Apr 8, 2011

The Works Progress Administration (WPA)

(LoC) On April 8, 1935, Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the work relief bill that funded the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Created by President Franklin Roosevelt to relieve the economic hardship of the Great Depression, this national works program (renamed the Work Projects Administration beginning in 1939) 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 Federal Writers' Project (FWP) was one of several projects within the WPA created to employ people with skills in the arts. Other arts projects included the Federal Art Project (FAP), the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Theater Project. When these projects were created, they were known collectively as Federal Project Number One—or more informally, “Federal One.”Among the well-known writers employed by the Federal Writers’ project were Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, May Swenson, and Richard Wright. Continued