failure of voluntarism and private relief. Hoover,
however, saw the act as a temporary measure to provide emergency relief; he remained
resolutely opposed to large-scale and permanent government expenditures on relief and
Finally, in March 1932, Hoover signed the Norris-La Guardia Anti-injunction Act. The law
accomplished three important objectives supported by organized labor. First, it severely
curbed the use of “yellow dog” contracts in which employers hired replacement workers to
break strikes. Second, it strongly curtailed the ability of federal judges to issue sweeping
injunctions against strikes. Finally, it encouraged and confirmed the right of laborers to
organize. Norris-LaGuardia was an important forerunner of pro-labor legislation, like the
1935 Wagner Act, and a personal victory for Hoover, who had made clear since the 1920s
his opposition to the use of injunctions.
Despite the creation of the RFC and the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction
Act, Hoover (and those under his command) committed two blunders in 1932 that greatly
damaged his political standing. First, the President became embroiled in a political spat
with Congress over taxes. Committed to keeping the United States on the gold standard,
Hoover wanted to close the federal government’s budget deficit, which had grown during
his presidency, by raising taxes. The key issue was how to allocate the increased tax burden
among Americans. Hoover and his advisers did not want to raise taxes so much that
wealthy Americans and businesses were discouraged from investing–an activity that,
theoretically, created jobs. Hoover’s original tax plan, then, was to spread tax increases
among different economic sectors and between rich and poor Americans. In Congress,
conservative southern Democrats countered with a plan in which half of the new tax
revenues would come from a sales tax on manufactured goods.
Hoover agreed to support the sales tax—after receiving assurances that it would not affect
the prices of “staple food or cheaper clothing”—but progressive Republicans and liberal
Democrats rebelled at what they saw as an attempt to pass the tax burden on to those who
could least afford to pay it. The issue became a political firestorm. Opponents of the sales
tax aggressively attacked Hoover, portraying him as a retrograde conservative. Meanwhile,
each party’s leaders tried to keep the maverick sales tax opponents in line. They failed,
however, and the Revenue Act of 1932 passed in the late spring of 1932 without a sales tax.
Hoover signed the measure, but the political damage had been done.
In late July 1932, the President’s political fortunes took another precipitous dip, only a few
weeks after Republicans had re-nominated Hoover as their candidate for that year’s
presidential election. Unemployed American veterans of World War I, suffering from the
hardships of the Depression, marched along with their families to Washington, D.C., to
demand immediate full payment of their bonuses, which, by law, were payable in 1945.
Hoover joined Congress in rejecting the demands of the “Bonus Army” marchers, though
he did support their right to demonstrate and quietly made available to them shelter and
supplies. While in Washington, some in the Bonus Army took up quarters in unoccupied
federal building scheduled for demolition. After Congress refused to grant the Bonus
Army’s demands, most of the protesters left Washington. Some, however, remained in the
abandoned buildings, in nearby camps, and in hovels on the shores of the Anacostia River.
The administration decided to remove the members of the Bonus Army occupying the
condemned buildings. Hoover gave precise instructions to the military to peacefully escort
the protestors to nearby camps. Secretary of War Patrick Hurley, who feared the Bonus
Army might riot, exceeded Hoover’s instructions and ordered General Douglas MacArthur
to relocate the marchers from Washington’s political and business district to the Anacostia
River flats. MacArthur, in turn, exceeded his orders and decided to drive the Bonus Army
from Washington, D.C., altogether. The military attacked the veterans with tanks, tear gas,
bayonets, and guns, burned the camps in Anacostia, and killed one Bonus Army member;
MacArthur repeatedly ignored orders from superiors to halt the rampage. Americans from
around the nation saw the horrific images of the attack in their newspapers. When
MacArthur and Hurley obstinately refused to take responsibility for the melee, Hoover did
so. The President’s standing with the public only sank further. With the 1932 election fast
approaching, Hoover’s chance of winning another four years in the White House were
nearly extinct.
David E. Hamilton
Associate Professor of History
University of Kentucky
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In the mid 1930s, Charles Hamilton
Houston, one of the few African
Americans to graduate from Harvard
Law School, joined the NAACP to
head its legal attack on Jim Crow.
As the United States Supreme Court
began to make decisions favorable
to black rights regarding criminal
procedures, Houston felt the time
was right to challenge Jim Crow in
other areas. He understood that
judges would not overturn previous
constitutional interpretations
unless absolutely necessary. If he
confronted the “separate but equal” doctrine laid down in Plessy v.
Ferguson in 1896, the Court would most likely reject the challenge.
But if Houston insisted that Plessy be enforced — that is, if the
NAACP sued a state to make its schools for black children equal to
those for whites — which Plessy did require — then he could
undermine segregation. He reasoned
that the states would either have
to build new schools for blacks -something they could not afford -or admit them into white schools.
