Same Old Deal

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David Beito has dug up some wonderful historical artifacts: anti-New Deal cartoons from The Chicago Defender, the leading black paper in the 1930s. Today he posted one of them on the Liberty & Power site.

Damon Root explained why a black American might not care for Franklin Roosevelt's reforms in the October Reason.

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  1. Jesse Walker,

    That’s interesting in light of the “Great Migration” that took place during the period.

  2. Thanks for the kudos. More cartoons are soon to follow. FYI, this is getting some interesting comments at LRC blog.

  3. It?s not surprising that cartoons from the Chicago Defender in the thirties attacked Roosevelt. In 1932, blacks in northern cities like Chicago were strongly Republican. In 1932, Roosevelt received only 21% of the vote in black districts in Chicago; in Cleveland, only 17.3%, and in Detroit, 31%. But what a difference four years makes! In 1936, Roosevelt took 48.8% of the black vote in Chicago, 60% in Cleveland, and 66.2% in Detroit. Nancy J. Weiss tells the story in her excellent book, Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR. As for economic policies, W.E.B. DuBois explains it in a way even libertarians can understand: ?Large numbers of colored people would have starved to death if it had not been for the Roosevelt policies.? Roy Wilkins said that blacks responded to Roosevelt?s policies on a class basis. Middle-class blacks supported the Republicans, while the working class went for Roosevelt. And since blacks in the thirties were overwhelmingly working class?and at the very bottom of the working class?the math was simple. A Fortune poll in 1938 found that 75% of ?poor? Americans favored Roosevelt?s policies, while 84.7% of blacks did. And, by the way, in 1940, the Chicago Defender, after the death of long-time editor Robert Abbott, slid into the Democratic column as well.

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