By Ken Poland on January 31, 2013
I think the maximum SS deduction for the year was $78. And there were complaints that those my age would never draw a dime of it back. Farm labor, self employed farmers, and, I think other self employed folks were not eligible to be covered by SS. There were very few non union jobs that provided health insurance or retirement benefits. Workers in large manufacturing and production factories had successfully organized and had raised the standard of living for a significant number of laborers, but the small companies and employers were free to hire and fire at will and paid only what they had to to keep help. Union wages were a positive influence, even for those without union representation. And believe it or not, businesses flourished, hard workers were rewarded, and the wealthy continued to do quite well.
I remember very well the sit in at a lunch counter downtown. The blacks couldn't sit at the counter for lunch. Schools were still pretty much 'separate but equal'. What a farce that was. Separate was sure but equality was not even close. Wichita had grown rapidly during WW2 and that meant segregation in housing wasn't as evident as in other towns or communities, but it was noticeable and schools with any significant number of colored children had a definite influence on real estate values and homes in the vicinity. Those economic values, and yes, the moral values in community had an effect on amenities and values in the schools. Bussing may not have been fair for some children but it did much to integrate whole communities. You weren't automatically safe from segregated schools by simply selling at reduced prices and moving to all white communities.