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Table of Black and White Tenant Farmer Unemployment Rates, 1931-1932

The hard times of the Great Depression were even harder for African Americans, who were often the “last hired and first fired.” Particularly hard hit were black domestic workers (mostly female) and black tenant farmers (mostly male), the two broadly defined occupations that employed about 60% of all African Americans. As the National Urban League noted, domestic workers were easily fired by white employers when money was tight; one survey showed that about 43% of African Americans on relief in 1934 had been in domestic service. In the same article, the Urban League showed that black farmers stayed unemployed longer than white farmers. However black organizations also recognized and pushed for the New Deal’s programs to be an opportunity to improve incomes, skills, education, and housing for the black community, if “the temper of its administration” could “break away from the status quo” in the communities were programs were implemented.

Source | Table and text from Robert C. Weaver, “The New Deal and the Negro: A Look at the Facts,” in Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, July 1935, available from The New Deal Network,
Creator | Robert C. Weaver
Item Type | Quantitative Data
Cite This document | Robert C. Weaver, “Table of Black and White Tenant Farmer Unemployment Rates, 1931-1932,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed March 31, 2023,

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