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“The New Deal in Atlanta: A Review of the Major Programs”


(The following article originally appeared in The Atlanta Historical Journal, Volume XXX, Number 1, Spring 1986 and is reprinted with permission.)

“The New Deal in Atlanta: A Review of the Major Programs”

By Douglas L. Fleming

The 1932 presidential election brought hope to Atlanta as it did to most of the nation. her citizens’ vote of support for Franklin D. Roosevelt by a ten-to-one margin signified both desire for change and admiration of a popular Georgia part-time resident. As FDR developed New Deal programs from 1933 to 1939, Atlanta reacted with great enthusiasm. The New Deal offered a means of combatting the depression, a task beyond the resources of Atlanta’s private charities and city government. It also provided an opportunity to build long-needed community facilities, including a sewer system, public housing, and improved streets, schools, and hospitals.

Years before his presidency Georgians thought of FDR as their adopted “favorite son” because of his active involvement in Warm Springs. Some leading citizens even urged him to seek the Georgia governorship in 1926. (1) During the early years of the depression, the Atlanta newspapers followed Roosevelt’s political career closely, especially after his presidential nomination. In late October 1932 when FDR visited Atlanta, 25,000 citizens thronged Peachtree Street to watch the candidate pass by in an open car, and the Atlanta Constitution’s headline read “Next President Made Welcome by Vast Throng. Expresses Appreciation for Georgia’s Welcome, Delight at Returning to ‘Other House.’” (2) No one was surprised when traditionally Democratic Fulton County cast 19,044 votes for Roosevelt and only 1,940 for Hoover. When the following March FDR said in his inaugural address, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” hope for long-needed solutions to the city’s ills surged in the hearts of her people.

The solutions soon came. The “Hundred Days” began an amazing list of programs to be enlarged during the rest of the decade. All in varying degrees affected Atlanta. In spring 1933, according to Rich’s Department Store executive Frank Neely, the retail heart of the city, Five Points, lay deserted. (3) New Deal relief and construction agencies made the greatest impact. Through direct relief, they distributed necessities and funds; and through work relief and construction projects, they created jobs. Roosevelt described the New Deal as “bold, persistent experimentation.” Though sometimes chaotic, it bolstered the morals of millions, including thousands of Atlantans. (4)

Plans came forth for the new administration’s programs during spring and summer of 1933. On March 15, Secretary of the Interior and former Bull Mooser Harold L. Ickes announced that $3.3 billion would be spent on public works, part of a “full” New Deal to be underway by May 1 which would also include farm and unemployment programs. (5) The Constitution reported that Atlanta Mayor James L. Key and the Fulton County Commission planned “immediate steps to get the city’s and county’s share of the $3,300,000,000 fund.” Gov. Eugene Talmadge remained silent, an early indication of his hostility toward Roosevelt’s New Deal. Most local businessmen, politicians, and citizens welcomed the new federal intervention in Atlanta’s economy, which gave genuine hope for the first significant economic improvement since fall 1929. (6)

Before implementing New Deal programs, FDR faced the nationwide banking crisis. On March 3, the day before Roosevelt’s inauguration, with banks already closed in thirty states, Governor Talmadge ordered a three-day holiday for Georgia banks. (7) Since state and local governments could not resolve the crisis, FDR declared a nationwide banking holiday on March 6, and four days later Congress passed the Emergency Banking Bill which provided for federal aid in the reorganization and reopening of sound bank.s Soon an additional federal banking reform included the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Citizens and Southern National, First National, Fulton National, and Trust Company of Georgia, strong supporters of the administration’s banking policies, reopened on March 13, with deposits outnumbering withdrawals by more than three to one. By May 15, 14,000 of 18,000 banks had reopened throughout the nation, including all those in Atlanta. (8)

Federal Emergency Relief Administration

With the resolution of the banking crisis, attention turned to other New Deal activities, and in July 1933 the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) began direct relief and work relief. FERA programs remained the major source of relief until the arrival of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs in fall 1935. The exception was during the winter of 1933-34 when the Civil Works Administration (CWA) provided work relief. Frank Neely described the Atlanta FERA office during its early days of operation. Located in the state capitol building in three small rooms, it filled daily with “samples of the human material to be saved.” The unfortunates “sat slumped in the waiting room, grey faced, timid, patient.” In marked contrast, the FERA’s staff of “bright fresh-colored college girls troop[ed] in at the end of the day’s work like beings of a different breed of heralds, as perhaps they are, of a new social order.” (9) The FERA operated through the state’s Georgia Emergency Relief Administration (GERA), which oversaw county relief organizations, which in turn directed local projects.

In preparation for the implementation of the FERA, the Special (Emergency) Relief Committee of Atlanta and Fulton County prepared the “Report of Past and Future Activities on Work Relief Projects” describing the diversity of work projects conducted with Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) and private funds before the creation of the FERA. These ranged from 250 men employed in terracing the grounds behind Girls’ High School to 20 men employed repairing shoes. (10) Unfortunately pre-FERA funds had not come close to providing for the needs of the unemployed. In the spring of 1933 cases averaged over 12,000 per month, and the limited funds provided only $10.02 per month for the average case. (11) Such a low level of support resulted in severe hardships such as those described by former FERA social worker Augusta Dunbar who, upon entering the home of a relief applicant, found that all the furniture had been reclaimed and all that remained was a plaque on the wall which said, “Home Sweet Home.” Dunbar said, “The thing the woman objected [to] the most was [that] they took the stove out and put the dinner on the floor.” In July the FERA increased the level of relief as much as its funds allowed, but still the average recipient was given only about two-thirds of the minimum amount of money necessary to maintain health. (12)

Gay B. Shepperson, formerly head of the state department of public welfare, directed the Georgia Relief Commission which administered the GERA. In preparation for her responsibilities, Shepperson traveled to Washington and conferred with FERA director Harry Hopkins, who also had been her boss during the 1920s when they worked together in the Red Cross. (13) The FERA took on the immense task of providing for the approximately 60,000 Atlantans on the welfare rolls in late summer 1933. From the beginning it spent the bulk of its funds in work relief projects which employed unskilled workers. In a typical project, sixty men cleared ditches and repaired roads for 123 days at Fort McPherson. (14) These projects distributed aid to the greatest number of people possible and received strong community support.

The FERA encountered major administrative difficulties in its first year in Georgia. When Hopkins appointed Shepperson and her immediate staff, he obliterated the jobs of several Georgia politicians, including that of Talmadge’s stepson, John A. Peterson. Even more objectionable to Talmadge, the amount of money sent to each county by the FERA far exceeded the amount that he controlled personally in each county. This threatened his political power. It particularly irritated him that the money was controlled by a woman. The fact that the federal money was being spent at all went against his belief that frugality was the best means of combatting the depression. It also irritated the agrarian Talmadge that cities, especially Atlanta, received the bulk of FERA funds. L. Alan Johnstone, FERA field representative, sent his evaluation of the Georgia governor to Hopkins:

Mr. Talmadge says that people in Atlanta who are on relief are all bums and loafers and that they will “out-smart” you. While walking down the street the other day with Dave Shaltz of Fla. a bum asked Shaltz for a quarter to get a shave. Talmadge says that all people on relief are like that.

