Only FDR understood ‘my boss is a son-of-a-bitch’

“Roosevelt excelled in evoking the hatred of the privileged and the admiration of ordinary Americans. During the Depression, a North Carolina farmer declared, in all sincerity,  ‘I’m proud of our United States, and every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner” I feel a lump in my throat. There ain’t no other nation in the world that would have sense enough to think of WPA and all the other A’s’….

“A North Carolina mill worker was pungent in his praise: ‘Mr. Roosevelt is the only man we ever had in the White House who would understand that my boss is a son-of-a-bitch.’ ”

— From “Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States” by Michael Lind (2012)


Banks succumb to ‘panic-stricken’ depositors

On this day in 1930: Fay Gardner, wife of Gov. O. Max Gardner writes in her diary about the worsening Depression: “A run made today on Commercial Bank here in Raleigh, also on the 1st National at Gastonia. Everybody losing confidence and becoming panic-stricken.”

The next day’s entry notes that “eleven banks closed their doors today.”

Before the year is out, 93 banks across the state will have gone under.

Presidential visit fails to brighten mood

On this day in 1930: President Herbert Hoover visits the textile town of Kings Mountain for the 150th anniversary of the nearby Battle of Kings Mountain, a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

Thousands watch from the curb, store windows and rooftops as the president and first lady Lou Henry Hoover, accompanied by no visible security personnel, ride slowly past in an open convertible.

At the battleground, 8 miles away in York County, S.C., Hoover makes a 22-minute talk before a crowd estimated at 75,000.

The Charlotte Observer reports that President Hoover, showing the “cares of his office,” indirectly responds to charges that he hasn’t done anything to ease the Great Depression precipitated by last year’s stock market crash.

He compares “the material well-being of the United States with that of other nations of the world,” pointing out that twice as many Americans own homes as Europeans and seven times as many own cars.

A lone heckler yells, “Well, Hoover, all us jackasses are here to get our hay.” Nobody laughs, and Hoover doesn’t respond.