In Pursuit of a New WPA

On October 22, 2020, the 2019 Randy Martin Spirit Awardee Arlene Goldbard shared her thoughts on the to the powerful organizing opportunity we have to build a new WPA.

Twice before in times of crisis, the U.S. created public service employment programs, underwriting work for the public good. Both the WPA (Works Progress Administration of the 30s) and CETA (the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of the 70s) were created in response to high unemployment, supporting workers from many sectors. Artists were especially resourceful in taking advantage of these programs. Given that unemployment today surpasses Great Depression levels, it’s time for a new WPA to repair social fabric and infrastructure, share our stories, and create sites of public memory. How can this happen?

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New Deal Maps

Check out our latest map and guide to the work of the New Deal in Washington, D.C. It includes 500 New Deal sites in the District alone, highlighting 34 notable sites, and includes an inset map of the area around the National Mall which can be used for self-guided walking tours.

Take a look at our previous guides, equally comprehensive, covering key New Deal sites in San Francisco and New York City.