Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 47

For example, in Hickok's November 21, 1934 letter, she records her unfiltered feelings about the challenges of providing emergency relief to a city with a complex reception, implementation, and perspective regarding federal programs. Hickok quotes the principal “of a school in one of the most poverty-stricken sections of Baltimore” when describing the conditions of the city: “We give free lunches to the children here—only to those who are the worst off, because we haven’t enough money to feed all those who may be hungry . . . Never have we had enough bread—just plain, dry bread—so that there was enough for each child to have all it could eat! Never has there been even a crust left” (Hickok, One Third 346). Hickok's hidden communication to ER allowed for multiple first-hand accounts of the city to emerge—as both insider and outsider perspectives merged on her pages in joint frustration of the state of child hunger in Baltimore in 1934. In addition to illustrating the pervasive state of poverty in the city schools, Hickok communicates details about her recent meeting in Baltimore with the labor leader, Joseph P. McCurdy, “head of the A. F. L. in Maryland” (Hickok, One Third 346). Again, Hickok paraphrases a local official’s words to convey the urgency of the situation to ER: “[L]awyers generally, he says, are advising them to ignore the NRA and the other New Deal regulations, on the ground that they are un-constitutional, and that industry can go to court and ‘hear the game’” (Hickok, One Third 346). 17 McCurdy explains that “[n]ot five percent of the employers who have been forced to accept [Aid] are living up to it, he says, and none has accepted it without being forced. ‘So far,’ he says, ‘NRA has made about as much dent on industry as a sparrow’s bill could make on an alligator back!’” (Hickok, One Third 346). Hickok also double quotes in the letter, as she repeats McCurdy, who then quotes a department store proprietor: “Hell, NRA don’t mean a thing!” (Hickok, One Third 346), providing a triple layer of historical primary source accounting. Lowitt and Beasley cut the remainder of McCurdy’s words (or rather, Hickok’s re-quoting of McCurdy’s words) in One Third of a Nation, though readers would not know this unless they 17 A. F. L. is an acronym for the American Federation of Labor. The Independent Hall Association summarizes the A. F. of L.'s formation in the United States: “In December of 1886, the same year the Knights of Labor was dealt its fatal blow at Haymarket Square, Gompers met with the leaders of other craft unions to form the American Federation of Labor. The A. F. of L. was a loose grouping of smaller craft unions, such as the masons’ union, the hatmakers’ union or Gompers’s own cigarmakers’ union. Every member of the A. F. of L. was therefore a skilled worker” (“American Federation of Labor”). 42