Poverty on Top of Depression


A photograph of one of the many shacks built by and for the victims of the failed economy. These shacks were built in parks nationwide during the depression and were called “Homerville’s”


These two photographs illustrate the struggles that the average American people had to endure during the great depression. After the economic bubble burst, many Americans had lost their jobs as well as their savings that were kept in the bank. When the smoke cleared, about 25% of American’s were left unemployed and impoverished. Some unlucky Americans even lost their houses and were left homeless. The homeless went to parks and built shacks out of scrap metal and any other materials that they could find. These shantytowns were called Hooverville’s, named after president Hoover because many Americans blamed Hoover for the occurrence of the depression. In order to aid many of the poverty stricken people who could not afford food, soup kitchens opened up nationwide to supply the poor with food. People would wait on line all day in order to get a piece of bread and a bowl of soup.


Having no choices

A jobseeker adopts the same strategy in New York during the Great Depression

A shanty town within Central Park, New York. The huts were designed with the idea that they'd been built out of everyday objects

After the stock market crash of October 1929 in New York, million people lost their jobs. Jobseekers started to stand on street with a cardboard which depicts the basic information of them. However, the unemployment rate was increasing and those jobseekers could not still afford their renting and housing. As a result, they used some trash to build huts and settled the huts to form a town, called “Hooverville” because they believed President Hoover’s policies lead the nation into depression.


The times are hard…

A "Hooverville" home, located in a shanty town during the late 20s early 30's.

A bread line during the Great Depression.

The first photo shows a house made of salvaged boards and planks that poor Americans who lost everything during the Depression lived in.  Many families lost all of their money in the stock market and were left homeless, so they moved into parks, under bridges and into the woods where they formed little communities.  These towns became known as Hooverville’s, because many people blamed the President (Herbert Hoover) for the economic collapse.  These communities began popping up all over the nation as more and more of its citizens fell upon desperate times.  The second photo shows a bread line in a major city.  In an attempt to provide some relief, the government provided food to the most needy of its citizens.  Bread, stew, soup and water were the most common commodities handed out to starving men women and children.  It was not uncommon to see thousands of people waiting on one of these lines hoping to get a few scraps of food to get them through the day, because they did not know when their next meal might be.



Hooverwille a place filled with poor people who are forced to live in shacks because of the great depression.


During the great depression things got really difficult for people. Million of people started to lose their jobs and everyone who suffered. Since many became jobless soup kitchens popped up everywhere in order to feed the people as much as they can. The people started to also build their own houses out of cardboard and wood called shacks, and later on became known as Hooverville. Everyone was affected by the Great Depression especially the children. The children had to stop going to school to help provide for their family.


Will we ever learn?

This photograph (taken in 1933) depicts a shantytown in Seattle known as Hooverville. Shantytowns sprang up all over America housing thousands of unemployed families.

This is a wonderful video produced by PBS in the Cosmopolis series. It summarizes the speculation and activities of stock brokers before Black Tuesday as well as the aftereffects. PBS used great archival materials, including photographs, audio, and video from 1929.

The photograph depicts the dire consequences of American (humans in general) greed. The smoke in the background symbolizes the hell that the persons in the foreground will face. Furthermore the black & white nature of the photograph adds a feeling of lost hope, capturing this moment in America’s history perfectly. Contrarily, the video describes a major cause of the great depression and has tons of outstanding material however it fails to portray the chaos and solemn reality of the Great Depression due to it’s focus on videos and pictures of the mass, thus not allowing the viewer to sympathize with an individual. However it does get the point across, I just wonder if the federal reserve and banking institutions ever heard of this mysterious event that occurred in 1929…


The Not-so-great Depression

This is a "town" of shacks in Central Park, called a Hooverville. (From http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/centralparkhooverv.jpg)

This is a “town” of shacks in Central Park, called a Hooverville. (From http://ephemeralnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/centralparkhooverv.jpg)

During The Great Depression conditions in America were horrible. Now, I know we think we had it bad the past few years, but that does not even compare to how bad it was in the early 20th century. Most people had no work. Now, I am not strictly talking about unskilled workers, but rather many professionals did not have work as well. Everyone was looking for jobs and nobody was able to support their family. In order to even attain some food people would wait on these breadlines. The lines were hundreds, or thousands, of people lined up waiting to get a small portion of food given out for free. This is what a majority of America had to resort too. People couldn’t afford housing either. Some lived in cardboard boxes. and others lived in houses that were not much better. Shown in the picture is a village of tiny, dinky shacks that was set up in New York’s Central Park. While nearly impossible, I hope the two pictures that I posted give you an idea of the poverty present in The Great Depression.

This is a breadline where people can come and get free food. (From http://dailycapitalist.com/2009/06/24/the-great-depression-a-short-history/)

This is a breadline where people can come and get free food. (From http://dailycapitalist.com/2009/06/24/the-great-depression-a-short-history/)