SOURCE: Washington Post
Inside the New Deal Project to Preserve the Oral Histories of 300 Formerly Enslaved Virginians
That initiative, led by Howard University’s Sterling Brown, included a plan to interview thousands of formerly enslaved people across the South before they died.
SOURCE: The New Republic
When the Government Supported Writers
by Max Holleran
"With its reminder that creative labor was once seen—like a strategic reserve of fuel, weapons, or medical supplies—as worthy of federal protection, Republic of Detours mobilizes New Deal history to help us imagine what our society would be like if federal tax dollars supported a reserve army of muralists, poets, and oral historians."
SOURCE: Made By History at the Washington Post
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.
Behind The Former Slave Narratives Captured By A New Deal Program
Writer Clint Smith: "the narratives are full of those moments that remind you of the personhood of these people who in so much of our teaching of history are sort of these silhouettes or these abstractions."
SOURCE: The Atlantic
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.
SOURCE: The Nation
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.
SOURCE: The Guardian
Searching for America's 1930s Post Office Murals: A Photoessay
Photographer Justin Hamel is about a quarter of the way to photographing 1,200 New Deal-era murals in post offices across the United States.
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.
SOURCE: Foreign Affairs
A Job Guarantee Costs Far Less Than Unemployment
The bold policy for not just weathering the crisis, but coming out better.
What The Depression-Era Works Progress Administration Can Teach Us About The Arts During A Crisis
During the Great Depression, art became a part of people's everyday lives, notes art historian Jody Patterson.
SOURCE: New York Times
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.
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