Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

The Works Progress Administration, known by the acronym WPA, was one of the many programs initiated by the federal government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat the devastating effects of the Great Depression.

The Works Progress Administration was established by Executive Order No. 7034, dated May 6, 1935. This action was taken by the President under the authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, approved April 8, 1935. The WPA was redesigned in 1939 when it was transferred to the Federal Works Agency. Headed by Harry L. Hopkins and supplied with an initial congressional appropriation of $4,880,000,000.

The Emergency Relief Appropriation Act signaled the withdrawal of the federal government from the area of direct relief, which was left to the states and local communities, and provided for the establishment of a large-scale national works program for jobless employable's, who were required to meet a means test in order to qualify for work relief. Established as the major agency of the program was the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which beginning in 1939 was called the Works Projects Administration .

As originally designed, the WPA was to have two important functions. First, it was to operate a nation-wide program of "small useful projects" designed to provide employment for needy employable workers. offered work to the unemployed on an unprecedented scale by spending money on a wide variety of programs, including highways and building construction, slum clearance, reforestation, and rural rehabilitation.

Second, it was to coordinate the activities of the "Works Program." About 85% of the funds spent on WPA programs went directly into wages and salaries.

Particularly novel were the special programs.
The Federal Writers' Project prepared state and regional guide books, organized archives, indexed newspapers, and conducted useful sociological and historical investigations.
The Federal Arts Project gave unemployed artists the opportunity to decorate hundreds of post offices, schools, and other public buildings with murals, canvases, and sculptures; musicians organized symphony orchestras and community singing.
The Federal Theatre Project experimented with untried modes, and scores of stock companies toured the country with repertories of old and new plays, thus bringing drama to communities where it had been known only through the radio.

By March, 1936, the WPA rolls had reached a total of more than 3,400,000 persons; after initial cuts in June 1939, it averaged 2,300,000 monthly; and by June 30, 1943, when it was officially terminated, the WPA had employed more than 8,500,000 different persons on 1,410,000 individual projects, and had spent about $11 billion.

During its 8-year history, the WPA built 651,087 miles of highways, roads, and streets; and constructed, repaired, or improved 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 airport landing fields.

Views: 65

Replies to This Discussion

Wouldn't it be wonderful for our government to start an identical project today? I'd sign up to work in a heartbeat.



© 2024   Created by IIGSExecDirector.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service