Black in the Limelight: The New Deal’s Negro Theater Project

It was April 14,1936 and the nation was mired deep in the Great Depression. But joy could be found that night in Harlem at the Lafayette Theatre. It was the glitzy world premiere of the Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Theatre… read more

It Can’t Happen Here?

It Can’t Happen Here? The nation was roiling from fear and discontent laid bare by the Great Depression. On the morning of FDR’s inauguration, March 4, 1933, Washington was braced for violence. Elected in a landslide, Roosevelt promised to make… read more

A Cornerstone for Conservation

In 1940, The Washington Post featured a 9-page photo essay on the capital’s new Department of Interior building. In photographs and text, the agency’s diverse functions were richly described. The building’s fashionable Art Deco or Moderne design and large, colorful… read more

The Forgotten Coup of 1933

That the American press largely ignored an attempt to forcibly overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt only months after his inauguration in 1933 seems less extraordinary in light of the right-wing media’s current efforts to dismiss a far more alarming—and televised—coup attempt… read more

Dancing That Others May Walk

Dancing That Others May Walk As president, FDR used his birthday, January 30, to advance his most important cause—raising awareness and money to eliminate polio, a disease FDR knew first hand. In 1934, more than four thousand communities across the… read more

Pare Lorenz and the U.S. Film Service Take on America’s Problems

Highlighting the nation’s problems during the Great Depression—and the federal government’s responses to those problems—was the job of the United States Film Service, established in 1938 as part of the New Deal’s Resettlement Administration, later renamed the Farm Security Administration… read more