  Talmadge insists that the people on the farms need help, but the people in the cities are chiseling. Talmadge was elected by the people on the farms.

Johnstone praised Shepperson and the professional staff, but severely criticized Talmadge and his appointees on the Georgia Relief Commission, which approved GERA projects and expenditures, but did not control daily administration or the source of funds. (15) In January 1934, Hopkins sacked the Talmadge-dominated Georgia Relief Commission and appointed Shepperson relief administrator of Georgia. At the same time, he replaced the original Georgia CWA administrator, Atlanta banker Ronald Ransom, with Shepperson. This eviscerated Talmadge’s influence and made Atlanta one of the first U.S. cities to have a federally operated relief program. (16)

Civil Works Administration

Hopkins feared in fall 1933 that the coming winter would produce tremendous suffering since the economy remained severely depressed. The CWA was therefore created in November 1933. The FERA relinquished its work relief functions to the CWA at the same time that the federal government took over complete administrative authority for both agencies. Placing the CWA totally in federal hands throughout the nation meant that relief could be implemented more quickly. To maintain continuity with the FERA, GERA staff and programs remained in place.

The organization of the CWA in Fulton County in November took only two days because it had the highest percentage of skilled workers of any Georgia county. This allowed 9,957 workers to be transferred immediately from FERA relief rolls to CWA projects. Additional hiring resulted in a peak level of 14,407 CWA workers in Fulton County. Two departments existed, one for skilled jobs and one for unskilled. Building repairs, making up the largest number of Fulton County projects, included those at about 200 Atlanta and Fulton County public schools, in addition to Grady Hospital and Georgia Tech. New construction projects included the start of a new Atlanta sewer system, with a trunk sewer line laid. The largest unskilled undertaking employed workers to level and grade runways at Candler Field. Additionally, the CWA paved roads, surveyed social relief agencies, maintained a transient shelter, organized a forty-five-member symphony orchestra, provided clerical help at the state library, and staffed professional positions in the pubic schools in Fulton County. Also, the Division of Women’s Work operated a variety of service ventures including sewing projects, nursing projects, and nursery schools. (17)

TABLE 1

Selected Atlanta Art Works of the CWA Public Works of Art Project
 
Portraits of

Dr. Joshua Gilbert by Ralph M. Britt

Bernard Mallon by Joseph N. Colgan

Sidney Lanier by Harold T. Phillips

Hon. Allen D. Candler byErnest M. Seagle
 
Paintings of

Kennesaw Mountain by Douglas B. Wright

Historic House, St. Elmo by Henry C. Biggers

Vann House, Spring Place byRichard W. McDade

Old Crawford House, Crawford byAlfred F. Plate

Bulloch Hall, Roswell by Ms. Frances L. Turner

Jarrett Manor, Tugalo by Virginia Woolley
 
Drawings of

University of Georgia by Cornelia Cunningham
 
Sculpture

Bust of Joel Chandler Harris by Steffen W. Thomas

Ornament and frieze for Girls’ High School Dome by Fritz P. Zimmer, John Steinichen, Sr., Robert B. Logan, Wallace Steinichen

Statues and scenery for Cyclorama by Joseph V. Llorens, Weis C. Snell, John Steinichen, Jr.

Corbels for Georgia Tech by Julian H. Harris
 
Mural panels for

Grady Hospital by Ms. A. Farnsworth Drew

Bass Junior High School by Anna R. Alsobrook, Ernestine Tinsley

English Avenue School byAthos Menaboni

Joel Chandler Harris School by Mignon Breitenbucher, Bessie Mitchell

D.T. Howard School by Hale A. Woodruff

Booker T. Washington High School by Wilmer A. Jennings

Source: “Names and Addresses of Artists Employed in the fifth Region . . . until noon of the 20th of January, 1934”; untitled list of CWA Art Projects; Edgar C. Long to W.O. Bowman, Jr., 9 May 19343; J.J. Haverty to Bowman, 4 June 1934, Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr., Papers, Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta.

The federal government administered other CWA projects, including the Public Works of Art Project, directly from Washington. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum, original designer of the Stone Mountain carving of Confederate leaders, claimed credit for the idea and enthusiastically described his plans for Texas:

I’m on my way out there now. Every unemployed man is going to have a job; a real job. . . . I’m going to illustrate fairy tales and paint historical paintings. . . . What we need in this country is a creative spirit—the creative urge—a development of the artistic appreciation—application of that appreciation in the public schools. . . . We can feed a tramp and put a dry shirt on his back and give him a bed and when he leaves the next morning he is still a tramp. We have been a tramp country too long. Why, I gave the school decoration idea to Harry Hopkins two months ago. He is all for it. . . . Things are going to be done now. But say, you watch Texas! (18)

The fifth regional district of the art project, headquartered in Atlanta, included Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Regional director J.J. Haverty, founder of Haverty Furniture and an early supporter of the High Museum, was assisted by Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr., an Atlanta artist. Haverty described the project as “designed to give employment to professional artists who have superior ability, and have years of experience in their profession, and who have no employment.” Artists painted and sculpted various Georgia subjects. Kurtz’s knowledge of Civil War and Atlanta history proved to be a great help in work on the Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama in Grant Park. (19)

Most CWA workers greatly appreciated their jobs, but as happens in most large organizations, there were a small number of unproductive workers. Some of these did not wish to exchange the dole for work. One Atlantan of this type whose family had accepted relief for two generations refused to work as a janitor, a maintenance man, or a delivery man and faced being denied further relief aid. His wife pleaded to CWA administrative assistant Jane Van de Vrede for help and attributed her husband’s uncooperativeness to the agency’s failure to find him a job “suited to his talents.” Van de Vrede assigned him to the Cyclorama Art Project where she explained “they were using all grades of labor from ditch digger to the most skilled professional painter.” Later she inquired how the hesitant worker was performing, and the project superintendent said, “He’s doing OK. He is posing as a dead soldier.” Van de Vrede replied, “At last he had a job ‘suited to his talents.’” (20)

Created to last only through the winter of 1933-34, the CWA’s dismantlement began in February 1934, under the efficient direction of Gay B. Shepperson, and was completed by the end of April. Many Atlantans failed to accept the CWA’s temporariness. Even during the phase-out months, numerous applications for long-term projects arrived on Shepperson’s desk. In response to a request by the Chamblee Public School Board for a new school construction project in March, Shepperson replied:

The drastic curtailment of CWA activities in Georgia makes it problematical as to whether any new projects will be approved and absolutely prohibits the approval of the purchase of any material with CWA funds. (21)

Projects unfinished by the end of April presented a difficult problem. These included several school murals and work at the Cyclorama and Girls’ High School. From its inception the CWA had provided wages and administration with the understanding that local authorities would provide materials. When the city failed to adopt a budget in early 1934, many art projects faced a lack of materials. Since the city’s delays helped create the problem, it made sense to give the responsibility for unfinished projects to municipal government. In June, Shepperson hoped to persuade the city to take over the Cyclorama restoration project. She reasoned that because Cyclorama admission fees produced revenue, the city should be able to afford the expense of completing the project. In the end the FERA and the PWA took over the 507 unfinished projects in Georgia, including the Atlanta art projects. (22)

With the FERA again in control of both work relief and direct relief, its operations grew to the greatest levels during the last half of 1934 and first half of 1935. Programs developed during the period from the termination of the CWA until the initiation of the WPA in summer 19353 resembled those of the CWA. Some projects were transferred from the FERA in 1933 to the CWA back to the FERA and then to the WPA. One of these, the Atlanta Transient Bureau, served the urgent function of caring for the thousands of jobless drifters who traveled through Atlanta.

