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Racism and Beyond: A New Deal for All?

American history is deeply scarred by racial oppression and injustice, and the New Deal did not escape the imprint of the prevailing racial order at the high tide of Jim Crow and “scientific” racism. FDR proclaimed “a New Deal for all Americans”, but his administration sometimes failed to purge racism from its programs. Nevertheless, blanket condemnation of the New Deal as racist or exclusionary is wrong, because many of its programs did a great deal of good for racialized Americans. Furthermore, the New Deal took serious steps to include other marginalized groups in its benefits, such as the disabled, women, seniors, refugees and impoverished children. In this section, we look at some of the New Deal efforts to help all Americans in the 1930s.

Living New Deal. Still Working for America.