Creating Economic Citizenship: The Depression and The New Deal 41 LESSON 3
Akron, Ohio My Dear Mrs Roosevelt: February 1936 I thought I would write a letter hoping you would find time to read it, and if you thought it was worth answering it, I would be glad of any ad- vise you would care to give me. A few weeks ago, I heard your talk over the air, on the subject of the Old age pension, and I got to thinking what a blessing it would be to my mother, if it was possible for her to receive that pension, if the bill should pass. My mother has been in this country since April 1914 but she has never made herself a American Citizen, as she was sixty years old when she came here, and now she is eighty… …I thought as long as I lived there was no need to worry about her be- ing taken care of, but I never dreamed of a depression like we have had well it has changed the whole course of our lives we have suffered, and no one knows but our own family…and we have had the awfullest time trying to get the bare necessary things in life. I am in no position to do the right thing for mother, I cant give her any- thing but her living but I thought if it was possible for her to get that pen- sion it would be like a gift from heaven, as in all the years she has been in this country she has never had a dollar of her own… Mrs. Roosevelt you might think I have lots of nerve writing to you when you have so much to attend to but I could not help admiring you for the splendid way you talked about the old people of this nation I feel sorry for all of them, they seem to be forgotten, and most young people think they have had there day and should be glad to die. but this is not my idea, I think that their last few years should be made as plesant for them as possible….Well whither my mother ever gets anything or not, I hope all the other old people that is intilted to it gets it soon, because there is nothing sadder than old people who have struggled hard all there lives to give there family a start in life, then to be forgotten, when they them self need it most… Yours Respectfully, Mrs. J.S. Akron, Ohio Source: McElvaine, pp.99-100 42 Lessons in United States History
Dear Mr. President: Along with my brethren of the clergy I wish to reply to your courteous letter asking our contribution of thought for the welfare of the nation. Conditions are much better among the people whom I serve and whom I observe [in] this section. Practically all of the jobless in our large congre- gation are again employed. The unemployment situation is much better throughout our community. There is a new spirit of optimism and I feel with others that perhaps the depression conditions are passing. Some kind of an old age pension is becoming absolutely necessary.
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