PWA and Public Housing

At the same time the FERA and CWA combatted unemployment with relief programs, the Public Works Administration (PWA) undertook a tremendous construction program employing thousands of Atlantans, mainly on sewer and public housing projects. The PWA directed these with only a state engineer and an advisory board, with construction work done by private contractors on a bid basis. The PWA’s three-zone labor scale placed the South in the lowest wage zone, which provided a minimum of $.40 per hour for unskilled workers and $1.00 per hour for skilled workers. (23)

Atlanta applied in July 1933 for $8 million worth of sewer construction projects. PWA Director Harold L. Ickes announced plans to pay 30 percent of the cost. If Atlanta could not pay its small $25,000 per month to the FERA, it surely had no way to raise its required share of the sewer project, especially since Georgia’s constitutional limitations on municipal indebtedness forbade the city from borrowing additional funds. In October 1933, Atlanta leaders and the Georgia PWA advisory board unsuccessfully appealed directly to FDR for a reduction of the local share of project costs to 10 percent. By November several PWA road projects were underway in Georgia, but Atlanta still had no sewer projects. Ickes said, “Georgia has not benefited as much as some other states”; therefore, the PWA “will try to start some projects there.” The first major Atlanta project, a new $346,000 city jail to accommodate 430 prisoners, received approval shortly afterwards. The sewer request remained unapproved, and at the end of 1933 the PWA transferred it to the CWA. (24)

TABLE 2

Some FERA Projects in Atlanta and Fulton County, 1933-36

Atlanta Orchestra
Atlanta Traffic Survey
Candler Field Construction
College Aid program
Dental Clinic
Food Distribution Program
Fort McPherson Building and Landscaping
Fulton County Government Clerical Assistance
Georgia Department of Public Health Professional help
Grady Hospital Building Improvement and Landscaping
Libraries Staffing and Book Repairs
National Relief Census
Nursing Projects
Public School Buildings Repair and Construction
Public Work of Art Project
Sewer System Construction
Sewing Programs
Social Relief Agencies Survey
Teachers for Adult Education
Transient Bureau


Source: FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia, FERA, RG 69, NA.

Giving the sewer application to the CWA meant that the project could start with no additional local funds expended. It also would lead to the PWA and FERA’s carrying on sewer work begun by the CWA upon its closing in spring 1934. In early 1934 the CWA reported that Atlanta had

greatly outgrown its sewer disposal plant, over half the city sewage has been dumped in a raw condition into the various streams of water flowing into the Chattahoochee River. The citizens of the city have long realized that the condition must be remedied, but the means by which a betterment of conditions could be brought about were not available. (25)

Atlanta’s sewer construction, the CWA’s largest Georgia project, cost over $1 million from January to April 1934. (26)

Atlanta’s flamboyant pro-New Deal major, James L. Key, flew to Washington in 1935 to push for approval of $6.8 million in PWA sewer work. In late 1935, the new WPA and the PWA agreed to hold the city’s portion of the cost to $1.5 million. In January 1936 the approved comprehensive plans for sewers and storm sewers called for PWA expenditures of $4.5 million and WPA expenditures of $2 million. At last Atlantans would have a sewage system. (27)

The PWA continued construction projects in Atlanta in 1935-36 which provided useful community facilities including buildings, roads, sewers, and water works. Georgia received the largest share of PWA works in the Southeast, and Atlanta got more than its share of these. Operating through private contractors in an effort to stimulate the economy, the PWA paid employees at rates equivalent to those found in private industry. The PWA built many school facilities in Atlanta. At Georgia Tech it erected a combination auditorium and gymnasium, a 105-by-159-foot concrete building able to seat 3,000 spectators, at a cost of $92,911. Built mainly in 1936, it was first used in January 1937. (28)

The PWA also constructed in Atlanta the nation’s first federal housing projects—Techwood and University Homes. Atlanta businessman Charles F. Palmer initiated the idea. he saw the New Deal as the means for eliminating some of the city’s slums while at the same time building decent housing for deserving low-income workers. At the time of his death in 1973 the Constitution described Palmer as “an incongruous figure to have devoted his life to the problems of the slum-dweller. Turned out in banker’s grey or bureaucratic black, he look far less the crusader than the man of affairs or as a functionary of government.” Nevertheless, this real estate promoter, who originally conceived of Techwood Homes as a money maker for himself and other slum owners who sold the site for the project to the government, ended up crusading for public housing the rest of his life. (29)

A WPA study of the Techwood neighborhood described the former slums of “Techwood Flats” as an area that “had steadily disintegrated. Never a better class residential section, it had reached the nadir of poverty, wretchedness, and dilapidation.” Close to the Georgia Tech campus and busy Peachtree Street, the slum area was a civic eyesore. The University Homes site, a rough, impoverished neighborhood known as Beaver Slide, lay in close proximity to Atlanta University and Clark, Morehouse, Morris Brown, and Spelman Colleges. Palmer and Atlanta University President John Hope took their cause to FDR in Washington, and in October 1933 the PWA approved Techwood Homes for whites and University Homes for blacks.

Not all Atlantans supported Palmer’s idea. A Few days after the Techwood project was announced, about 100 real estate owners met at the Ansley Hotel and organized to protest the idea on the grounds that it represented unfair competition. In the end they lost their fight, and on September 30, 1934, Harold Ickes began slum clearance for Techwood and University Homes by detonating dynamite charges at both sites. (30)

J.A. Jones Construction Co. of Charlotte, the lowest bidder, received a contract in December 19343 for $2,096,000 to build Techwood’s twenty-three brick and concrete buildings to house 604 families and 308 Georgia Tech students. The Atlanta University Homes cost $1,900,000 for forty-two concrete buildings with 677 apartments. Palmer praised FDR for his role in assuring the approval of the two projects:

President Roosevelt’s part-time home state is indeed fortunate to be the first in the South to have completed plans for such outstanding housing developments. We hope the work will be well under way when President Roosevelt, whom I consider one of the greatest leaders the world has ever produced, is in the South this fall.

