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WPA



  • In Reimagining a Key New Deal Program, Joe Biden can Eliminate its Racism

    by Katie Thornton

    Advocates for a new federal initiative modeled on New Deal-era conservation work programs must acknowledge and fight against the racial discrimination those programs perpetuated. Stories of the relatively few Black men who developed leadership skills and developed careers from CCC service show, however, that such programs could promote opportunity. 



  • Stories of Slavery, From Those Who Survived It

    by Clint Smith

    "The Federal Writers’ Project ex-slave narratives produced tens of thousands of pages of interviews and hundreds of photographs—the largest, and perhaps the most important, archive of testimony from formerly enslaved people in history."


  • History (and Historians) Need a New Deal

    by Shannan Clark

    Only a program of direct public employment for historians, along with other academics, can lead to a vibrant future for the discipline in which access to careers is expanded, with greater diversity and equity.  The history of the WPA cultural projects shows us the way.



  • Whitewashing the Great Depression (Review)

    Three new books describe the role of administrator Roy Stryker of the Farm Security Administration in filtering the photographic work of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Russell Lee to emphasize the depression's burden on rural whites. 



  • A Black Nurse Saved Lives. Today She May Save Art

    Graduate student Laura Voisin George discovered an image of Biddy Mason, a Black woman born in slavery who became a founding figure in Los Angeles's African American history, in a set of WPA murals in an auditorium at the University of California-San Francisco. The discovery may help preserve the murals. 



  • Once Upon a Time, When America Paid Its Writers

    In Jason Boog’s new book, "The Deep End," he offers colorful and often grim profiles of nine Depression-era writers and connects their stories to the struggles that writers face today. Even before our current economic crisis, it was a depressingly apt comparison.



  • Following Dorothea Lange's Notebooks

    by Tess Taylor

    As I visited encampments, internment centers and small agricultural towns, I used Ms. Lange’s images and words as a lens to help refract the messy complexity of California’s present.