The Great Depression put millions of Americans out of work, and the U.S. government responded with a range of welfare and social programs. Eventually, under the auspices of the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt sponsored the Work Projects Administration, an ambitious effort to create jobs through public works. From 1935 to 1943, the WPA constructed new parks, bridges, schools, and roads for communities across the nation.
Beyond such traditional infrastructure projects, the WPA implemented Federal Project Number One, or Federal One, to employ musicians, artists, writers, actors, and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy works. As a strong supporter of the arts, Eleanor Roosevelt lobbied on behalf of Federal One and defended the program against congressional critics, of whom Martin Dies, chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, was the most vocal, believing the program fostered those with communist sympathies.
Federal One is the basis for B.A. Shapiro’s The Muralist, in which a group of artists is paid to create murals for state and federal public buildings … more of my review can be seen at Washington Independent Review of books.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.