Federal Writers' Project – Life Histories/2021/Fall/Section010/George Harmon Kirby

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Overview[edit | edit source]

George Harmon Kirby was a man from Summer Springs who worked as a bus driver for the Jacksonville Traction Company in Jacksonville, Florida. Kirby was interviewed by Lillian Stedman during the mid 1900's for the Federal Writers' Project.

Biography[edit | edit source]

George Harmon Kirby also known as James Kerby Ward, was a white man born in a small-town name Togo and raised in Summer Springs. As the years passed, he eventually moved to Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and started a family. Kirby married his childhood sweetheart whom he had three kids with, one boy, and two younger girls.  Since 1918, for twenty years, George Harmon Kirby had worked for the Traction Company as a bus driver. Kirby and his family were socially involved in the community as they went to church, attended and/ or participated in school events, and voted.

Family Life[edit | edit source]

George Harmon Kirby also known as James Kerby Ward, was a white man born on a farm, in a small-town name Togo and raised in Summer Springs. Kirby met his wife through his parents and got together when they were young. After three years of being in a relationship, they got married in 1913. As the years passed, Kirby eventually moved to Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and started a family. Kirby ended up having three kids, William, Genola, and Rachel. The youngest daughter, Rachel had health complications which became a financial burden for the Kirby family. Luckily for Kirby, he was financially responsible which helped him maintain a well-furnished home and have his kids in school. Kirby and his family were socially involved in the community as they went to church, attended and/ or participated in school events, and voted.

Working Life[edit | edit source]

Since 1918, for twenty years, George Harmon Kirby had worked for the Traction Company as a bus driver. Kirby began working for forty-eight cents per day and his highest pay came to be fifty-three cents per hour. He claimed that during The Great Depression, his pay dropped two cents or more per hour. Kirby was considered a liberal bus driver and believed racial divisions should have been removed from transportation services since they were unnecessary and irrelevant. He considered himself to be an old-fashioned Democrat, who always kept his political opinions private to himself.

Social Context[edit | edit source]

Economic Hardships[edit | edit source]

Racial Segregation[edit | edit source]

Healthcare[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

❊ Cole, Harold L., and Lee E. Ohanian. 2004 “New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis.” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 112, no. 4, The University of Chicago Press, pp. 779–816, https://doi.org/10.1086/421169.

❊ Dictionary of American History Encyclopedia “Democratic Coalition 1933-1941”. 22 Sep.

2021.” Encyclopedia.com  https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/united-states-and-canada/us-history/big-business.

❊ Faber, Jacob W. 2020 “We Built THIS: Consequences of New Deal Era Intervention in America's Racial Geography” SAGE Journals. Accessed September 30, 2021. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0003122420948464.

❊ Fox, Daniel M. 2014 “Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930 by Beatrix HOFFMAN (REVIEW).” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Press  https://muse.jhu.edu/article/542615.

❊ History.com 2009. “Great depression history” History.com https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/great-depression-history.