“The Tramp, Tramp, Tramp of the Little Man”: Graham’s Conversion to the War on Poverty

  • Michael G. Long


Billy Graham was a child of the Depression. “Growing up in those years,” he recalled in his autobiography, “taught us the value of nickels and dimes.” Apparently with good reason: During the Depression, his father lost the family savings of $4,000 in the Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank of Charlotte, and the family dairy farm faced ruin when the price for a quart of milk plummeted to five cents. Far from indigent, however, the Graham family had an established dairy farm, replete with cows, barns, land for gardening and farming, and even laborers. “We all simply believed in hard work,” Graham wrote. And as hardworking laborers, the family recovered in a matter of months from the loss of personal funds. Through it all Graham’s father kept faith in the system of free enterprise, and perhaps more importantly, he had passed on this faith to young Billy long before the onslaught of the Depression. “My father early on,” Graham reflected, “illustrated for me the merits of free enterprise. Once in a while when a calf was born on the farm, he turned it over to my friend Albert McMakin and me to raise. When it got to the veal stage, we marketed ourselves and split the proceeds.”


Economic Justice Free Enterprise Great Society Livable Wage Protestant Work Ethic 
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© Michael G. Long 2006

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  • Michael G. Long

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