Works Progress Administration

WPA by Lilian Rodriguez-Sanchez, Keri Price, and Emmy Howell

The Creation of the WPA

The WPA was founded in April 8, 1935 as part of FDR's New Deal.

It was under the direction of Harry Hopkins.

The name was changed to Work Projects Administration in 1939.

It's purpose was to provide jobs, and it employed more than 8.5 million people built bridges, roads, public buildings, public parks and airports.

Salaries ranged from $15 to $90 per month and allowed the workers to have a respectful job that used their skills.

It was created as an alternative to simple relief handouts, with the message from Hopkins that "The work relief program was more expensive than direct relief payments, but worth the added cost, Hopkins believed. ‘Give a man a dole,’ he observed, ‘and you save his body and destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both body and spirit’.” (pbs.org)

Actions and Effectiveness

One of the most well known industries, it affected people’s lives by providing them with jobs.

The WPA supported thousands by employing them.

The WPA may have been more expensive than other relief programs, but it boosted morale and improved the nation.


The Federal Arts Project, Federal Writers' Project, Federal Theater Project, and Federal Music Project supported jobs within the arts.

Funding from the WPA allowed the creation of “2,566 murals and 17,744 pieces of sculpture that decorate public buildings nationwide.” (pbs.org)

The WPA brought art and culture to the United States and led to the offspring of national organizations such as the National Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The WPA had many smaller organizations and projects, such as the National Youth Administration, which sought part-time jobs for younger workers.

Public Reaction

The WPA was well received by people who were employed because it gave them back their dignity. Even though the wages were low, the work renewed the spirit of thousands, because it gave them the much needed opportunity to provide for their family instead of receiving degrading handouts

Some people questioned federal support of artists, seeing it as unnecessary, however the WPA retorted that artists needed to be supported, because they "need to eat too," (pbs.org).


By 1943, mismanagement of the program and abuse by laborers, along with decreased unemployment rates, led to the disbandment of the program.

Citations

"The Works Progress Administration (WPA)." Www.pbs.org. PBS, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.