Freedom School Class – Thursday, April 3 – Social Movements and The Great Depression

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Join us for class this Thursday. Dinner will be served at 6:00pm and class will run from 6:30-8:00

We will discuss the social movements that rose from and defined the Great Depression of the 1930s. While much history that is taught about the 1930s deals with President FDR and federal relief programs, the human element is often left out of this narrative. The decade witnessed the rise of a massive industrial workers movement and an unemployed workers movement. Building off of the industrial unionism of the IWW, the CIO was formed as a rival labor federation to the AFL. The Communist Party grew in the 1930s and became a vibrant political force in places like Alabama, Harlem, and Chicago. In 1934 there were four major strikes in Appalachia, Toledo, Minneapolis and on the West Coast that were referred to by some as labor rebellions. Organizations formed to fight foreclosures of homes and farms and were successful in forcing over thirty state governments to declare a moratorium on foreclosures. Although the economic crisis of the decade brought misery and suffering to millions of people, it was also a time of renewed political activism as millions joined movements for a better nation and a better world.

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Part of class will also be reserved for an interactive discussion and role play where students will play the roles of activists and individuals in Utica during the depression and figure out how to effectively organize to change a city that is on the brink of disaster.

As always, we will ask, “So how is this history relevant to us today?” This is an important question given that we find this nation still reeling from the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008.

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