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The New Deal marked an important shift in the American electoral landscape as significant numbers of African-Americans gave their votes to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party for the first time, establishing a political loyalty that has endured for roughly seventy years. New Deal recovery and relief programs rapidly became a central element in blacks' endeavors to survive the harsh economic realities of the Depression. One of these programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps, provided more than a quarter of a million young black men with jobs and was consequently another arena in which the black community waged the struggle for greater equality.
This lesson explores that struggle and its implications for the New Deal's impact on American society; it examines a series of documents written by New Deal officials, including the President that concerned black CCC workers. It also considers documents that present the CCC from the perspective of black participants and observers. Drawing on other background readings and the diversity of views that these documents reflect, students will analyze the impact of this New Deal program on race relations in America and assess the role played by the New Deal in changing them.
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