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The Great Depression and African American Movements - Essay Example

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This paper will describe causes and effects of the Great Depression and President Roosevelt’s resulting New Deal; and the effects of both on the social and communal lives of African Americans. Furthermore, the writer will explain the emergence of African American religious movements…
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The Great Depression and African American Movements
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1. Analyze the causes and effects of the Great Depression and President Roosevelt’s resulting New Deal; and the effects of both on the social and communal lives of African Americans. 
Before the Great Depression, United States was enjoying a decade of prosperity and relative wealth. This ended when the stock market crashed in October 29, 1929 that marked the Great Depression resulting in massive poverty across America.
While the main cause of the Great Depression has been widely debated, it was generally accepted that it was precipitated by deflation, the falling of prices both in asset and commodity, steep decline in demand and credit and widespread loss of confidence in banking system which culminated in the crash of the stock market in October 29, 1929. It resulted in widespread unemployment, closing of banks, homelessness and general poverty. It was an economic catastrophe that American has never seen before.
The Great Depression was addressed by President Roosevelt’s New Deal when he assumed office as a President of the United States on March 4, 1933. President Roosevelt’s New Deal involved a series of economic programs focused on Relief, Recovery and Reform of the economy not only to address the Great Depression but also to avoid the repetition of the same. Among the programs of his new deal was the obtained permission to reopen most banks and provided grants to citizens. He instituted government initiated work programs to generate employment through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs. President Roosevelt also pump primed the economy with the widespread public spending on infrastructure by constructing roads, buildings, dams and similar projects through his Public Works Administration (PWA) which provided not only jobs but income in the system. He also enlisted young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to work on conservation projects.
President Roosevelt’s New Deal was to elevate both income and prices which dropped during the depression.
When Second World War came in 1941, President Roosevelt shifted his attention to foreign policy to address the war. The war proved to be good for the US economy because the massive spending to build war machines double the country’s Gross National Product or GNP and reduced unemployment rate from 14% to less than 2%.
2. Explain the emergence of African American religious movements in the 1930s and 1940s. Cite causes and effects of these movements.
The 1930s and 1940s saw the emergence of two African American religious movements which includes the Nation of Islam and the Peace Mission Movement. Each movement was a reaction to the continued racism against African Americans with each movement attempting to bring power, understanding and control back into the black people’s lives. These two new religious movements provided rich evangelical resources that sustained black clergy’s participation in the civil rights movement that culminated with Martin Luther King.
The 1930s also marked an important period in the history of African American religious movement in terms of the breakthrough of black people’s entry into the priesthood of Catholic Church. It followed by a dramatic increase of African American conversion to Catholicism that they outnumber the number of white people in terms of membership in the church. Read More
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