"This dedication to honest government wasn't a sign of Roosevelt's personal virtue; rather, it reflected a political imperative. "Works Progress Administration The WPA was organized into the following divisions: These ordinary men and women proved to be extraordinary beyond all expectation. Most of the women worked with sewing projects, where they were taught to use sewing machines and made clothing and bedding, as well as supplies for hospitals, orphanages, and adoption centers. Hunter, served as head of the WPA until May 1, 1942. Other divisions produced sculpture, posters, and stained glass. Woodward also started training and employment programs in mattress making, bookbinding, domestic service, canning of relief foods, school lunch preparation, and child care. The Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in U.S. history, began with the crash of the stock market in late 1929. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.  Sokoloff stated, "Music can serve no useful purpose unless it is heard, but these totals on the listeners' side are more eloquent than statistics as they show that in this country there is a great hunger and eagerness for music. :226 The amount of infrastructure projects of the WPA included 40,000 new and 85,000 improved buildings. The HRS employed approximately six thousand writers, librarians, archivists, and teachers annually. ." The purpose of the WPA was passed to try to gain relief among the American citizen who were … Projects were supposed to have a nonpolitical social value and not compete with private enterprise. By employing eight millions of Americans, with thirty millions of dependents, it has brought to these people renewed hope and courage. After only one year, over 40,000 artists and other talented workers had been employed through this project in the United States. Many women were employed, but they were few compared to men. "The name of the Works Progress Administration has been changed to Work Projects Administration in order to make its title more descriptive of its major purpose," President Roosevelt wrote when announcing the reorganization. WPA orchestras performed works by black composers; the Theatre Project mounted operas and plays with all-black casts, and the Writers Project gave aspiring black writers like Richard Wright and Sterling Brown the chance to develop. Encyclopedia.com. , Roosevelt ordered a prompt end to WPA activities to conserve funds that had been appropriated.  This was during the period of Jim Crow and racial segregation in the South, when blacks were largely disenfranchised. The arts projects also pioneered integration. To succeed him Roosevelt appointed Francis C. Harrington, a colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers and the WPA's chief engineer, who had been leading the Division of Engineering and Construction. As the New Dealers … In this, they shamed the political philosophy that discounted their value and rewarded the one that placed its faith in them, thus fulfilling the founding vision of a government by and for its people. Other divisions including the Employment, Management, Safety, Supply, and Training and Reemployment. Are they tramps? :562 Thus, of the total of 20 million persons then receiving relief, 13 million were not considered eligible for employment. Not the Works Progress Administration (changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration). Many FAP artists later became famous, including Jackson Pollock (1912–1956), Willem de Kooning (1904–1997), Anton Refregier (1905–1979), and Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1893–1953). , Others complained that far left elements played a major role, especially in the New York City unit. Of these, however, 1.65 million were said to be farm operators or persons who had some non-relief employment, while another 350,000 were, despite the fact that they were already employed or seeking work, considered incapacitated. Managed daily by state and local jurisdictions, WPA projects helped unemployed, semi-skilled and unskilled workers find j… It is time we recognized this legacy and attempted to comprehend its relationship to our contemporary situation. By 1940 the WPA Library Project, now the Library Services Program, began to shift its focus as the entire WPA began to move operations towards goals of national defense. The largest single project of the WPA was the Tennessee Valley Authority. The writers talked with Native Americans, frontier women, Appalachian miners, and others from various cultural groups across the nation; they then wrote down the details from these interviews, providing insightful portraits of life in the 1930s. Innovative and controversial, these programs spurred growth in American art. "new deal for the arts." In extending library services to people who lost their libraries or never had a library, to begin with, WPA Library Services Projects achieved phenomenal success and made significant permanent gains.  By January 1939, more than 275 major books and booklets had been published by the FWP. Retrieved December 21, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/works-progress-administration-0. The WPA was created through Executive Order No.  