FDR dedicated Techwood Homes on November 29, 1935, at Grant Field on the Georgia Tech campus with over 50,000 people cheering him. The first residents moved into their new homes on August 15, 1936. (31) By that time community support had produced applications for several other Atlanta housing projects.

National Recovery Administration

In addition to establishing the PWA, the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 1933 created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) headed by Gen. Hugh S. Johnson. The NRA planned to create a million jobs in capital goods industries by October 1933. Johnson said this would be accomplished by the

shortening of hours and increase of wages with the repression of prices to only such increases as would accommodate increased out-of-pocket costs due to improved hours and wages, relying on profit on increased volume rather than increased prices. (32)

To implement this, representatives from management, labor, and the federal government established codes of fair competition for each type of business and industry. After signing code agreements, participating businesses could display the NRA’s symbol, the Blue Eagle, and its slogan, “We do our part.” The NRA then enforced the codes. Establishing the many codes took much time, so FDR created the President’s Reemployment Agreement which allowed the NRA to set up temporary wage and hour levels.

In the summer of 1933 Atlanta enthusiastically backed the NRA. Leading businesses announced full cooperation and the creation of hundreds of new jobs. The Constitution reported that because of an industry-wide textile code, “hundreds of Atlanta’s unemployed will join the great procession back to work this week and thousands more will find increased sums in their pay envelope.” Atlanta’s numerous retail employees received a minimum salary of $14.50 for a 40-hour week, when 140 retail companies agreed to a retail wage code at a meeting organized by the Atlanta Retail Merchants Association led by Frank Neely of Rich’s and J.P. Allen of J.P. Allen Co. On August 2 the Constitution declared: “The wings of the Blue Eagle of the NRA spread over Atlanta Tuesday” when “more than 1,000 window signs proclaimed the fact that thousands of workers will find awaiting them shorter hours and larger pay envelopes.” Businessmen stood in line at the crowded Federal Building to sign compliance slips and receive Blue Eagle signs. Many businesses publicized their support. Lane Drug Stores advertised: “Lane’s has signed and intends to back the President’s plan which we all hope will mean ‘curtains’ to the grave question of unemployment and will result in saner business conditions for all.” Volunteer Food Stores told the public: “Mr. President, WE DO OUR PART is the pledge of every Atlanta Volunteer.” Enthusiasm for the NRA in Atlanta brought an atmosphere similar to that at the time of the declaration of World War I. Even the Ku Klux Klan voiced support and printed a Blue Eagle on their official publication, the Kourier. (33)

Throughout August and September 1933 reports showed business increases, and in mid-August banks reported a 5.6 percent increase in deposits. The Chamber of Commerce, local organizer for the NRA, reported 4,325 Blue Eagle supporters by August 23, or about half of all firms in Atlanta. The Jaycees began a house-to-house and business-to-business canvass to gain pledges of support from all citizens. On September 1 the NRA announced its goal to “hike local pay rolls here $5,000,000.” By September 15, 6,156 firms had signed pledges, and 170,528 employees were under the Blue Eagle. A week later the Constitution announced the “NRA program [is] being placed on [a] permanent foundation.” NRA organizing efforts culminated in the largest parade in Atlanta history in early October when over 100,000 people lined Peachtree Street to cheer the NRA. (34)

Hugh S. Johnson visited the city November 23 to address 3,500 people in the packed City Auditorium. He praised FDR and Georgia which “he calls his adopted state.” Johnson attached the “grouches” who refused to support the NRA and compared the fight to end the depression to other wars waged in America’s past. (35) At the time of Johnson’s visit, Atlanta remained a site of strong pro-NRA sentiment, but throughout the nation problems existed. In the rural South employers often disliked the wage scales which far exceeded wages previously paid. Also, many white Southerners resented the lack of separate provisions for the races even though it was obvious that wages for jobs held mainly by blacks were fixed by codes to be below wages for jobs held mainly by whites. Union leaders complained that their right to organize as provided for under section 7A of the NRA was not being adequately protected. Code enforcement displeased small businesses and labor who felt that big business dominated the NRA. Additionally, many Americans thought the NRA smacked of socialism.

In Atlanta, some code violations took place, but these did not produce widespread anti-NRA sentiment. The only well-known local critic was Governor Talmadge whose opinions many Atlantans disdained anyway. Regional NRA director W.L. Mitchell oversaw investigation into complaints made by individuals against alleged violators. Of all codes, those for the construction industry and retail food and grocery trade received the largest number of complaints. If found guilty of noncompliance a business could be required to make restitution to employees and could be stripped of its Blue Eagle. NRA code adjusters investigated complaints and filed reports. If evidence against a business existed, either the NRA field adjuster could work out an agreement satisfactory to worker and employer, or litigation could be undertaken to force the business to make restitution to workers.

A typical case involved DeLameter’s Pharmacy, a small Atlanta concern with two retail stores, one at 719 Ponce de Leon Avenue and another at 260 Boulevard, N.E. After receiving complaints from employees, NRA adjuster I.C. Evans interviewed employer and workers. The employer, store manager Freeman DeLameter, admitted to code violations pertaining to requiring employees to work split shifts but excused himself saying he had misinterpreted the code. He assured the adjuster that code violations would not happen again. The adjuster wrote that the employee involved, a soda and curb boy, claimed that the manager “permits employees to leave one establishment only to report for work at another of his stores,” and ordered workers whose “hours are finished, to remain in the store with the hats and coats on so as to give the impression that they are not on duty, although (these) employees are required to work.” Further investigation revealed that a soda and curb boy was only fourteen years old, though he had told DeLameter he was sixteen. After collecting evidence, the NRA attorney decided not to pursue the case since the “respondent is a small concern, and the violations claimed would not have any effect upon interstate commerce which would support litigation.” (36)

This case illustrates the types of problems encountered by the NRA in Atlanta. Overall, the public liked the NRA’s purpose, but when applied in such a wide range of businesses the NRA became unenforceable. Even so, after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional in May 1935, numerous Atlanta businesses continued to display the Blue Eagle for several months, and the Constitution reported that “Atlanta employers [are] generally expected to make no changes in hours or wages.” (37)

In addition to the FERA, CWA, PWA, and NRA, other New Deal programs, though less directly involved in Atlanta affairs or smaller in scope, were also significant. The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) refinanced thousands of Atlanta homes at low interest rates for long terms. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) financed thousands of new dwellings in Atlanta. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created camps throughout Georgia including one at Warm Springs. Eager youths immediately filled Fulton County’s quota of 692 men for the CCC in April 1934. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), though not operating in the immediate Atlanta area, brought great economic improvements to North Georgia, a part of Atlanta’s economic hinterland. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) acreage-reduction program benefited cotton farmers, thus helping Georgia’s overall economic condition. The value of cotton produced in Georgia reached the century’s low of $29,782,000 in 1932, but after AAA programs got underway in 1933 it increased to $58,628,000 in 1935. (38)

