Letter from Mattie Martin to Governor Olin Johnston, February 1935

Printable PDF Version

Additional Flash Versions

Document Description:

Mattie Martin writes a letter to Governor Olin Johnston explaining how impossible it is to farm these days because no one can pay the land rents and taxes on cotton. Because of this she is not able to provide clothes and food for her children. She asks Governor Johnston for him to her letter and to do something about the taxes on cotton.

Citation:

Mattie Martin to Olin D. Johnston, 7 February 1935.  Federal Correspondence.  Governor Olin D. Johnston papers.  South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Transcription:

Feb. 7, 1935

Dear Governor. I received your letter and was glad to hear from you there are a few words I want to tell you this least ministration. Women says that they cant help the people unless they sign a lease loan over they crops this year and they just give this people just as little bit of groceries as they can, there are going around now trying to get the people to sign a lease loan over they crops and they wont help them and I don’t think that is just, try to take peoples crops that they have to work so hard for me and my children has to do all the farming you may say my husband is not able to do any hard work of course he does all he can. We have been farming all our life. The people are going to run all the farmers off the farm taxing them on cotton you can not pay land rents and taxes on cotton governor. These ministration women are giving to some people that would not work for nothing then that needs help cant get it and then that don’t need is the one that gets help. I have asked them for clothes and shoes and boots (sp?) for my children and they wont give me nothing that I ask them for. Me and my famly [sic] is naked and needing shoes to ware [sic], they have been giving us about three dollars worth of groceries every two weeks for seven in family of course it helps but you know that wont feed a family two weeks, it ain’t no use to ask them for nothing because they give to the ones that they want to. It hurts me to my heart to see my poor little children having to go half naked and no shoes to school as hard as we work. We had to pay so much taxes on cotton till time we pay our rent 70 dollars and tax on cotton we don’t have nothing to buy our children a thing to wear. We are in a bad condition and have not got no money to buy nothing with so I will close for this time asking you to answer my letter so good bye.

Address

Mattie Martin Livingson

Number 1 Highway Richland County, Columbia, S.C.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards: 

Standard 3-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the major developments in South Carolina in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century.

Indicator 3-5.5 Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the New Deal on daily life in South Carolina, including the widespread poverty and unemployment and the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Standard 5-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the economic boom-and-bust in America in the 1920s and 1930s, its resultant political instability, and the subsequent worldwide response.

Indicator 5-4.2 Summarize the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, including economic weakness, unemployment, failed banks and businesses, and migration from rural areas.

Standard 8-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of South Carolina’s development during the early twentieth century.

Indicator 8-6.5 Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the lasting impact of New Deal programs on South Carolina, including the Rural Electrification Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration and Public Works Administration building projects, the Social Security Act, and the Santee Cooper electricity project.

Standard USHC-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the economic boom-and-bust in America in the 1920s and 1930s, its resultant political instability, and the subsequent worldwide response.

Indicator USHC-7.4  Explain the causes and effects of the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, including the disparity in incomes, limited government regulation, stock market speculation, and the collapse of the farm economy; wealth distribution, investment, and taxes; government policies and the Federal Reserve System; and the effects of the Depression on human beings and the environment.

Additional Flash Versions:

Martin Letter 1 Martin Letter 1 Martin Letter 3