Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies


Blanche Wiesen Cook

Subject Categories

History of Gender | Labor History | United States History | Women's History


Great Depression, African American, Women, Gender, Great Migration, New Deal


This project explores whether African American women met similar public sentiments as Caucasian women during the Depression Era and how gender dynamics changed within African American households in urban America as well as the effect of the crisis on a populace that was not new to the work force. Historical statistical analysis and emphasis on labor policy are used to garner information. The Great Depression sparked an abrupt shift in not only the American economy but also American ideology regarding male and female gender dynamics. Despite discouragement from entering the workforce due to dominant masculinity, employment rates rose amongst Caucasian women. African American women, on the other hand, had been in the public employment sector prior to the Depression. African American women have always been working. Family dynamics within Caucasian households changed drastically. This project will explore if a similar shift occurred in African American familial structure. The Great Depression was a widespread crisis felt by millions. African American women were the most significantly and harshly affected.