Federal Writers' Project – Life Histories/2020/Fall/105i/Section 50/Arthur J. Moore

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Arthur J. Moore[edit | edit source]

Arthur J. Moore was born (circa 1920). He was a worked at a laundry press most of his known life. He was born near Camp Greene in North Carolina. He was interviewed by Cora Bennett for the Federal Writers Project in 1938.[1]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Moore grew up in a large family. His mom was from Mississippi and his dad was from Alabama but it's unknown how they ended up here at Camp Greene in Charlotte, North Carolina. His childhood was family owned a small farm and they lived well for country folks. He had a few brothers and sisters finish high school  get good jobs and move away. In the federal writers project he mentions one of his sisters who became a teacher and would help his parents financially at times[2]. He left school in seventh grade pick up a trade but it never worked out because his eye sight went bad. He would then follow his future wife to Mooresville and would eventually marry her and have a baby. In search for a job he attempted to go to Raleigh but instead got a job near Camp Greene in the laundry cleaning and pressing department.[3]

Adult life[edit | edit source]

Moore's job consisted of $6 a week as a presser in a cleaning establishment, some time passed and he found another job with laundry at the cleaning and pressing department where he made $9 a week but also made as much as $40[4]

Moore took out a $2000 loan to purchase a house with his family and life seemed to be at its best. It wasn't until his wife started suggesting remodeling the house or making a new one where he would eventually tear down the whole house. He soon started the expensive reconstruction of a new one. That new house cost about $5000 which wasn't horrible since he had consistent money coming in from work and his wife took a side job on as a maid. Then like most people at the time he fell victim to pay cuts that companies were issuing. His pay fell from $30 to as low as $20 which made it almost impossible for him to live since he had a monthly bill of $15.68 for his house and loan expenses.[5]

He took loans to buy a house for his family and hit hardships when companies started to dish out pay cuts, Moore then fell into depression because he could no longer provide for his family. The working class was controlled by their wages so his life was a solid representation of the average worker who felt hardships during this time. In the end he only had one out of three sons graduate high school because they had no drive, most likely due to the fact they had seen their father was burnt out and just took life as it comes now.[6]

Societal Issues[edit | edit source]

Fears in healthcare by African Americans[edit | edit source]

African Americans were faced with racism in all aspects of life and the healthcare sector was not an exception to that. Black health care activists showed strong distrust against white social services and medical organizations. African American activists had legitimate fear that they would become "guinea pigs" under the care of white organizations. [7]The bias is further shown by public health officials, they only cared about seemingly high rate of disease in black neighborhoods when it threatened the safety of white people.[8]

The Tuskegee Syphilis Trials were another incident that erupted this fear within African Americans. During this trials minorities such as African Americans were tested on like animals with reviews of these trials later showing that there were no “informed signs of consent” amongst the subjects. The study of 1932 was also deemed unethically justified in 1973.[9]

Occupational Mobility for African Americans[edit | edit source]

African Americans were mostly limited to base level entry labor and the introduction of Jim Crow laws made it even more of a challenge for them to get a job. When large groups of African Americans lived near each other a study by the Duke University and the University of Toronto showed that "The median occupational earnings fall by $164 (or 0.25 SD) when blacks live in counties with a completely black population as opposed to counties that are almost exclusively white"  African Americans were making less money amongst themselves as a whole than if they were mixed in with whites highlighting the deficit they are in the workforce.[10]

Furthermore, when the economy was hurt African Americans were the first to feel its downfall. During the great depression the low entry jobs that were previously occupied by them were stripped and given to their white male counterparts. As said by History.com "After the stock market crash of 1929, those entry-level, low paying jobs either disappeared or were filled by whites in need of employment. Also In the manufacturing industries "employment had shrunk to 55% of its labor force in 1926"[11]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Bennett, Ups and Downs
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Calhoun, Tuberculosis, Race, and the Delivery of Health Care in Harlem, 80.
  8. Ardelt, Social Crisis and Individual Growth.
  9. Barrett, Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932–1973 and the Rise of Bioethics as shown through Government Documents and Actions.
  10. Ruef, Jim Crow, Ethnic Enclaves, and Status Attainment: Occupational Mobility among U.S. Blacks, 1880–1940. 814.
  11. Klein, Last Hired, First Fired: How the Great Depression Affected African Americans.

Works Cited[edit | edit source]

Folder 291: Bennett, Cora (interview): Arthur J. Moore "Ups and Downs", in the Federal Writers' Project papers #3709, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Calhoon, Claudia Marie. 2001. “Tuberculosis, Race, and the Delivery of Health Care in Harlem, 1922-1939.” Radical History Review, no. 80 (Summer): 101. doi:10.1215/01636545-2001-80-101.

Ardelt, Monika. 1998. “Social Crisis and Individual Growth: The Long-Term Effects of the Great Depression.” Journal of Aging Studies 12 (3): 291. doi:10.1016/S0890-4065(98)90005-6.

Ruef, Martin, and Angelina Grig3oryeva. 2018. “Jim Crow, Ethnic Enclaves, and Status Attainment: Occupational Mobility among U.S. Blacks, 1880–1940.” American Journal of Sociology 124 (3): 814–59. doi:10.1086/701020.

Klein,Christoper. “Last Hired, First Fired: How the Great Depression Affected African Americans” History.com Accessed September 28, 2020. https://www.history.com/news/last-hired-first-fired-how-the-great-depression-affected-african-americans            

Barrett, Laura A. "Tuskegee Syphilis Study of 1932–1973 and the Rise of Bioethics as shown through Government Documents and Actions." Dttp (College Park, Md.) 47, no. 4 (2019): 11.