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industrialization in the state,such as Baton Rouge where oil and chemical factories were increasing the city’s population and employment opportunities.It took until the Second World War before the branches in Louisiana embraced their wider role in the economic sphere, and then it tended to be with teachers’salary equalization, which could be seen as an extension of the NAACP educational policy and attacks on Jim Crow rather than a strictly economic agenda. Indeed most of the branches in the state continued their push for political and civil rights and assumed that further opportunities would follow once these were secured.23 An exception to this rule was the Louisiana Farm Tenant Security Project. This was an“agricultural infiltration”scheme“for the resettlement of destitute or low-income farm tenant families.” The NAACP annual report explained: “In June , colored people in the Transylvania Project were notified that their land,some of which they had occupied since the Civil War, would be allocated to white settlers and that the colored people would be assigned to land in Thomaston thirty miles away.There were about  Negro families in the community and more than $, had been invested in a church and school. The colored people also had invested considerable money in improving their property .” In  the Transylvania NAACP branch was organized but was not successful in defending the black farmers and “the eviction of the Negro settlers was carried out.” The best that the NAACP could do, mainly by instigation of the Washington, D.C., branch, was to mitigate the disaster by revision of the “terms of the removal.” In this manner a settled black community was destroyed and NAACP branches were reacting to preserve a rural community from discriminatory implementation of New Deal policies by Louisiana’s state officials.24 The Monroe branch did endeavor to initiate a strategy that was based on both political and economic rights during the s. The branch had a “live and active Unemployment Committee,” which, it claimed, was“doing some tangible work, by which the colored people here are greatly benefited.”The actual details remain vague as to what the committee did and it seems either to have been an employment agency of sorts or merely a recording bureau. For example, the branch organized aid with regard to a flood in Ouachita Parish and documented subsequent peonage cases. The Baton Rouge branch had sim-  LEE SARTAIN 1VERNEY_pages:Layout 1 10/7/09 11:54 AM Page 130 ilar concerns for the black situation in agricultural areas: “Especially apropos is the Mississippi Flood Control project fight which we are waging. We are making every effort to get a thorough-going investigation of the exploitation of the Negroes employed in this project, both as to treatment and wages.”After the Mississippi River broke its banks in  black sharecroppers were in virtual peonage rebuilding flood controls.The NAACP nationally made propaganda from the fact that federal government organized work was discriminatory toward blacks. It was only in  under the Public Works Administration that black laborers had their hours limited and acquired a wage increase.25 The Monroe branch’s unemployment committee does not seem to have had a prolonged life and the chapter generally followed conventional NAACP campaigning, such as publicizing local racial injustices and raising funds. However, the idea of a new economic strategy was in the mind of its president, C. H. Myers, who wrote to Walter White in  asking,“what [do] you think about Union labor and the Negro, some thing must be done along those lines.” No reply was found on this topic. Louisiana NAACP branches in the s, as a rule, pursued established practices in campaigning and increased their operations on registration drives and in gaining access to the ballot. It was believed that having the vote would increase access to political channels and, in turn, black interests would have to be acknowledged and acted upon. Therefore the ballot would effectively redress racial injustices and give blacks greater influence over New Deal agencies. Radical economic theory was not on the agenda in the NAACP; access and influence to the levers of political power were.26 Similarly Mrs. Dupuy of Baton Rouge reported in the early s on an employment campaign to get more blacks employed at“Sears Roe Buck” department store and to secure skilled jobs for carpenters and painters at the local company “Harding Field.” It also investigated defense jobs available in the city and reported that with “all these contracts not...


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