Spot the Empire Librarian's blog

Welcome to a librarian's online musings on libraries, literature and information media.

Works Progress Admin-FDR’s administration’s crown jewel

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wpaim2Today, April 8th, 81 years ago Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the law that created the Works Progress Administration, an unprecedented effort by the federal government to provide employment during an economic crisis. At its peak the WPA employed over 8 million people on public projects varying  from building roads and constructing schools and making parks to creating public works of art.  The Poughkeepise, New York area (a neighbor to Hyde Park, NY  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home) has benefited from these efforts —Taconic Parkway, Poughkeepsie Post Office  and even my son’s elementary school, Kinry  PS.

Eager to learn more  about the WPA and  President FDR ‘s efforts to save millions of Americans from poverty and despair, check out  American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, or Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Another fitting tribute to the WPA would be to read the novels of some of the writers the organization employed, such as Richard Wright, Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison.

Incidentally, one of the ways the WPA employed writers was by sending them all over the country to document the varying foods and culinary traditions of different parts of the country. You can read about their discoveries in Mark Kurlansky’sThe Food of a Younger Land.

Currently, I am reading The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro, a fictional account of  the many artists  employed by the WPA to create beautification for public buildings,  such as Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner , Ernest Albert, Mark Rothko. It was well known that the President’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt was personally involving in overseeing the art portion of the WPA.

Or, learn more about the WPA by  visiting nearby , Hyde Park, NY,  home to  Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s house.



Author: spotwin

While I am a librarian , I am a reading cheerleader. The purpose of this library blog is to better promote reading and information literacy to community. I love books, reading to my son,properly placed apostrophes,canoeing, locating the nearest Starbucks, cheering the Montreal Canadians, and Cherry Garcia ice cream.

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