Along the highway near Bakersfield, California. Dust bowl refugees by Dorothea Lange

The Photographers Who Captured the Great Depression

The Farm Security Administration had photographers fan out across the country to document agricultural conditions. But they brought back much more.
Two people walking towards Los Angeles, 1937

How the LAPD Guarded California’s Borders in the 1930s

Working well outside their jurisdiction, the officers patrolled their state's borders against white migrants.
Bernarr MacFadden foundation, Third Avenue, New York, 1931. People could also buy a five course meal for a nickel and up to 3,000 can be served in a day.

One Parallel for the Coronavirus Crisis? The Great Depression

“The idea that the federal government would be providing emergency relief and emergency work was extraordinary,” one sociologist said. “And people liked it.”
WPA bookmobile

How Reading Got Farm Women Through the Depression

They worked over sixty hours a week but were also insatiable readers.
A couple dancing the Jitterbug circa 1938

How People in the Depression Managed to Laugh

American popular culture flourished in the 1930s, despite the Great Depression. One thing that helped: artists being included in the New Deal.
Dressmaker strike

Does Disunity Hurt the Left?

Does disunity harm a political party? An account of the organizing by unemployed workers in the 1930s may offer some clues.
WPA mural masculinity

What Kind of Work is “Masculine”?

What's the fate of "masculinity" in a world where it’s hard for many men to achieve personal success? It's a question we asked in the 1930s, too.
Birmingham trainyard

A Precedent for Today’s Political Violence

Illegal violence has always been a political tool, often serving the interests of the powerful. A historian looks at the case of 1930s Birmingham, Alabama.
Public housing project

Why is the U.S. Losing Public Housing?

In much of the U.S., public housing is disappearing as governments fail to maintain the buildings or actively demolish them.
corn harvest

Why Do We Have “Free Trade” For Televisions, But Not For Corn?

While the U.S. opens industries to market competition at home and abroad, we give our agricultural producers a lot of protection, including big subsidies.