Beginning in January 1934, Atlantans celebrated FDR’s birthday annually with an elaborate ball which raised funds for Warm Springs. The well-supported event characterized the close feeling between FDR and his adopted state. When she addressed the President’s Club at the Biltmore Hotel in December 1933, U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins predicted to Atlantans the

creation of a new civilization in which every American citizen, whether high or low, will have a better standard of living, enjoying leisure to develop a wholesome social and cultural life, as the result of the Roosevelt recovery program. (39)

If skeptics were in attendance they did not speak out in Atlanta. Atlantans remembered the chronic municipal fiscal crises and the inadequate community services before the New Deal. They also remembered the anguish of hopeless unemployment and knew that Atlanta’s economic indicators had improved since FDR’s inauguration. From 1933 to 1936 most segments of Atlanta’s economy grew. Only privately financed real estate transactions and privately financed construction lagged far behind 1929 levels, mainly because of the extremely inflated 1929 real estate prices. New Deal construction reduced the negative impact of depressed privately financed construction on the overall economy.

WPA and NYA

Though commerce and industry improved after 1933, relief rolls remained long in America’s cities, including Atlanta, where the number of public relief cases declined only 0.9 percent in 1935 from the 1934 level. (40) When FDR took office in 1933, the federal government began temporary relief programs, chiefly the FERA. The persistence of high unemployment, New Dealers’ preference for work relief over the dole, and their desire to establish permanent public assistance programs resulted in changes in federal policy. The administration implemented an expanded, less temporary work relief program when it established the Works Progress Administration in summer 1935. Renamed the Works Projects Administration in 1937, the popular WPA took over and expanded the FERA’s work projects. The FERA began phasing out direct relief funding, and local welfare agencies took over unemployable direct relief cases. Also in the summer of 1935, FDR signed the Social Security Act, which created a permanent program of public assistance to support the most unemployable, indigent citizens. This formed a major part of the modified welfare state during the New Deal years. These changes caught Atlanta in the middle between federal and state government policies. Participation in Social Security programs required state welfare reforms. The phase-out of the FERA caused the city to need state help to fund direct relief for unemployables. Unfortunately for Atlanta, anti-New Deal Gov. Eugene Talmadge blocked both welfare reforms and relief funding in 1935 and 1936.

TABLE 3

Selected WPA Service Projects in Atlanta, 1935 and 1936
Type of Project/Sponsors
 
Clerical Work/City of Atlanta
Clerical Work/DeKalb County Consumers Council
Clerical Work/State Dept. of Geology
Supplemental/Teachers/State Board of Education
Tax Records Indexing/City of Decatur
Library Assistance /State Supreme Court
Library Book Rebinding/Atlanta Public Library
Library Book Rebinding/Atlanta Public Schools
Medical Laboratory Work/City of Atlanta
Nursing/Fulton County Board of Health
Sewing Rooms/State Dept. of Public Welfare
Relief Statistics Survey/State Dept. of Public Welfare
Surplus Food Distribution/WPA

In late 1934, the FERA took steps toward transferring relief cases of unemployables whose hardships had not resulted from the loss of work to local and state authorities. Atlanta had not accepted the fact that the federal government had never intended for the FERA to support unemployable citizens indefinitely, and the city and county had insufficient funds to support the unemployables. Therefore, they reacted slowly to federal demands that local government assume responsibilities for direct relief. (41) In June 1935 when state government still offered no help to its unemployable citizens and even failed to pay thousands of its own employees, the Constitution indicated that Shepperson and Hopkins “blasted” state government for its failure to meet its obligations. (42)

Summer 1935 proved to be a nightmare for Atlanta’s unemployables. With FERA dismantlement underway, WPA projects not yet begun, and an inadequate state welfare system, thousands went without means of support. Citizens deluged Washington with requests for help. Since Fulton County lacked the resources to support its unemployables, the FERA reluctantly provided some funding through June 1937. (43) The uncooperative Talmadge administration made certain that state government would not fund relief or carry out welfare program reforms. Only after the inauguration of Gov. E.D. Rivers in January 1937 would state government support New Deal welfare policies.

When planning the WPA, Hopkins and FDR did not intend to abandon the unemployed who lost FERA benefits. Rather, they sought to create a comprehensive work relief program which would uplift the participants while it provided worthwhile services and facilities. FDR wanted to end direct relief, for as he told Atlanta businessman Chip Robert, the head of the U.S. Wage and Price Administration’s Wage Commission, “We don’t want a dole system. It’s been the damnation of England.” (44) FDR, Hopkins, and most professional social workers strongly advocated work relief which replaced a feeling of uselessness and futility with a sense of self-respect. The GERA stated in its September 1935 Monthly Review of Relief Statistics that

the system of continuous employment on their new jobs will do much to restore the habit of regular and sustained industry which has been weakened during the past years of sporadic business activity. (45)

The WPA put first priority on helping unemployed workers. It required at least 90 percent of the workers on any project to come from relief rolls. With FERA relief diminishing, the WPA in Atlanta attempted to put hundreds to work as quickly as possible. Georgia WPA assistant administrative Robert MacDougall’s wife, Margaret, later recalled those days to have been “like a war. I’ve heard him (MacDougall) scream out in a nightmare, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,’ and I’d wake him up and he would have been talking to starving people.” (46)

Hopkins appointed Shepperson as Georgia WPA administrator with complete control over federal relief efforts as she had held in the FERA. The Atlanta-based Georgia FERA staff formed the majority of the WPA staff, which numbered 396 in 1936. In 1935 the WPA created three division in Georgia to administer and execute its programs: Intake and Certification, Finance, and Work Projects. The WPA added four other divisions by 1940: Women’s Work (later changed to Women’s and Professional, then to Professional and Service, and finally to Community Service), Labor Management, Office Management, and Safety. All operated from Atlanta with most offices in the then-recently built Thorton, or Ten Pryor Street, Building. (47)

The first WPA projects approved in summer 1935 closely resembled those of their predecessors, the FERA and CWA. In May it became known that the federal work relief bill provided for nearly $4.9 billion to be spent, and Atlanta’s civic leaders hoped to capture a large share of the bonanza. They rapidly drew up a $2.5 million dream list of projects including a completed sewer system, new highways, a northside airport, a stadium, a market, a fire department headquarters, and many school improvements. Their hopes for funds were soundly rewarded in July when the WPA approved $7,350,000 for over $10 million worth of projects for Georgia’s District 5, comprised of Atlanta, Fulton, and DeKalb counties. The list included sewer and water system, hospital, road, school, recreation, airport, library, and public building projects. (48) The WPA required the local government to pay about 20 percent of project costs. Harold Ickes told Hopkins that Atlanta should and could pay a greater share, nearer the 55 percent that Buffalo, New York, and other cities had paid for PWA sewer work. Fortunately for Atlanta, Hopkins did not increase the city’s share of expenses, but most projects could not begin until the city paid its part. Shepperson and others spoke to community groups in the campaign seeking approval of a $1,775,000 bond issue to enable the city to raise the matching funds. Shepperson particularly stressed the need for the $6 million sewer system:

Since the bond issue of 1910 the city has issued no bonds and made no appropriation for sewage disposal. In other words, the city, for a quarter of a century, has stood still.

