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May 12, 1933


Federal Relief Act passed, No Local Needs Seen

News Stories Editorials Advertising Charlottesville: A Safe Haven

In light of the passage of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and other related legislation on May 12, 1933, the news staff at The Daily Progress chose to follow the trend of the national news and run a large Associated Press story about the new national legislation at the top of the page under the headline, "Plan to Restore Farm Prosperity Under Way: Aimed to Adjust Production and Increase Prices." The story, based out of Washington, addresses the crises plaguing farms across the nation and their difficult financial states in the world of financial crisis.

In addition to this legislative piece, the newspaper addresses the concerns of others across the nation including a piece on farm strikes which were to begin in Chicago on May 13. The story addresses a problem in Chicago where a group named the Farmer's Holiday Association endorsed a Farm Holiday in a trend which was apparently not copied in the Charlottesville/Albemarle farming community.

There are, however, no articles devoted to how the financial crises affecting farms across the country at this time might be causing problems for local Albemarle County farmers. Instead, the rest of the news of the day focuses primarily on a local government official who is charged with income tax evasion and a small story on the development in the case of the kidnapped Lindbergh baby.

While there was not much emphasis placed on the legislative actions concerning farming on May 12, 1933, there was a relevant editorial in The Daily Progress on May 13, arguing against raising prices to help farmers. Under the title, "The Necessary of Care in Price Raising," the editorial argues against the raising in prices of farm and other goods even though it would raise the wages of these laborers. The editorial warns that, "Along with increased wages must come a similar increase in prices." From the view of the editorialists, then, "some are forced to look upon the growing change with uneasiness."

Instead, The Daily Progress argues for the gradual increase in wages, but not as high -- they say -- as some others would like. In this editorial, the newspaper is arguing directly against any idea to increase wages; in this way, they say, the proper pricing scheme of manufactured goods and farmed goods can remain at a stable level for consumers who wish to continue buying at a normal rate. But other than this lone editorial, there is no mention on these pages of the farm crisis as it may relate to any farms in the Albemarle County area.

It might prove significant to note that during the time of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and other legislation around May 12, 1933, there is very little effect in the advertising of the newspaper. The merchants report similar "low" prices in all of their goods, food and other items. There is absolutely no mention of any effects of the nation's farm difficulties being felt in Charlottesville. Prices are still said to be quite reasonable, although many ads (as was the trend was at the time) encourage consumers to spend "wisely" and "read the newspaper for the best buys" as one Daily Progress public service announcement read on May 13.

During the time of the passage of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and other farming legislation around the time period of May 12, 1933, there was relatively little mention of how this might affect the enclosed community of Charlottesville. There were virtually no local stories regarding how this might affect local farms near and in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The editors in the editorials seemed detached from the crisis in writing about farming crises in Chicago and other areas of the nation as well.

In addition, The Daily Progress seemed to even sound cautious in helping these farm workers and other laborers with wage increases. In a truly conservative fashion, as if from the mouths of people supported by the establishment of old money, the newspaper's editorial staff spoke out against raising the wages of these workers; they even admitted that they wanted to be cautious about this because of how it would raise prices for those who had money -- like many in Charlottesville -- who still were looking to be major purchasers. This editorial made a broad statement about the situation in Charlottesville; the citizens did not have to be concerned about the common worker; they only wanted to protect their own buying power since they were living lives sheltered from this economic crisis. They did not seem to want this fortune hurt by having to raise prices to support higher wages.

Inside This Edition: Reporting on Key Dates in the Depression

October 29, 1929: Stock Market Crash March 4, 1933: FDR Innaugurated March 5, 1933: FDR declares 'bank holiday' March 9, 1933: Emergency Banking Bill passed May 12, 1933: Federal Emergency Relief Act passed December 5, 1933: Repeal of Prohibition
May 6, 1935: WPA established August 14, 1935 Social Security Act passed November 3, 1936: FDR re-elected February 3, 1937: National Guard prepared to strike workers in Flint, Michigan September 16, 1940: Selective Service Act passed December 7, 1941: Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor


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