The Great Depression: Transient Men

During the Great Depression many men were forced to leave home to find work where they could.


While the Depression brought many families closer together, it tore others apart. Many men took to the roads; riding the rails from one town to the next in search for jobs. They worked at medial jobs in return for a warm meal.

(song) After I got out of the CC Camp I rode freight trains, I followed the harvest. There were times then that even following the harvest that there were more workers than there were jobs available. When a job was offered to you, you didn’t ask them how much or when, you said I’ll take it. There were so many people on the road at this time that the government felt there had to be some provision for them to try to get them stabilized to get them off of the freight trains. The government set up a group of transient camps. Transient camps might be considered as a wait station for a great many of us, but the idea behind the transient camp was to get you off the road, get you settled down, give you something decent to eat, give you some decent clothes, give you a chance to rest and to find a little self respect.

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