  Atlanta has escaped an epidemic of typhoid fever by the grace of God and nothing else.

  Atlanta is polluting every stream in every Atlanta watershed, every hour of the day and every night. This condition creates a menace to the public health which is frightful to contemplate.

  We have the opportunity at this time to build 54 miles of trunk sewers and five sewage disposal plants with the federal government furnishing 80 percent of the money as an outright gift.

Citizens responded by approving the bond issue on September 18, 1935, thus assuring the completion of thirty projects already underway. (49)

Project selection proved to be a tough job. Robert MacDougall, a Georgia Tech-educated engineer, directed construction projects as head of Georgia’s WPA Operations Division. To gain approval, a public agency sponsoring a construction of service project submitted a proposal with a complete set of plans and an estimated cost. The sponsor, often the city of Atlanta, furnished most materials and any necessary skilled labor not found on the WPA’s rolls. Immediately after the Georgia WPA approved a project, it supplied labor and any materials it agreed to furnish, and it administered the project. (50) Engineers supervised construction projects, and professionals with appropriate training supervised service projects. The Georgia WPA had little trouble finding well-qualified supervisors because of the widespread unemployment of engineers and social workers. Many years after the depression when he worked for a privately owned company, MacDougall said that the dedicated WPA supervisors worked “twice as hard as those in private industry.” (51)

The Roosevelt Administration considered the WPA to be a temporary agency as the CWA and the FERA had been. When private business picked up in Atlanta in spring 1936, the government reduced the number of WPA workers in Atlanta to about 7,500 by the end of April. During 1936 the WPA approved mainly projects requiring unskilled workers who had little hope of finding work elsewhere. The largest WPA project in the entire South at the time, actually a combination of many projects, was the Atlanta sewer system. It provided thousands of jobs for unskilled workers who could not find employment in the improving private sector. (52) The Women’s Work Division, directed by Jane Van de Vrede, administered the many service projects. The Georgia State Department of Public Welfare sponsored fifteen service projects in mid-1936, several wholly or primarily in Atlanta. Also, the Public Arts Project’s music and visual arts programs reached Atlanta in late 1935 and early 1936. WPA musicians formed three groups of non-professionals and professionals. They performed at the Erlanger Theater and in local high schools. Atlanta’s Carnegie Library and other public buildings received WPA murals. (53)

In 1935 and 1936 the WPA established itself as the major New Deal agency in Atlanta, but others also made significant contributions. One of these, the national youth Administration (NYA), established under the WPA on June 26, 1935, operated programs for people from sixteen to twenty-four years of age. In January 1936, Fulton and DeKalb County NYA projects reached 346 youths. (54) Like the WPA, the NYA required a local sponsor for each project. For example, the city of Decatur sponsored a park project for boys, and the city of Atlanta sponsored a hand sewing and millinery training project for girls. Schools administered tuition aid programs for their students. In March 1936 Atlanta School of Social Work director Forrester B. Washington wrote that the NYA “Student Aid program has been a virtual ‘life-saver’ for the students in our school last year.” All accredited college and universities in the Atlanta area participated in the NYA tuition aid program with funds distributed in proportion to total enrollment without regard for the race of the students. (55)

The PWA worked with the WPA to construct the sewer system, though the two agencies disagreed over the amount of money the city should contribute. Since the PWA projects cost the city much more, the WPA built most of the system, with the PWA constructing only three disposal tanks in the period 1935-36. The city paid $750,000 or 50 percent of the cost of these, a smaller portion than the PWA’s average non-federal project share of 71 percent. The city’s release of funds for the PWA disposal plants caused it to come up short on its WPA contribution. The WPA made up the city’s shortage, which reduced Atlanta’s share of the nearly $6,000,000 WPA sewer work from a project 23 percent to only 14 percent. (56)

The Social Security Act

Not all new Deal programs which directly affected thousands of Atlantans were temporary like the FERA, CWA, WPA, NYA, and PWA. The most significant permanent programs for working Atlantans were part of the Social Security Act signed into law by FDR in 1935. It did not begin in Georgia until 1937. To participate in the federal-state welfare programs authorized by the act, Georgia had to pass state constitutional amendments. Unfortunately, Governor Talmadge blocked all efforts to pass the necessary amendments during 1935 and 1936. No Social Security amendments were enacted until after Gov. E.D. Rivers took office in January 1937. Without the amendments Georgians did not receive federal aid to the aged, dependent children, crippled children, and needy blind or for insurance against unemployment. (57) This produced a major campaign issue in the 1936 gubernatorial race and had much to do with the election of E.D. Rivers, who promised full support of the New Deal and a “Little New Deal” for Georgia.

The Social Security issue resembled the earlier conflict between Talmadge and federal officials over relief funds. Atlanta and its residents benefited from federal programs while Talmadge’s ideas of less government and fewer programs represented an obstacle to progress. Even traditionally conservative businessmen realized the value of millions of federal dollars to the Atlanta economy, and none of Talmadge’s attacks diminished FDR’s popularity in Georgia. On election day 1936 FDR swept Fulton County by 27,003 to Landon’s 3,515 votes. All economic levels supported him with the wealthy Buckhead district voting for Roosevelt by a margin of 1,135 to 349 (58) Prior to his presidency, FDR had made strong friendships in Georgia, and the policies of his first administration reinforced the affection of the people of Atlanta for their adopted son.

The 1937-38 recession necessitated increases in federal spending, mainly by the WPA and Social Security Administration. In 1939, with economic recovery again underway, federal relief programs became less important, and dismantlement of the WPA began. As war spread through Europe in late 1939 and in 1940, prosperity and war preparedness took the attention of FDR and the American people away from the depression.

Though much remained unchanged, Atlanta in 1940 was a more modern, stronger city than she had been before the depression. Modern businesses stood ready to alter the face of the city and region. As a result of positive changes brought by the New Deal, the city possessed strengths and a foundation for future growth far superior to that found in 1929. By 1940 Atlanta had the best infrastructure of any southern city. Its sewage and water system, highways and bridges, and airport improvements provided the requisite facilities needed to support plant expansions, transportation growth, and new construction during and after World War II. Additionally, new public housing developments, school and health care improvements, recreational facilities, and public assistance programs provided thousands of Atlantans with a better urban environment with substantially improved living conditions. the business elite had shrewdly adapted to the times. They had set aside their laissez-faire economic ideas and had accepted the New Deal’s approaches to solving pressing community problems. They had gained a large list of urban amenities for Atlanta without losing their influence over local government or giving up Atlanta’s low taxes as a inducement to potential investors. The city-federal partnership stood firmly established in 1940. Created during the difficult years of the depression, this partnership recognized the fact that the United States by the 1930s was no longer a nation of self-sufficient farmers and that the nation’s cities served as its economic centers.

