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Hoovervilles: Shanty Towns of The Great Depression
Transcript of Hoovervilles: Shanty Towns of The Great Depression
The materials used to make shelters in Hoovervilles mostly consisted of easily found things the area. Materials could include various metals, glass, wood products, or cardboard. Skilled workers could build better shelters out of materials that could be harder to work with, such as stone. Some of the most basic homes were simply holes dug into the ground with some sort of roof to protect someone from changing weather. Conditions could be unpredictable, so rebuilding shelters was a common chore.
FDR and the New Deal
Example of a Hooverville home
Hooverville in Central Park
What were "Hoovervilles"?
Hoovervilles Get Their Start
Hoovervilles got their name from President Hoover, who at the time was the cause for blame for the nation's sufferings. The first person credited for using the term was Charles Michelson. The creative name stuck and became a title and muse for many artistic representations of life in and around the camp, and the Depression itself. President Hoover's name was used as a derogatory term for more than just the towns. A newspaper used for a blanket was referred to as a "Hoover blanket", "Hoover leather" was cardboard used as a makeshift shoe sole, "hoover wagons" were cars pulled by horses because the owner could not afford the gas for it, etc.
An example of a Hooverville home
FDR Speaks to the Nation
The Dust Bowl's economic casualties
In Popular Culture
John Steinbeck included a stop at a Hooverville on the journey that the Joad family took to find work in California.
Many great pieces of photography came from the struggle of the migrants. One well known photograph in particular shows the hardships that parents went through along with the stress of not being able to provide for their families. The picture depicts a tired looking woman with her children, both hiding their faces.
They were makeshift towns located outside of cities, with the majority being in California. Just like the Joads in
The Grapes of Wrath
, the population known as "Okies" were trying to get by with what little they had. They had come from economic struggle and the Dust Bowl to find work and provide for their families
After President Hoover left office, the nation wanted a man who would be unafraid to take on the challenges that Hoover left behind. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was ready to meet America's needs. Hoovervilles would start to decline in number after he launched the "New Deal"; federal programs designed to get the country's unemployed back to work, lift people's spirits, and overall help the economy.
After the economy began to rise, Hoovervilles across the country started to disappear. By the early 1940's, most were torn down
"Hoovervilles." History.com A E Networks, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 18 Sept. 2014.
"Hoovervilles Across the United States During the Depression." Hoovervilles Across the United States During the Depression. www.LegendsofAmerica.com, 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Great Depression." Dust Bowl Facts. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.