The Great Depression

The Great Depression

They used to tell me I was building a dream,
with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line,
just waiting for bread?
Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

(1931), lyrics by Yip Harburg

In 1933, one in four Americans is unemployed.
Four years after the stock market crash of 1929,
millions of people across the United States search endlessly for work,
stand in breadlines,
help their neighbors when they can,
and struggle to balance basic needs.
The Depression shatters the national dream of work as the key to personal and national progress.

Beginning in 1933, government programs collectively known as the “New Deal” attempt to strengthen the economy. Still, the country remains in turmoil.

By 1935, the nation faces upheaval as citizens – employed and unemployed alike – demand real change.

On May 6, 1935 the Roosevelt administration takes a bold step to create a vast new jobs program.
The Works Progress Administration is born.

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Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and animate the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.