Damnation is a period piece set in America’s heartland during the 1930s, where we glimpse a society beset with false prophets, corrupt law enforcement, greedy capitalists, and a secret vigilante terrorist group known as The Black Legion. Our story begins in Iowa, 1931 –- a particularly interesting year in American history, as the majority of Americans were dealing with the early repercussions of the Great Depression, waning support for Prohibition, and an ever-increasing state of class warfare between the rich and the poor.
In order to better situate the era and storyline, these are the key themes you should expect to encounter throughout the series.
1. The Great Depression & Labor Strikes
Two years after the stock market crash of October 1929, over 6 million Americans were out of work and the country’s industrial production had dropped by half. As a result, towns and cities saw an increase in the number of homeless people, and in rural areas, farmers struggled to sell their crops. The one benefit to living on a farm was the ability to produce one’s own food, but even this attempt proved futile, given the sharp drop of prices during the 1930s. Farmers began over-producing food in an effort to pay their debts, taxes, and living expenses, but were unable to make a substantial profit because they were producing too much, which, in turn, drove down the price of goods.
As more farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms, many banded together to prevent food from getting from farms to towns and cities. The purpose of these blockades was to raise the price that farmers were paid for their products. As such, any truck or caravan carrying milk, cream, butter or other farm products was forced to turn around and go back home. These strikes were often put to rest by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, a private security guard and detective agency established in 1850. Big businesses would hire the agency to infiltrate unions, supply guards, keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and intimidate workers.
Although the strikes had little effect on the overall price of goods, some semblance of order was restored in 1933 when, as a part of the New Deal program, Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). This initiative aimed to incentivize producers of basic commodities to cut their output in exchange for subsidies from the U.S. government.
While farmers and urbanites alike were dealing with the aftermath of the Great Depression, many were championing the end of Prohibition, which was ratified by the 18th Amendment in 1919. This amendment banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of intoxicating liquors, and although it yielded an early success rate, it was difficult to enforce, especially in urban areas. Those who wanted to keep drinking found ways to continue their consumption via bootleg liquor, but even this was restrictive for the nation’s working class and poor, given the high costs of obtaining illegal alcohol. One of the biggest champions of ending Prohibition was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who saw the opportunity for job creation and revenue by legalizing the liquor industry. He was elected in 1932, and a year later, Prohibition ceased to exist.
3. The Black Legion
The final group of players in our story is the Black Legion. This secret vigilante terrorist group and white supremacist organization maintained a large following in the Midwestern United States during the Great Depression, and had as many as 100,000 members across four states. Often described as a more violent version of the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Legion was dedicated to terrorizing labor unions and minorities. According to one report, membership included dozens of police officers, a Michigan legislator and a Wayen County prosecutor. 
These three forces are merely the tip of the iceberg in what will be an action-packed and jaw-dropping series. Tune in every Tuesday at 10/9c for new episodes of Damnation!