Saturday, January 14, 2017
African American NYA Band. The New Deal makes music for the United States and South America.
Above: An African American band in the National Youth Administration (NYA), Mobile, Alabama, 1937. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: Another picture of the African American NYA band in Mobile, Alabama. According to the Final Report of the National Youth Administration (1944), "NYA orchestras and choral groups were formed in a number of States... In organizing a NYA orchestra, the following steps were taken: Securing a sponsorship, usually the city; provision of NYA funds for scores, some instruments, and equipment such as stands; securing a conductor, either by a small payment for his services (about $125 a month) or by arrangement through the co-sponsor; payment of youth wages for rehearsals and performances... Performances were given at municipal parks and halls. In the fiscal years 1941 and 1942, NYA orchestras gave 3,976 performances... Often radio time was secured for broadcasts... a series of NYA musical broadcasts were given, featuring musical contributions of various racial groups. These programs were broadcast on a Nation-wide hook-up from a dozen different cities and short-waved to South America" (pp. 173-174). Photo courtesy of the National Archives.