72 artists, 3895 songs
The Great Depression was a period of intense hardship in American history. Events including the 1929 “Black Friday” stock market crash and the formation of the Southern Plain’s Dust Bowl in the 1930s resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs. In search of a better life, many Americans migrated to new locations, such as California. While musicians like Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly captured stories of struggle and delivered encouraging messages of hope and strength through politically radical songs filled with social commentary, other artists such as Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman performed entertaining, upbeat music to distract people from their troubles. Through their music, these musicians helped people survive the hardships of the Great Depression.