Wednesday, April 08, 2009

WPA Anniversary WPA Anniversary

In this time of economic challenge, there is much talk of the Great Depression of the 1930s. I heard a lot about the Depression era from my parents who were growing up at the time, in downstate New York. Today is the anniversary of a major Depression era program: on April 8, 1935, Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the work relief bill that funded the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was created by President Franklin Roosevelt to relieve the economic hardship of the Great Depression, this national works program employed more than 8.5 million people on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943. The WPA employed skilled and unskilled workers in a great variety of work projects—many of which were public works projects such as creating parks, and building roads and bridges, and schools and other public structures.

The WPA included some programs for artists, including the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), the Federal Art Project (FAP), the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Theater Project. Many observers have highlighted the importance of the arts in maintaining --- and rebuilding --- economic vitality.

Reference: Today in History, Library of Congress.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems that history may be repeating itself. I did not know that this was the actual day the WPA was formed. Thanks for the information.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Ken Gottry said...

I've heard that there was a WPA project to collect, organize, and store local history from old churches and businesses. There are several libraries in the Hartford, CT area that have many WPA art collections. I've contacted them trying to find any Cambridge local history that might have been collected as a WPA sponsored project. If anyone knows of any, please pass it along.
Ken Gottry

12:33 PM  

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