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The Works Progress Administration
April 8, 1935

Many people believed that the Works Progress Administration would help people find jobsHas anybody in your family ever been out of work? Hard times caused millions of workers to lose their jobs during the 1930s. So many people were out of work that historians call this period the Great Depression.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and members of Congress responded to the emergency by creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA) on April 8, 1935.  The WPA was a government agency that made a national works program.  Do you know what a “national works program” is?.

A national works program meant that the federal government would give millions of people work by hiring them in projects to build things like schools, bridges, and parks that the public could use. The WPA hired 8.5 million people on 1.4 million projects in just a few years!

One part of the WPA was the Federal Writers' Project.  This project gave work to writers who could not find a job. Many writers who worked for the Federal Writers’ Project became famous. Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Ralph Ellison are some of the writers who became famous.

The Federal Writers' Project provided more than entertainment. It also recorded the stories of 10,000 men and women from different regions, jobs, races, and even former slaves through the Folklore project. These stories are important today because they give us a better idea of what it was like to live in those times. Who would you interview today if you were given the chance?

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