Practice exam question
Explain why some groups in the USA did not benefit from the economic boom in the 1920's
Farmers were producing too many crops and couldn’t sell them. So prices fell and farmers had to borrow money from the banks to be able to survive. More and more of them got into debt until they eventually had to sell their farms and leave. Many left to go wandering around America looking for any kind of work – these wanderers were called hobos. By 1928 half of all USA farmers were living in poverty. Since prices were so low, 600,000 farmers lost their farms in 1924 alone. Black people suffered economically, especially in the southern states, where segregation was in effect. The ancestors of the black people in the south had been slaves. The majority worked on small farms owned by white landlords. The black people were labourers or sharecroppers and they lived in immense poverty. The segregation that was happening in the southern states (Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi) made the situation of black people even worse. White and black people lived separately – they had different education, transport and housing facilities. They were not allowed to use the same toilets and water wells. Anyone who tried to improve the rights of African Americans were challenged and threatened by the Ku Klux Klan. As a result, thousands of black people moved to northern cities like New York, Detroit and Chicago to look for work, but when they got there they had to live in ghettoes. Many immigrants had not been educated and were willing to work in any kind of job for very low wages. Because of this, they endured more and more prejudice. The traditional industries failed to respond to the new mass-production methods of the 1920s, unlike the Ford company that was making a good profit and could pay impressive wages. Also, following a reduction in the powers of Labor Unions (Trade Unions), the workers were not in a position to be able to claim better wages and working conditions...