52a-Serrapede Family in America: The Great Depression, Part 1

Introduction

Josie Muro married Sam Serrapede on March 2, 1930. Their daughter Emily Leatrice was born on April 18, 1931. At some point after Emily’s birth the family moved from Bath Beach, Brooklyn to Dyker Heights. To better understand what their lives were like during the Great Depression, we are going to take a look at the everyday life of the 1930s using articles from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the postings after this one. Our goal is to see how family stories match up to the events reported in the news of the day. There is great benefit to using the newspapers of the time period under review: we get to “hear” the voices of the era. Since the publications of any time period lack the kind of filters a contemporary author might put in, we have a more direct contact with the past and the mindset of that time. We are also going to use reading material from current sources that provide additional information and insight into what we find in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and our family stories.

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “The 1930s” or “The Great Depression of the 1930s”? Be honest as you think on this question. Uncle Sammy and I will share our thoughts after this brief overview on events leading up to the Great Depression.

Overview on what caused the Great Depression

The Roaring ‘20s are commonly thought to have been an era of great prosperity. They are depicted in movies as times when women and men mingled more freely than previous generations. Money was easy to come by and everyone had a good time. But that is what has come down in popular culture. The income inequalities and differences between the haves and have-nots were masked by the low unemployment rate throughout the decade.

There was hardship among farmers who lost their overseas markets at the end of WWI. Bad weather, drought and dust storms also affected the ability of the farmers to make a living. Food prices declined adding to the hardships they had to sustain. Continue reading

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