Federal Writers’ Project

“New York City, February 1935. On a cold blustery afternoon, people bundled in coats and scarves are marching in front of the Port City Authority holding up signs. One of them reads “CHILDREN NEED BOOKS. WRITERS NEED A BREAK. WE DEMAND PROJECTS.” The writers shouting into the cold are part of the Writers’ Union protest for writers’ inclusion in the biggest public works program in American history. At the time of the protest, visual artists were already receiving federal funds to paint post office murals and photograph daily life. The protesting writers were out of work and wanted New Deal jobs too.

Soon, though, these men and women would have the chance to join the largest literary project in American history: the Federal Writers’ Project. For eight years, the FWP would support the work of luminaries (Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and John Cheever, to name a few) as well as thousands of other writers.  The FWP created a huge archive of individual stories and fading local cultures that defined Americana in the early twentieth century.” Read full story here.