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  FATHER COUGHLIN, HUEY LONG, & UPTON SINCLAIR; VOICES FOR THE DISAFFECTED IN 1930s AMERICA

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INTRODUCTION

Unlike Hasting's frugal family who fought off the depression, others were not so fortunate and some out of desperation looked to the Federal government, and even FDR personally, for an answer, as suggested from this excerpted letter, and indeed the the many letters, compiled by historian Robert S. McElvaine in his book, Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man:

Lawndale, California
Feb. 1-34

Most Honorable President:

I am writing you this morning in all faiths, that if I can get word to you of our horrible plight you might not pass it by unnoticed.

I am a mother of seven children, and utterly heart broken, in that they are hungry, have only 65 (enter cent sign here) in money, The father is in L.A. trying to find something to do,--provisions all gone--at this writing--no meat, milk--sugar--in fact, about enough flour for bread two meals--and that's all, I have two children in High School--and our pride isn't all gone, our story is this--and if we have a chance we can care for ourselves and be happy.


We have a boy 17 yrs. old who is capable of holding a good position as a musician, is an excellent French Horn player, I have been told by good musicians he is a professional now. There is a job he could have had a while ago in the C.W.A. program of music that would help us out. but this is being handled thru county we could not take advantage of it, having not been here a year.


. . . O, President, my heart is breaking, as I see him go from home with half enough to eat, and go all day with out a bite of lunch, to be sure he could beg his lunch but he's to proud to beg as long as he can help it, and I have spent the day yesterday praying God to help me bear this, and as I tried to prepare their very scarce breakfast, {illegible} that came if only the President could know he would help you to help your selves, and on this impulse I try to tell you. . . . O, what a burden and how helpless I am, how proud I am of my children, and how dark a future under this condition.


Their father is 62 yrs. old--a preacher a good carpenter--a saw-filer--but Industry won't hire a man This age, scarcely, even if they are strong in body, and he has no church to preach in--so--


O, surely there's a place for us in the world. . . .


I humbly pray God's Divine blessing on you, for you have tried every way to help the people.


Very Sincerely,

Mrs. I. H.

(McElvaine 57-58)

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