In U.S. cities outside the Southeast, states provided a large part of funds for schools, public works, and public assistance. Since Atlanta received little help from the state, the arrival of federal aid meant even more than it did to cities in other regions. Also, because of the business leadership’s acceptance of new Deal programs, Atlanta benefited from federal spending in the 1930s more than most American cities. In a sense, she provided a willing laboratory for New Deal experimentation. Atlanta had one of the earliest completely federally administered relief programs under the FERA because of Gov. Eugene Talmadge’s unwillingness to cooperate with federal policies. Atlanta received the first federally financed public housing, Techwood and University Homes, and the largest WPA project undertaken in the South, the Atlanta sewer system. FDR, Harry Hopkins, and Gay Shepperson had seen Southern poverty and realized its impact upon Southern cities. They had a personal commitment to help the city. The farsightedness and pragmatism of federal and local leaders, the honest administration of the programs, and their tremendous accomplishments permanently altered the city physically. Because of the New Deal, Atlanta survived the ordeal of the depression and entered the 1940s in better shape than ever before.

Notes

Dr. Fleming, an instructor at Woodward Academy, completed his doctoral dissertation on the New Deal in Atlanta at Emory University.

1. Frank B. Freidel, FDR and the South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965), pp. 7-9, 20; The Little White House, Warm Springs, Georgia (New York: Raymond K. Martin, 1948), n.p.; John Earl Allen, “The Governor and the Strike; Eugene Talmadge and the General Strike, 1934” (M.A. thesis, Georgia State University, 1977), p. 98.

2. Atlanta Constitution, October 24, 1932.

3. U.S. Works Projects Administration of Georgia, Occupational Characteristics of Negro Workers of Atlanta Georgia (Atlanta: U.S. Works Projects Administration, 1937), pp. 70-71; Gilbert H. Boggs, Jr., ed., A History of the Georgia Civil Works Administration in Georgia, 1933-1934 (Atlanta: U.S. Civil Works Administration, 1934), p. 19, bound copy in Jane Van de Verde Collection, Georgia Department of Archives and History (hereafter cited as Van de Vrede Collection).

4. Richard F. Hofstadter, The Age of Reform from Bryan to F.D.R. (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), p. 316; William E. Leuchtenburg, radio interview, “ABC News Nightline,” December 22, 1982.

5. Atlanta Constitution, March 15, 16, 18, April 30, 1933.

6. Ibid., May 18, 21, June 23, July 3-6, August 8, 10, 1933.

7. Atlanta Journal, March 3, 1933.

8. Atlanta Constitution, March 10-16, May 2, 15, 1933.

9. U.S. Work Projects Administration of Georgia, A Report of the Social Security Survey of Georgia (Atlanta: U.S. Work Projects Administration, 1937), p. 11; Boggs, ed., Civil Works Administration in Georgia, p. 19.

10. Special Relief Committee of Atlanta and Fulton County, “Report of Past and Future Activities on Work Relief Projects, may 1, 1933,” File “Georgia General A-C,” FERA State Series, March, 1933-36, Records of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, Record Group 69, National Archives Building, Washington, D.C./ (hereafter cited as FERA, RG 69, NA).

11. Special Relief Committee of Atlanta and Fulton County, “Report for April 1933,” “Report for May 1933,” File “Georgia General A-C,” FERA State Series, March 1933-36, FERA, RG 69, NA.

12. Radio Free Georgia, “The Great Depression, Part II: Relief and Welfare Efforts,” Living Atlanta Series, tape 36 (Atlanta Radio Free Georgia Broadcasting Foundation, Inc., 1981).

13. Atlanta Constitution, June 21, August 25, 1933, January 6, 1934.

14. Brig. Gen. L. H. Bach to Hopkins, August 11, 1933, File “FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia 450, Work Relief,” FERA State Series, 1933-36, FERA, RG 69, NA; Shepperson to Jacob Baker, Director of FERA, Work Relief and Special Projects, Washington, D.C., August 31, 1933, File “FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia 450, Work Relief,” FERA State Series, 1933-36, FERA, RG 69, NA.

15. Johnstone to Hopkins, September 18, 1933, File “FERA States Files, 1933-36, Georgia 406, Field Reports,” FERA State Series, 1933-36, FERA, RG 69, NA; Atlanta Constitution, June 23, 1933.

16. Johnstone to Hopkins, January 19, 1934, File “FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia 400, Field Reports,” FERA State Series, 1933-36, FERA, RG 69, NA; Atlanta Constitution, January 6, 7, 9, 1934. By the end of March 1935, the federal government had assumed direct control of FERA operations in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

17. Boggs, ed., Civil Works Administration in Georgia, pp. 61-66, 109, 112, 121, 172-73.

18. Atlanta Constitution, December 30, 1933.

19. J.J. Haverty to Doris Simmons, art teacher, January 8, 1934, Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr., Papers, Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta (hereafter cited as Kurtz Papers); Meta Barker to Wilbur Kurtz, July 23, 1930, Kurtz Papers.

20. Jane Van de Vrede, personal notes, File “Cyclorama,” Van de Vrede Collection.

21. Boggs, ed., Civil Works Administration in Georgia, p. 30; Atlanta Constitution, February 18, 1934; Edgar C. Long, Chief Clerk, CWA of Georgia, to Weis C. Snell, April 28, 1934, Kurtz Papers; Shepperson to Moody E. Smith, principal, Chamblee public Schools, March 3, 1934; File “Georgia Projects A-K,” General Administrative Correspondence, November 1933-May 1934, Central Files of the Civil Works Administration, Records of the Civil Works Administration, Record Group 69, National Archives Building, Washington, D.C. (hereafter cited as CWA, RG 69, NA).

22. Willis A. Sutton, superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools, to Haverty, February 24, 1934, Kurtz Papers; Haverty to Sutton, March 2, 6, 14, April 2, 1934, Kurtz Papers; Long to Ada M. Barker, Fulton County CWA administrator, and T.J. Durrett, Jr., Fulton County CWA engineer, May 18, 19, 1934, Kurtz Papers; Shepperson to Barker, June 22, 1934, Kurtz Papers; Atlanta Constitution, March 24, 1934; Boggs, ed., Civil Works Administration in Georgia, p. 29.

23. Atlanta Constitution, July 23, 27, 30, August 14, 18, 1933.

24. Ibid., July 30, August 27, 29, September 21, 24, 27, 28, October 9, 19, November 15, 23, December 16, 29, 30, 1933, October i, November 8, 19343. The PWA’s small staff left few records, and most of those were lost before they could be sent to the National Archives. There are no significant PWA records there for Atlanta.