If the Court agreed with his
argument, then he could challenge
segregation itself. Houston
decided that the NAACP had to
carefully pick cases that they
stood a good chance on winning.
Those cases would then establish a
precedent that “would make plain the inequality” in the educational
opportunities of blacks and whites. Houston was convinced that the
battle for civil rights had to be won in the schools, but fought in
the courts. He felt that his strongest case of inequality in
education would at the graduate-school level. Most segregated states
In response to the
Gaines decision,
state officials in
Missouri opened a
law school at the
all black Lincoln
Charles Houston
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board
did not provide graduate studies for blacks, and did not allow them
into white graduate schools. In Missouri he found the case he wanted.
Lloyd Gaines, a college graduate, had been denied entrance to the law
school at the University of Missouri because he was black. Instead,
Missouri offered to pay his expenses for law school outside the
state. Houston argued that Missouri was obligated to either build a
law school for blacks equal to that of whites or admit him to the
University of Missouri. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. The Gaines
decision breached the walls of
segregation. It meant that every state
now had to either build a separate
graduate school for blacks or
integrate. Houston knew that the Gaines
decision was monumental. By extending
the reasoning of the Gaines case,
states would have to either build equal
facilities for blacks on every level or
admit blacks to white schools. The
Gaines case would prove to be a major
stepping stone on the road to Brown v.
Board of Education of Topeka, the 1954
The relevance of Gaines v.
case that declared segregation in
Canada in the battle to end
education unconstitutional.
segregation in education.
— Richard Wormser
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The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee
The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee
The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee Home
The Syphilis Study at Tuskegee Timeline
In 1932, the USPHS, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a study to record the natural history of syphilis. It was
originally called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” (now referred to as the “USPHS Syphilis
Study at Tuskegee”). The study initially involved 600 Black men – 399 with syphilis, 201 who did not have the disease.
Participants’ informed consent was not collected. Researchers told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a
local term used to describe several ailments, including syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. In exchange for taking part in the
study, the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance.
The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) engages the Tuskegee Institute in Macon, AL in the USPHS Tuskegee
Syphilis Study.2
Penicillin becomes treatment of choice for syphilis, but men in study are not treated.
First news article  about the study.
The study ends  , on recommendation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Panel convened by the Assistant Secretary
for Health and Scientic A]airs.
President Clinton issues a formal Presidential apology  .
By 1943, penicillin was the treatment of choice for syphilis and becoming widely available, but the participants in the
study were not o]ered treatment.
In 1972, an Associated Press story  about the study was published. As a result, the Assistant Secretary for Health and
Scientic A]airs appointed an Ad Hoc Advisory Panel to review the study. The advisory panel concluded   that the
study was “ethically unjustied”; that is, the “results [were] disproportionately meager compared with known risks to
human subjects involved.” In October 1972, the panel advised stopping the study. A month later, the Assistant Secretary
for Health and Scientic A]airs announced the end  of the study. In March 1973, the panel also advised the Secretary
of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) (now known as the Department of Health and Human
Services) to instruct the USPHS to provide all necessary medical care for the survivors of the study.1 The Tuskegee Health
Benet Program (THBP) was established to provide these services. In 1975, participants’ wives, widows and children were
added to the program. In 1995, the program was expanded to include health, as well as medical, benets. The last study
participant died in January 2004. The last widow receiving THBP benets died in January 2009. Participants’ children (10 at
present) continue to receive medical and health benets.
Later in 1973, a class-action lawsuit was led on behalf of the study participants and their families, resulting in a $10
million, out-of-court settlement in 1974.
On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton issued a formal Presidential Apology  for the study.
“HEW News” Ohce of the Secretary, March 5, 1973; Memorandum “USPHS Study of Untreated Syphilis (the Tuskegee
Study; Authority to Treat Participants Upon Termination of the Study,” from Wilmot R Hastings to the secretary, March 5,
Vonderlehr, R.A., Clark, T., Wenger, O.C., Heller, J.R., Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro, Journal of Venereal Disease
Information. 17:260-265, (1936).
The content here can be syndicated (added to your web site).
Last Reviewed: December 5, 2022
The Walter White Project
Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors
The Walter White Project
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Walter White Biography
Walter White (1893-1955) worked for the NAACP for almost 30 years
and led it for 17 years. He helped the NAACP grow from a few white
liberals and African American activists into a major organization with
branches and members in most of the United States.
Under his tenure the Association became the bogey man to every white
segregationist, taken legal cases seeking African American rights all the
way to the Supreme Court, become a player in politics on the federal
level, influenced Hollywood’s portrayals of African Americans, aided
and cultivated African American writers and artists and even influenced
U.S.foreign policy. At his funeral the president, the governor of New
York, senators, newspapers and countless private citizens both black
and white paid homage. Yet today he is almost unknown. He is a figure
both essential and yet liminal.
