by xcjingMay 2, 2012
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Between 1929 and 1941, 4,000,000 Americans desperate for food and lodging roamed the land. Of this number, 250,000 were teenagers who rode the rails and grew up fast in speeding boxcars, living in hobo jungles, begging on the streets and running from the police and club-wielding railroad guards.
The restless youth of 3,000 boxcar boys and girls, many who went from “middle-class gentility to scrabble-ass poor” overnight, is recaptured in Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression by Errol Lincoln Uys which weaves together these rich reminiscences and reveals the story of a daring generation of American teenagers who survived some of the hardest times in our nation’s history.
Arvel “Sunshine” Pearson began work as a waterboy in an Arkansas strip mine at the age of 9. By 1929, he had already been working underground for 18 months, when the mine closed. He was 16 when he first rode the rails in 1930 and would continue to hop freights until 1942 as a migrant farm worker in summer and working in coal mines in winter.
“I thought the Depression was going to go on forever. For six or seven years, it didn’t look as though things were getting better. The people in Washington DC said they were, but ask the man on the road? He was hungry and his clothes were ragged and he didn’t have a job. He didn’t think things were picking up.
“ ‘I’m going to keep going,’ I said. ‘Someday I will be able to face people I used to beg for food.’ If I didn’t have hope I would have starved to death by the time I was 17,” says Pearson.
Clarence Lee was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in July 1913, the son of a sharecropper. When Lee was 16, his father could no longer support him. “Go fend for yourself,” he told Lee. For 18 months, Lee hoboed throughout Louisiana riding freight trains up and down the state in what was essentially a search for food to save him from starving. In 1931, he found work on a dairy farm at a wage of 10 cents an hour. With his earnings he was eventually able to buy his parents out of sharecropping servitude for an amount he remembers precisely: $111.40.
News Source: http://www.free-press-release.com/news-whole-really-pinke-and-white-air-max-2012-free-shipping-amerieca-1335944040.html
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