Monday, June 24, 2013
(WPA workers installing a water main. Image courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)
WPA workers were often insulted during the Great Depression. They were labeled "shovel-leaners," "lazy good-for-nothings," and "ditch-diggers." As unemployed men & women they were insulted, and when they took jobs in the WPA they were insulted. The insults--like the insults directed at the poor & unemployed today--never stopped.
(WPA workers opening the ground for new water lines. Image courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)
Of course, the people calling the WPA workers "ditch-diggers" failed to mention the fact that the ditches were filled with new water mains and sewer lines. And they enjoyed the luxury of clean water and modern sewage--that the WPA workers provided to them--while insulting those very same WPA workers.
(WPA workers lowering a sewer line. Image courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)
Across America, the WPA installed 16,117 miles of new water lines and 24,271 miles of new storm & sewer drains. The "ditch-diggers" modernized American infrastructure. And that infrastructure allowed businesses to expand and new communities to develop.