This web site uses his own voice, narration that quotes documents
written by and about him, archival and Hollywood film footage and stills
that will show him as the wheeler dealer that he was.
Much like a great politician he was attracted to power, used personal
relationships to get what he wanted, and knew his milieu as well as a
farmer knows his back forty acres. He began as an outsider and ended
his life as the consummate insider who could count Eleanor Roosevelt
and Harry Truman among his friends. His life touched so many people
and issues that it is a rich source of the African American history of the
first half of the 20th century. Come explore African American history
through the story of Walter White.
Begin this path: Walter White Biography
1. Walter White’s Childhood and Education
2. Walter White faces the mob
3. Walter White learns who he is
4. Walter White at Atlanta University
5. Walter White helps found the Atlanta branch of the NAACP
6. Walter White goes to the New York NAACP
7. Walter White’s personal life in the 1920’s
8. Walter White becomes Acting Secretary of the NAACP
9. Death of Walter White’s Father
10. WW becomes Secretary of the NAACP
11. Walter White tries to persuade Hollywood to change its portrayal of
African Americans
12. Walter White investigates in World War II
13. Walter White and Harry S. Truman
14. Walter White’s Divorce and Remarriage
15. Walter White’s Last Years with the NAACP
16. The Death of Walter White
17. The Legacy of Walter White
Comment on this page
Version 19 of this page, updated 10 June 2012.
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 
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
American labour union
 Actions
Alternate titles: BSCP, BSCPM, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids
Written by Laurie Woodward
Fact-checked by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2023 • Article History
 Table of Contents
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), also called Brotherhood
of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids (BSCPM), first African American
labour union to be affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Founded
in 1925 by labour organizer and civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph, the
Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) aimed to improve the working
conditions and treatment of African American railroad porters and maids
employed by the Pullman Company, a manufacturer and operator of railroad
cars. The BSCP embodied Randolph’s belief that segregation and racism were
linked to the unfair distribution of wealth and power that condemned tens of
of black
and white Americans to chronic misery.
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In 1867 the founder of the Pullman Company, George Mortimer Pullman,
seized the opportunity to meet his company’s labour needs by providing
employment for some of the slaves freed in the wake of the American Civil War.
The association with the company worked fairly well for these men and women,
who were desperately in need of employment. However, Pullman exploited
their difficult situation by demanding long hours of hard work with poor
compensation. He also instituted an in-house company organization for
employee representation that primarily met the needs of the management
rather than those of the workers. Under its auspices, the company fixed wage
rates and working conditions; workers could either accept what the company
offered or quit.
Frustrated by the Pullman Company’s policy and seeking to reduce the inequity
of their situation by organizing, the Pullman porters approached Randolph.
Initially, he was reluctant to take on their cause. However, he published two
articles in The Messenger magazine that received wide support. When the
porters renewed their pressure on Randolph, he agreed to assist them, and on
August 25, 1925, the BSCP was born. The Pullman Company, infuriated by the
“upstart” porters and their agitators, employed various tactics—including spies,
intimidation, and propaganda—so as to destroy the union.
Passage of the Railway Labor Act by the U.S. Congress in May 1926 provided
cause for optimism for Randolph and the porters. The act stipulated that all
disputes over wages, rules, and working conditions involving railroad workers
were to be settled promptly through negotiations between labour and
management, overseen by a Board of Mediation without interference,
influence, or coercion. The workers’ confidence was premature, however. The
Pullman Company, arguing that 85 percent of the porters supported the
company’s in-house union, refused to recognize the BSCP.
Throughout the ensuing years, the BSCP fought a multifaceted battle against
the Pullman Company. In 1932 their tenacity paid off. Although the weight of
the Great Depression virtually crushed the BSCP, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New
Deal provided a way out. The National Industrial Recovery Act, enacted in
1933, reinforced the Railway Labor Act, while the Emergency Railroad
Transportation Act (1933) specifically banned company unions. That legislation
provided some of the strongest-ever protections for organized labour.
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After much stalling, the Pullman Company agreed to begin negotiating in good
faith with the porters, and on April 25, 1937, it signed the first agreement
between a union of African American workers and a major American
Once the BSCP achieved recognition by the Pullman Company, the union set
about realizing its practical objectives and meeting the needs of its
membership. The contract between the Pullman Company and the BSCP
brought the porters the single largest wage increase they had ever received
under an agreement with the company. The BSCP also secured agreements
from the Pullman Company that established a 240-hour work month,
eliminated the system of determining rates by mileage, and guaranteed pay for
preparatory and terminal time and a reasonable amount of rest during trips.
The constitution of the BSCP also provided for the formation of the
International Ladies Auxiliary, an adjunct organization for wives and female
relatives of members of the union. The primary function of the auxiliary was to
assist the BSCP through fund-raising and dissemination of information in the
interest of the union.
Laurie Woodward
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