Works Progress Administration [WPA]

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The Works Progress Administration, WPA, was established in 1935 as a relief measure led by Harry L. Hopkins. Congress gave the WPA $4,880,000,000 to spend on programs to provide jobs to the unemployed citizens in the country. Due to the variety of areas the WPA worked in, there was a lot of confusion and political favoritism. The WPA helped private businesses and founded the Federal Writers' Project,the Federal Arts Project, and the Federal Theatre Project. In the first half of 1936, the WPA had helped more than 3,400,000 people. When the program ended in June of 1943 it had helped 8,500,000 people, 1,410,000 individual projects and spent around $11 billion. The WPA was around for eight years and helped build over 600,000 miles of highways, roads, and streets. They repaired and improved around 124,000 bridges, 125,000 public buildings, 8,000 parks, and 850 airport landings.

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"One reason people here don't like WPA is because they don't understand it's not all bums and drunks and aliens! Nobody ever explains to them that they'd never have had the new High School they're so goddam proud of if it hadn't been for WPA. They don't stop to figure that new brick sidewalks wouldn't be there, the shade trees wouldn't be all dressed up to look at along High Street and all around town, if it weren't for WPA projects. To most in this town, and I guess it's not much different in this, than any other New England place, - WPA's just a racket, wet set up to give a bunch of loafers and drunks steady pay to indulge in their vices! They don't stop to consider that on WPA are men and women who have traveled places and seen things, been educated and found their jobs folded up and nothing to replace them with. How you going to call Doc Crowley, for instance, a bum? Practiced a dentist, - and now his eyes are going bad, - think he's not damn grateful for WPA ? How about these college fellows, - some of 'em on here with me,- M.I.T. graduates, - U. of Alabama - Dartmouth - Yale plenty of them can't get work, and why? . . . "

-Myron Buxton [WPA Worker: Draftsman & Assitant to Engineer]

Works Progress Administration-1937

Below: "We are the Grapes of Wrath" peformed by the amazing Veggie Tales!

The last clear definite function of man—muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need—this is man. To build a wall, to build a house, a dam, and in the wall and house and dam to put something of Manself, and to Manself take back something of the wall, the house the dam; to take hard muscles from the lifting, to take the clear lines and form from conceiving. For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. (Steinbeck 150)