FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded four arts program. One of those, the Federal Writer’s Project, employed thousands of writers and started the careers of some of America’s most famous authors like Studs Terkel, Ralph Ellison, Richard Writer, Saul Bellow, and Zora Neale Hurston. Bob talks with writer David Bradley about a new documentary that tells the story of the Federal Writer’s Project. “Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story” premiers on the Smithsonian Channel this weekend.
Frances Perkins was FDR’s Secretary of Labor and his moral conscience. The very first woman to hold a cabinet level position, it was Perkins who created and guided many of the New Deal programs. Perkins’ ideas became some of the country’s most important laws. Journalist Kirstin Downey has written the very first biography about Perkins. It’s titled The Woman Behind the New Deal.
In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from James Carey. Called “Labor’s Boy Wonder,” Carey was still in his 20s when he was elected national secretary of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. By age 40, Carey founded and became the first president of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.
This week we conclude our three-part series on education reform. After focusing on the specific changes that have been made in New York City and Washington, DC, we’ll discuss broader issues such as the value of national standards and how to implement them locally. We’ll also talk about how pre-school and after school programs can make a dramatic difference to at-risk students, and find out the many different ways different students learn.