New Mexico State University

Soul of a People: Writing America's Story


The New Mexico State University Library and community partners are pleased to bring A Soul of a People: Writing America's Story to Las Cruces. We will be sponsoring a series of programs through April and May to highlight the New Deal Federal Writers' Project, an important but often overlooked program designed to put Depression era individuals to work by noting down the stories and experiences of everyday Americans. With these programs, we will join the American Library Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and libraries across the country to explore what the Writers' Project can tell us about life in the 1930s as well as what came before. The national project will culminate in the broadcasting of a documentary called Soul of a People, airing in the fall on the Smithsonian Channel.

From the Soul of a People: Writing America's Story brochure:

" The Great Depression was the most serious national crisis since the Civil War. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 spelled financial disaster for millions, reverberating for years and shaking America's view of their country as a can-do culture. Nationwide, one out of four Americans had no job. Families often left town without a word to avoid debt collectors."

"In the 1930s Franklin D. Roosevelt created a series of make-work agencies, including the Federal Writers' Project, to get the economy moving again. The purpose was emergency aid. Nobody expected that such an agency would create anything as meaningful as a snapshot of America at a critical moment: a time when old ways were breaking down and new American stories were just emerging."

Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story is a major documentary television program about the Federal Writers’ Project produced by Spark Media, Washington, D.C., and broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel HD.
Soul of a People programs in libraries are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.
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