Prior to the long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, black Americans largely voted Republican. To ascertain the impact on the black community of the depression, the New Deal and World War II, van Rijn analyzes the content of blues and gospel titles of the period, placing them in historical, social and political contexts. Sometimes in anger or frustration, often with irony or scepticism, and always with simplicity and economy of expression, the music transcribed and explained in this important book opens windows on the inner lives and emotions of African-Americans, giving human dimensions to the raw statistical data of 1930s sociological surveys. Lyrics, record labels, and historical photographs. Appendix includes extensive notes, a bibliography, a song index, and a discography. 292 pp.