The government set up a huge public works program to provide jobs, but male workers were usually the first to be hired.
In addition, Congress passed a law establishing minimum wages and maximum hours, and many women workers got pay raises as a result.
This law, however, excluded domestics and agricultural workers, meaning most women of color.
Many African American women in cities organized housewives’ leagues and used their buying power to support black businesses and firms that hired black workers.
Their efforts grew into a national “Buy Where You Can Work” campaign to force businesses to hire African Americans.
A photograph by Dorothea Lange, taken in 1938, showed a young California farm worker at a rally for strikers, who were trying to raise their wages from 75 cents to 90 cents for picking 100 pounds of cotton.