Many of the women employed by the project were the sole breadwinners for their families. John Salmond, "The New Deal and the Negro" in John Braeman et al., eds. In the first few months of his presidency, Roosevelt introduced the New Deal, an array of government-sponsored social and economic programs designed to bring relief to the struggling nation. The Living Newspapers staged plays in the form of documentaries, providing information and taking a stand on the issues of the day. This left a total of 7 million presumably employable persons between the ages of 16 and 65 inclusive. In 1939 the name was changed to the Works Projects Administration. These included housewives, students in school, and incapacitated persons. new york, ny: duell, sloan & pearce, 1940. harris, jonathon. At a time when millions of Americans were without work, the WPA provided not only jobs but also hope for the future. In addition HRS workers compiled lists of portraits and manuscript collections in public buildings and church archives. Encyclopedia.com. One of the most successful ventures was establishment of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Lv 7. Take a look at them, if you have not, and see who they are. At one point musicians were participating in five thousand performances—in front of three million people—each week in theaters and schools across the country. Ellen Sullivan Woodward (1887–1971) headed the Women's Division of the WPA and oversaw more than four hundred thousand women workers. Located in almost every county in the nation, WPA workers were highly productive. :562, The WPA reached its peak employment of 3,334,594 people in November 1938. These artists compiled the Index of American Design, which documented American painting, sculpture, and folk art. In 1938 the U.S. House of Representatives created a committee to investigate possible threats to national security posed by U.S. citizens. To bring attention to their situation, artists began staging hunger marches and outdoor sales of artwork. (2000). In almost all cases, the book sales were able to reimburse their sponsors. U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. However, by 1941, the perception of discrimination against African Americans had changed to the point that the NAACP magazine Opportunity hailed the WPA: It is to the eternal credit of the administrative officers of the WPA that discrimination on various projects because of race has been kept to a minimum and that in almost every community Negroes have been given a chance to participate in the work program. new york, ny: cambridge university press, 1994. flanagan, hallie. :64, 184. WPA policies were consistent with the strong belief of the time that husbands and wives should not both be working (because the second person working would take one job away from some other breadwinner).  Historian Anthony Badger argues, "New Deal programs in the South routinely discriminated against blacks and perpetuated segregation. Instead, he created the Federal Emergency Relief Agency (FERA) with authority to make direct cash payments to those with no other means of support. :70, There was a perception that WPA employees were not diligent workers, and that they had little incentive to give up their busy work in favor of productive jobs. They built 6,000 athletic fields and playgrounds, 770 new swimming pools, and 1,700 new parks, fairgrounds, and rodeo grounds. Thus, only 40% were married and living with their husbands, but 59% of the husbands were permanently disabled, 17% were temporarily disabled, 13% were too old to work, and remaining 10% were either unemployed or handicapped. Their fears were inflamed when Hopkins insisted that the WPA should be enlarged and made permanent, given that the program never enrolled more than 3.2 million of the 8 to 15 million unemployed. For young people the WPA included the National Youth Administration (NYA). The Public Opinion Quarterly, Leighninger, Robert D. "Cultural Infrastructure: The Legacy of New Deal Public Space.". Holger Cahill was appointed national director. Later that year, with winter weather approaching and people needing money for shelter and food, Roosevelt established the Civil Works Administration (CWA) to provide temporary jobs to a few million of the unemployed. Experience had amply justified this policy," FDR wrote: By building airports, schools, highways, and parks; by making huge quantities of clothing for the unfortunate; by serving millions of lunches to school children; by almost immeasurable kinds and quantities of service the Work Projects Administration has reached a creative hand into every county in this Nation. . A study of 2,000 female workers in Philadelphia showed that 90% were married, but wives were reported as living with their husbands in only 18 percent of the cases.  In protest the League held two sit-ins in 1935. Instead of providing direct relief, or giving money directly to the needy and expecting nothing in return, work relief programs required recipients to earn the money by performing work for the public benefit. :63 It was liquidated on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment during World War II. To rejuvenate relief and recovery efforts, Roosevelt pushed through a new wave of economic programs. . Federal One was both praised and criticized and was always controversial. ":494–495, Harrington died suddenly, aged 53, on September 30, 1940. One of the most dramatic collections compiled by FWP writers was the Slave Narratives, consisting of more than two thousand oral histories from black Americans who had formerly been slaves. Portrait of WPA chief engineer Ormond A. "Seven years ago I was convinced that providing useful work is superior to any and every kind of dole. The purpose of the PWA was to spend an initial $3.3 billion appropriation not only with dispatch, but on necessary—that is, socially useful—public works projects. Many writers employed by the FWP would go on to fame, including Ralph Ellison (1914–1994), John Cheever (1912–1982), Conrad Aiken (1889–1973), Richard Wright (1908–1960), Saul Bellow (1915–), Studs Terkel (1912–), Dorothy West (1907–1998), and Zora Neale Hurston (1903–1960). They also served 900 million school lunches and repaired 80 million library books. new york, ny: harpercollins, 1999. bindas, kenneth j. all of this music belongs to the nation: the wpa's federal music project and american society. The Federal Theatre Project was the first project to end in June 1939 after four years from an end of funding from the federal government. B) It never had any money to spend on … 21 Dec. 2020 . Of these, 8.3 million were children under 16 years of age; 3.8 million were persons between the ages of 16 and 65 who were not working or seeking work. federal art and national culture: the politics of identity in new deal america. Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/works-progress-administration-0, "Works Progress Administration They believed that art should benefit ordinary people, not just the wealthy or educated. Retrieved December 21, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/works-progress-administration, The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal relief programs. South Carolina had one of the larger statewide library service demonstration projects. Stone, Los Angeles, 1935. What is visual communication and why it matters; Nov. 20, 2020. It constructed more than six hundred thousand miles of highways, roads, and streets, and repaired and constructed more than a hundred thousand bridges, a hundred thousand public buildings, thousands of parks and airfields, and thousands of recreational facilities. "Works Progress Administration Portrait of WPA director R. C. Jacobson, Los Angeles, 1936.  The early emphasis of these programs was on extending library services to rural populations, by creating libraries in areas that lacked facilities. Hearings were held, and passionate defenses were offered by administrators of the WPA programs and their supporters. The WPA was disbanded entirely in 1943, having served its purpose well. There followed a major effort in the construction of public facilities that left a permanent WPA stamp on the landscape. 21 Dec. 2020 . :70 Full employment, which was reached in 1942 and emerged as a long-term national goal around 1944, was not the goal of the WPA; rather, it tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment. An important advocate for black American rights, Bethune was the highest-ranking black American in the Roosevelt administration. Besides employing regular laborers, the WPA extended its programs to include unemployed artists, musicians, writers, and actors. The goal of the WPA was to employ most of the unemployed people on relief until the economy recovered. Of the 2,000 women, all were responsible for one to five additional people in the household. African American leaders made such a claim with respect to WPA hires in New Jersey, stating, "In spite of the fact that Blacks indubitably constitute more than 20 percent of the State's unemployed, they composed 15.9% of those assigned to W.P.A. After the surprise attack by Japan on U.S. military installations at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the subsequent U.S. declaration of war on Japan, the FWP was absorbed into the Writers' Unit of the War Services Division. World War II ended the argument over the WPA. Roosevelt appointed Harry Hopkins (1890–1946), his trusted adviser and head of earlier New Deal programs, to lead the WPA. blueprints for a black federal theatre, 1935–1939. It has added to the national wealth, has repaired the wastage of depression, and has strengthened the country to bear the burden of war. During the Great Depression on April 8, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) urged Congress to authorize $4.9 billion dollars towards the funding of a temporary federal works program called the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Of all the New Deal agencies, the NYA had one of the better records in providing assistance to black Americans. The NYA program allowed students to contribute to their family's income while staying in school. Even though the FTP received strong criticism from Congress for undermining traditionally held American values, FTP productions attracted an estimated thirty million Americans before the program was disbanded in 1939. . American artists were hit hard by the Depression and struggled just to survive. The following year, saw the introduction of agricultural improvements, such as the production of marl fertilizer and the eradication of fungus pests. In 1943 President Roosevelt dissolved the program. Despite such criticisms, the WPA was a well-managed program that funneled almost 85 percent of its total budget into wages and salaries. 21 Dec. 2020 . Encyclopedia.com. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. , While it is difficult to quantify the success or failure of WPA Library Projects relative to other WPA programs, “what is incontestable is the fact that the library projects provided much-needed employment for mostly female workers, recruited many to librarianship in at least semiprofessional jobs, and retained librarians who may have left the profession for other work had employment not come through federal relief...the WPA subsidized several new ventures in readership services such as the widespread use of bookmobiles and supervised reading rooms-services that became permanent in post-depression and postwar American libraries.”. seattle, wa: university of washington press, 1997. buttitta, tony, and barry witham. 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