Our Spirit of the New Deal Conference Now Online


Videos of our “Women and the Spirit of the New Deal Conference” now online.

More than 150 people attended our conference, held at UC Berkeley, October 5-6. Videos, photos, and the conference program are now online. Women played prominent roles during the crisis of the Great Depression, but their contributions to the nation’s economic recovery, social welfare, and cultural life are largely unknown. With an unprecedented number of women reshaping our electoral politics, winning seats in the pivotal midterm elections, and leading change, a conference, Women and the Spirit of the New Deal, hosted by the Living New Deal, brought authors, scholars, historians, and activists together at UC Berkeley to consider the role of women in leadership today.


Dr. John Roosevelt Boettiger grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, lead off the conference on Friday morning, Oct 5 at Wheeler Hall.  UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, received the Intelligence and Courage Award at the Women’s Faculty Club on Friday, Oct 5, 6:30pm. The conference was open to the public on a donation basis. Registration was required to attend. Lndconference.eventbrite.com


See the full schedule and list of presenters here: https://livingnewdeal.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/WSND-program-schedule.pdf


The conference cosponsors include: the City of Berkeley, East Bay Regional Park District, Friends of the Berkeley Rose GardenFrances Perkins CenterNational New Deal Preservation Association and UC Berkeley Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies, Geography, History, and Sociology.


Historic Roosevelt Hospital Built with New Deal Funds Reopens as Senior Housing

The former Roosevelt Hospital has recently reopened its doors as a senior housing complex. The facility was originally constructed in 1937 as a tuberculosis sanitarium and funded by the Public Works Administration. According to the Edison-Metuchen Sentinel and the American Planning Association, “The new project will provide more than $4.4 million in ongoing economic output, 25 direct and indirect full-time equivalent jobs, and more than $249,000 in state and local taxes annually. The redevelopment was designed by architect Wallace Roberts and Todd in Philadelphia .” Find more information here.

Janus Ruling: Supreme Court Dismantles New Deal Labor Act

The Supreme Court decision on the Janus labor case is poised to have a devastating effect on public-sector unions. The decision states that public sector employees cannot be required to pay fees to labor unions, and effectively dismantles one of the pillars of the New Deal—the National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act). Signed into law by President Roosevelt on July 5, 1935, the Wagner Act required employers to negotiate with unions selected by a majority of employees, and provided employee protections. Click here for more on the repercussions this ruling. See the FDR Presidential Library for a brief history of the Wagner Act.

Design for Bernard Zakheim’s Coit Tower Mural Discovered

Zakheim Mural Drawing
“The Library” Original Design for Coit Tower Mural
By Bernard Zakheim, 1934, Charcoal on paper, 10’ x 6 1⁄2’

Bernard Zakheim’s family has recently discovered the original, 10 feet high charcoal sketch drawings for his mural, The Library, located at the Coit Tower in San Francisco. Painted by Zakheim in 1934, the mural became the center of political controversy. Several of his works show figures representing people in the artist’s social circle. The Coit Tower mural is no exception, showing artist Ralph Stackpole and sculptor Beniamino Bufano. Zakheim’s friend John Langley Howard is depicted reaching for Marx’s Das Kapital. This spurred debate in the press at the time about the propagandistic messages in Zakheim’s art, and accusations concerning his Communist sympathies. You can see the Living New Deal’s page on Zakheim’s Coit Tower mural here. The Visual Transformation Gallery located in Oakland is seeking to organize a public showing of the recently discovered charcoal drawings.

Historic New Deal Mural at Bronx High School Painted over during Renovations

Our contributors brought to our attention that the historic New Deal mural at the DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx was recently defaced and possibly damaged. A spokesperson from the New York City Department of Education said that the incident happened during roof repairs, when construction crews covered the mural in paint, and that they are looking into ways to restore the mural. Painted by Alfred Floegel between 1934 and 1940, the mural is titled Constellations and depicts the night sky on the ceiling of the third floor hallway. The mural covering the walls of the hallway, titled The History of the Worldwas not altered. Living New Deal Associate Frank da Cruz had documented the mural in its original condition and published the photographs on our website. The Associated Press covered the incident and interviewed the Living New Deal leadership team. For more details, see the stories published by the The New York Times, CNN, and NBC New York.