David Nelson


In May 1937, Florida suffered from the crippling effects of the Great Depression. The governor's oflice received letters daily from out-of-work laborers, single mothers, starving children, and elderly dependants pleading for assistance and state action. Yet, Florida's government rested upon a shallow tax base making the state's ten-year old welfare system almost entirely dependent upon federal aid. Only two years earlier, the federal government had demanded that the state re-vamp its State Board of Public Welfare, requiring an increased state financial commitment, stiffer welfare laws, and higher qualifications for welfare employees before millions of federal dollars would pour into the state through various New Deal programs.