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The Great Depression challenged Americans not just with horrifically high unemployment, but ideological divides not utterly unlike the ones we face today. Today, poll after poll show the country deeply split on major issues. Racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise. Back then, the labor movement was burgeoning; so was membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Rampant anti-Semitism informed powerful public figures such as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, and millions of people listened as Father Charles Coughlin railed against immigrants and in favor of fascism in his weekly radio broadcasts. Meanwhile, black people were excluded from segregated soup kitchens as African American unemployment hovered around 50 percent.

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