Viewing page 5 of 9


Because wherever the Negroes turn, they find that they are in even worse straits than the white workers. 

Because more of their numbers, in proportion to the percentage of the population, are jobless than the whites. Because in every industry, in every factory, they are the first to be turned away and the last to be taken on.

Because the relief agencies Jim-Crow the Negro workers, degrade them, and in many cases slam the door in their faces altogether. 

Because, whatever crust of charity is thrown out, the last and least of the crumbs fall to their lot.

Because, in addition to hunger and misery, the Negro unemployed are forced to suffer the extra yoke of special discriminations in the form of lynching, segregation, an extra measure of abuse, and intensified terrorism. 


In the large cities, the rate of unemployment among Negroes is admitted even by the city authorities-who are interested in concealing the true state of affairs-to be twice, three times and four or more times as high as the rate of white unemployment.

In Harlem, New York, sixty-four out of every hundred men are out of work. And four out of five heads of families are jobless. In Baltimore, Negroes form seventeen percent of the population, but are 31.5 percent of the unemployed. In Charleston, South Carolina, half of the population are Negroes, but the Negroes form seventy percent of the unemployed. In the steel and metal center of Youngstown, Ohio, Negroes from two-thirds of all


the unemployed. Over 90 percent of the Negro workers in Newark are out of jobs.

Why the discrimination against Negro workers?

The national oppression of the Negroes in America serves the white bosses and landlords-the real rulers of the country-in two ways. It lets them make bigger profits by having a section of the workers that they can pay even more miserably, work even longer, than other workers. Also, this discrimination is designed to keep Negro and white workers from getting together and fighting their common enemy, the white bosses, for bread and work and the fight to live.

The director of the Community Chest in Birmingham reports that while in 1928 and 1929, twenty percent of those applying for relief were Negroes, by 1932 this proportion increased to 65 percent. This shows that Negroes were thrown out of industry at a much faster rate than white worker-that the crisis and the resulting unemployment have been felt more sharply by Negroes.

But not only are the Negroes the first to be laid off-they are also being replaced by white workers in the jobs that do exist. The bosses hope in this way to divide the Negro and white workers through petty bribes to the whites.

In the past, certain jobs have been recognized as traditionally "jobs for Negroes." These were, of course, the worst jobs, carrying them the most disagreeable work, the longest hours and the least pay.

Today, white workers are being used, in many instances, to lower still further the conditions of the Negroes and

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact