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The Social Implications of the Roosevelt Administration: 1934

A “Year of Roosevelt” would be a crisper title for the address made at the twenty-first annual meeting of Survey Associates by Secretary of the Interior Ickes. As federal public works’ administrator he is steward of “the greatest sum of money ever appropriated by any government for such a purpose in the history of the world.” But it was as a fighting citizen of Chicago, a long-time member of Survey Associates, that we turned to him to interpret the social stakes in the Recovery ProgramContinue Reading »

Success Stories—Work Relief Style: 1939

IN DECEMBER 1932, A DISCONSOLATE YOUNG MAN, TWO OR three years out of college, sat on a park bench and watched his big toe come through his best shoe, while he tried to screw up courage to apply for relief. Two years later he was the executive head of an insurance enterprise handling millions of dollars annually, working in close conjunction with important medical and educational institutions.Continue Reading »

Art Becomes Public Works (1934)

The public now owns, at a cost of less than a million and a half dollars, about fifteen thousand new works of art. These range from prints, which can be issued in some quantity, to what seems to be the most ambitious of the undertakings, the decoration of the Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, in which forty-four artists and their assistants were engaged. Actually 3671 men and women were employed, for varying periods of time, in the less than five months’ duration of the Public Works of Art Project. Except where sketches for special pieces of work had to be passed on in advance, the artists worked with complete freedom. The general assignment was the American scene.Continue Reading »

Egypt, Ophelia Settle (1903-1984)

In the late 1920s, Ophelia Settle Egypt conducted some of the first and finest interviews with former slaves, setting the stage for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) massive project ten years later. Born Ophelia Settle in 1903, she was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a researcher for the black sociologist Charles Johnson at Fisk University in Nashville.Continue Reading »

President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat, June 28, 1934

And, finally, the third principle is to use the agencies of government to assist in the establishment of means to provide sound and adequate protection against the vicissitudes of modern life — in other words, social insurance.

Later in the year I hope to talk with you more fully about these plans. A few timid people, who fear progress, will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it “Fascism”, sometimes “Communism”, sometimes “Regimentation”, sometimes “Socialism”. But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.Continue Reading »

National Youth Organization

“I hereby prescribe the following functions and duties of the National Youth Administration: To initiate and administer a program of approved projects which shall provide relief, work relief, and employment for persons between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five years who are no longer in regular attendance at a school requiring full time, and who are not regularly engaged in remunerative employment.”Continue Reading »

National Youth Administration: The College and High School Aid Program

A speech by Aubrey W. Williams, Executive Director of the National Youth Administration in 1937. “The Youth Administration was established to equalize opportunity for Youth. It was set up to raise economically disadvantaged Youth to within reach of opportunities denied them.”Continue Reading »

Will the Codes Abolish Child Labor? (1933)

Written by Gertrude Folks Zimand, Director Research and Publicity, National Child Labor Committee. “WHEN President Roosevelt on July 9 signed the Code of Fair Competition for the Cotton-Textile Industry, which bars from employment children under 16 years, he virtually removed from that industry several thousand children who will be replaced by adults. Had this action been taken in the spring of 1930, before unemployment became so acute, the number displaced would have been over 10,000.”Continue Reading »

National Industrial Recovery Act (1933)

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was enacted by Congress in June 1933 and was one of the measures by which President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to assist the nation’s economic recovery during the Great Depression.Continue Reading »

Are We Overlooking the Pursuit of Happiness?

“…For the old people who have lived so long a life of independence, how bitter it must be to come for everything they need to the youngsters who once turned to them!

From every point of view, it seems to me that the old age pension for people who so obviously could not lay aside enough during their working years to live on adequately through their old age, is a national responsibility and one that must be faced when we are planning for a better future.

Unemployment insurance in many homes is all that stands between many a family and starvation. Given a breathing spell, a man or woman may be able to get another job or to re-educate himself in some new line of work, but few people live with such a wide margin that they have enough laid aside to face several months of idleness….”Continue Reading »

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