United States and American History: 1929

About the history of the United States in 1929, labor problems in the south, first garden community, St. Valentine's Day massacre, 60% below poverty level.


--The South was the scene of much labor discontent. Southern textile manufacturers had erected mills there, thus making use of the large supply of nonunion labor. In addition, northern textile manufacturers were attracted to the South by special tax exemptions, abundant water power and lenient laws whereby the 72-hour workweek was not unusual, and women and children worked nights. Union organizers urged textile workers to strike for the 40-hour week and for a $20 per week minimum wage. At Gastonia, N.C., numerous clashes occurred between militant union organizations, the local companies, and local police. Several were killed and the guilty were sentenced to the State's prison. One striking southern textile worker remarked: "I ain't a-feared of Hell. I've spent 20 summers in the mills."

--Middletown, by Robert S. and Helen Lynd of Columbia University, surveyed the town of Muncie, Ind., and substantiated the tendencies toward conformity in U.S. society.

--The 1st American experiment in the creation of a garden community was attempted in Radburn, N.J. Homes, parks, schools, playgrounds, safe walks without traffic crossings were set amid natural surroundings for the health, safety, and aesthetic pleasure of the residents.

Feb. 14 Fourteen members of Bugs Moran's North Siders were shot to death in a warehouse on Clark Street in Chicago on orders from Al Capone in what became known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Sept. A study revealed that 60% of U.S. citizens had annual incomes of less than $2,000, which was estimated as the bare minimum to supply the basic necessities of life.

Oct. 24 On Wall Street, the N.Y. Stock Exchange recorded some unusually large sales of Kennecott Copper and General Motors stock. Brokers asked why, talked to their clients, and by 11 A.M. stock prices had plunged dramatically, reflecting a sellers' panic. Shortly after 12 noon, 5 of New York's leading bankers met with Thomas W. Lamont of J. P. Morgan & Co. and raised a $240 million emergency fund to steady the market. The effect was temporarily encouraging, yet doubt and fear continued to pervade the market, and panic took over within a few days. Stocks dropped $40, $50, and even $60 per share on Tuesday the 29th. Prices continued to drop thereafter. Dec. When President Hoover was inaugurated in March, 1929, the future had appeared bright for a prosperous America. By December of this same year, businessmen and farmers were facing the most difficult crisis in U.S. business history.

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