Thursday, May 6, 2010

75th Anniversary of the WPA

On this day, May 6th, in 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was the biggest facet of the New Deal. In 1935, the WPA employed three million of the ten million jobless workers in the country. They built and fixed roads and bridges, hospitals and theaters, trails and lodges. Much of their work is still around and still being used. Instead of handing out welfare, FDR saw an opportunity to put people to work in ways that would benefit all of us and support the jobless at the same time. He gave them dignity with their money and in return they gave us infrastructure and great works of art. It showed that America could value work and culture at the same time and that with the correct leadership we could do great things together.

I know that the men and women who worked for the WPA lived in one of the most dire times in our history and they worked incredibly hard, but sometimes there's a part of me that believes I would set my time machine for 1935 if I could. I'd plant some trees and build some trails.

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