Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A New Deal for Arizona

(A National Youth Administration construction project in Arizona, 1936. Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.)

In yesterday's blog post, I suggested that instead of constantly cutting the budget, and constantly piling up regressive taxes, tolls, fees, and fines on the middle-class & poor, Arizona could have a New Deal instead (with some help from the federal government of course). Here are some New Deal facts & figures for Arizona:

Civil Works Administration (CWA):

In January of 1934, there were over 17,000 Arizonans working in the CWA, building or repairing schools, roads, bridges, and more.

(From the "Analysis of Civil Works Program Statistics," p. 18, 1939)

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC):

Between 1933 and 1942, 41,300 Arizona men were employed in the CCC. This included about 17,400 junior and veteran enrollees, 19,500 Indians, and 4,400 staff. Among their many accomplishments was the planting of 7.4 million trees.

(From Perry H. Merrill's book, "Roosevelt's Forest Army: A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps," 1933-1942, p. 109, 1981)

(These Arizona children are broadcasting a radio program that they wrote in a WPA class. Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.)

Public Works Administration (PWA):

By 1939, the PWA had contributed $12 million in funding towards 122 infrastructure projects in Arizona. In today's dollars, that's about $202 million.

(From "America Builds: The Record of PWA," p. 285, 1939)

National Youth Administration (NYA):

During academic year 1939-1940, 86 schools, colleges, and universities in Arizona participated in the NYA program, employing about 2,000 young men and women.

(From the "Final Report of the National Youth Administration, Fiscal Years 1936-1943," pp. 246-247, 1944)

(These men are learning about auto mechanics in a National Youth Administration class in Phoenix, Arizona, 1936. Photo courtesy of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.)

Public Works of Art Project (PWAP):

Between 1933 and 1934, in Region 13 of the PWAP (New Mexico and Arizona), unemployed artists were paid to create 7 murals, 49 water color paintings, 70 oil paintings, 299 Indian-related works of art, and more, to decorate public buildings and parks.

(From Public Works of Art Project, "Report of the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury to Federal Emergency Relief Administrator, December 8, 1933 - June 30, 1934," p. 8, 1934)

Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA):

In February of 1935, 557 college students in Arizona were employed in FERA's College Student Aid Program. This was a program "undertaken in order to enable young persons who would not otherwise have been able to do so to continue their education, and thereby reduce the influx of young workers into the labor market" (recall that during the Great Depression there was a large drop in the demand for labor).

(From the "Final Statistical Report of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration," pp. 64 and 232, 1942)

Works Progress Administration (WPA):

Between 1935 and 1943, WPA workers in Arizona produced 1.3 million articles of clothing; served 4 million school lunches; created or improved 2,500 miles of roads; built or improved 322 bridges; installed or improved 5,400 culverts; engaged in 280 projects to build, repair, or improve schools; created or improved 16 parks; installed 162 miles of water lines; constructed 57,000 linear feet of new airport & airfield runway; and more.

(From the "Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43," pp. 134-136, 1946)

Post Offices:

During the New Deal era, the U.S Treasury built Post Office buildings in Arizona and commissioned artists to decorate them. See the Living New Deal's Arizona pages for examples.

(To learn about Civilian Conservation Corps activities at Grand Canyon National Park, see the Living New Deal here. WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

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