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A Black American Asks FDR to End Racial Inequalities in Federal Relief

Although Franklin D. Roosevelt never endorsed anti-lynching legislation and condoned discrimination against blacks in federally funded relief programs, he still won the hearts and the votes of many African Americans. Yet this support and even veneration for Roosevelt did not blind black Americans to the continuing discrimination that they faced. Indeed, the two views were often combined when they wrote letters to the president asking him to do something about discrimination that they confronted in their daily lives. This letter is one of thousands that poured in to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt from black Americans during the 1930s.

Reidsville. Ga Oct 19th 1935

Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
President of U. S.
Washington D. C.

Dear Mr. President

Would you please direct the people in charge of the releaf work in Georgia to issue the provisions + other supplies to our suffering colored people. I am sorry to worrie you with this Mr. President but hard as it is to believe the releaf officials here are using up most every thing that you send for them self + their friends. they give out the releaf supplies here on Wednesday of this week and give us black folks, each one, nothing but a few cans of pickle meet and to white folks they give blankets, bolts of cloth and things like that. I dont want to take to mutch of your time Mr president but will give you just one example of how the releaf is work down here the witto Nancy Hendrics own lands, stock holder in the Bank in this town and she is being supplied with Blankets cloth and gets a supply of cans goods regular this is only one case but I could tell you many.

Please help us mr President because we cant help our self and we know you is the president and a good Christian man we is praying for you. Yours truly cant sign my name Mr President they will beat me up and run me away from here and this is my home


Source | Federal Emergency Relief Administration Central Files and New Subject Files, National Archives; from Robert S. McElvaine, ed., Down & Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man" (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), 83.
Creator | Anonymous
Item Type | Diary/Letter
Cite This document | Anonymous, “A Black American Asks FDR to End Racial Inequalities in Federal Relief,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 23, 2023,

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