Today in 1939: President FDR created the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The WPA served as a way to alleviate the mass unemployment of the Great Depression. By the time of its termination in 1943, the WPA had put 8.5 million Americans to work.
The majority of WPA projects built infrastructure (bridges, schools, etc.). The Federal Project Number One programs focused on theatre, music, and visual arts. The Federal Writers Project sent writers all over the country to gather the ‘life histories’ of people. It’s the only reason we have 2,300 first person accounts of American slavery told from the point of view of former slaves.