Legacies of WPA

The direction was clear: it was not to spend the government’s millions in salvaging railroads,
banks, and insurance companies alone, but to spend them as well for the salvaging of human

Aubrey Williams, Assistant WPA Administrator, 1936

What does a job mean to you? Is it a paycheck, or an identity? Do you “take work home?” Or are you trying to find work – and what kind?

As our country weathers an economic crisis that many have compared to the Great Depression, the history of the New Deal in Lawrence connects us to a shared heritage of work, hardship, and endurance.

The national debates and local realities of the New Deal shaped American life in the 1930s, as ordinary men and women did their part to sustain this community in a time of crisis.

Today, the political debate continues over the role of government in addressing unemployment and economic instability.

Meanwhile, people in Lawrence and across our nation continue to persevere.