John P. Davis: “A Black Inventory of the New Deal”

(1935)

John Preston Davis’s essay “A Black Inventory of the New Deal” is a scathing indictment of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s early programs to combat the economic woes of the Great Depression. Published in May of 1935 in The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), this essay challenged African Americans to create their own solutions to their dire economic situation rather than relying on a government that had systematically failed to come through for them.

Davis’s essay was published at the time of a conference held at...

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Sharecropping families evicted for membership in the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (Library of Congress)

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