25. Ibid., January 5, 6, 1934; Boggs, ed., Civil Works Administration in Georgia, p. 64.

26. Atlanta Constitution, January 30, February 5,6, March 23, 24, 1934.

27. October 30, November 2, 1935, January 30, 1936.

28. “The PWA and Georgia,” Newsweek 12 (December 1938): 12; PWA, Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies between the years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the PWA (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Federal Works Agency, 1939), p. 320. U.S. Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, The Story of the PWA in Pictures (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1936), p. 1.

29. Atlanta Constitution, October 13, 15, 1933, June 19, 1973; David B. Jenks, “Charles Palmer and the Division of Defense Housing Coordination, 1940-1942” (M.A. thesis, Emory University, 1972), p. 17; Charles F. Palmer, You and Your City (Atlanta: Church and Community Press, 1963), pp. 6-9.

30. Atlanta Constitution, October 19, 1933, April 15, May 5, July 1, 3, September 30, 1934; U.S. Work Projects Administration of Georgia, Techwood Neighborhood (Atlanta: U.S. Work Projects Administration, Georgia, 1939), p. 7; Radio Free Georgia, “Techwood and University Homes, Part I: The Nation’s First Federal Public Housing Projects,” Living Atlanta Series, tape 45 (Atlanta; Radio Free Georgia Broadcasting Foundation, Inc., 1981).

31. Atlanta Constitution, July 21, 23, November 25, December 21, 1934, November 29, 30, 1935, September 2, 1936.

32. Hugh S. Johnson, The Blue Eagle from Egg to Earth (1935; reprint ed., New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), pp. 196-97.

33. Atlanta Constitution, July 30, 31, August 1, 2, 4, 1933; Michael S. Holmes, The New Deal in Georgia: An Administrative History (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1975), p. 186.

34. Atlanta Constitution, August 13, 15, 21, 24, 25, September 1, 15, 22, October 5, 1933.

35. Ibid., November 24, 1933, February 14, April 15, June 29, 1934.

36. John I. Hynds, special assistant to NRA regional director, to W.L. Mitchell, regional and state director, NRA, November 16, 1935, File “Analyses of State Offices, Docketed Cases,” General Correspondence, January 1, 1935-January 1, 1936, Georgia-Kentucky, Records of the National Recovery Administration, Record Group 9, Federal Records Center, East Point, Georgia (hereafter cited as NRA, RG 9, FRC E.P.); File “Blue Eagle Removal Information,” General Correspondence, January 1, 1935-January 1, 1936, Georgia Kentucky, NRA, RG 9 FRC E.P.; D.B. Lasseter, executive assistant, Atlanta State office, NRA, to W.M. Galvin, assistant field division administrator, NRA, Washington, D.C., November 15, 1935, File “Code Authority Administration,” Atlanta Administration Records, January 1935-January 1936, Restitution to Negroes, NRA, RG 9, FRC E.P.; File “NRA Code Violation: DeLameter’s Pharmacy, Atlanta, Georgia,” April 2, 3, 9, 1934, NRA, RG 9, FRC E.P.

37. Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 31, 1935.

38. Ibid., March 10, April 8, 21, 24, July 3, 6, 14, 18, 1933, June 29, 1934; U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Cotton Statistics, 1909-1949 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1951), p. 12.

39. Atlanta Constitution, December 13, 1933.

40. Atlanta Social Welfare Council,Relief and Service, p. 2, Atlanta Lung Association Collection, Atlanta Historical Society.

41. U.S. Work Projects Administration, Final Statistical Report of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Work Projects Administration, 1942), p. 7; WPA, Occupational Characteristics, pp. 70-71; State of Georgia, Report of Georgia Department of Public Welfare, January 1, 1937-June 30, 1938, pp. 17-18.

42. Atlanta Constitution, June 1, 3-5, 7, 23, 1935.

43. Russell to Hopkins, July 25, 1935, File “FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia 400,” FERA State Series, FERA, RG 69, NA; Harrington to Russell, July 25, 1935, File “FERA State Series, FERA, RG 69, NA; Stauffer to Russell, July 26, 1935, File “FERA State Files, 1933-36, Georgia 400,” FERA State Series, FERA, RG 69, NA; WPA, FERA Final Statistical Report, p. 7; Hopkins to Robert F. Maddox, Atlanta Community Chest president, November 1, 1935, File “Georgia Public Relations,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA.

44. William Anderson, The Wild Man from Sugar Creek: The Political Career of Eugene Talmadge (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975), p. 172.

45. FERA of Georgia, Monthly Review of Relief Statistics 1, no. 11 (September 1935): 1.

46. Atlanta Constitution, July 6, 1935; Radio Free Georgia, “The Great Depression, Part III: Unemployment and the New Deal Welfare Projects,” Living Atlanta Series, tape 37.

47. Shepperson to Col. Lawrence Westbrook, U.S. WPA assistant administrator, July 22, 1935, File “Georgia, Correspondence with State Administrator, 1935-44,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; Emerson Ross, Director of WPA of Georgia Division of Research, Statistics, and Records, to Ramspeck, October 24, 1936, File “Georgia, Correspondence with State Administrator, 1935-44,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; Holmes, New Deal in Georgia, pp. 95-96.

48. “Condensed Report of Miss Gay B. Shepperson to Federal Agencies Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, April 10, 1936, ‘Summary of Relief Activities in Georgia,’” Jane Van de Vrede Papers; Atlanta Constitution, May 12, June 6, July 6, 1935.

49. Horatio B. Hacket, FERA assistant administrator, to Hopkins, August 23, 1935, File “Georgia, Correspondence with State Administrator, 1935-44,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; Atlanta Constitution, September 19, 1935; Ickes to Hopkins, August 5, 1935, “Georgia Specific Projects, 1935-43: Sewers, Drainage, and Sanitation Facilities,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; U.S. Works Progress Administration of Georgia, “Semi-monthly Narrative Report, September 1, 1935, to September 15, 1935, District 5, Atlanta, Georgia,” File Georgia Projects (General), 1935-43,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; David L. Browne to J.C. Capt, October 1, 1935, “from the files of the Project Control Division,” File “Sewer, Drainage, and Sanitation Facilities,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA.

50. WPA “Radio Talk, WSB, Atlanta, Georgia, 5:00 p.m., July 13, 1936,” typed script, Margaret L. MacDougall Collection, Atlanta Historical Society (hereafter cited as MacDougall Collection); Radio Free Georgia, “The Great Depression, Part III.”

51. Radio Free Georgia, “The Great Depression, Part III.”

52. WPA “Radio Talk,” MacDougall Collection; U.S. Works Progress Administration, Division of Social Research, Survey of Cases for Works Program Employment in 13 Cities, Research Bulletin, series 4, no. 2 (Washington, D.C.: U.s. Works Progress Administration, 1937), p. 16; Atlanta Constitution, March 18, 1936.

53. State of Georgia, Board of Control, Eleemosynary Institutions, Georgia Board of Control Eleemosynary Institutions Report for 1936 (Atlanta: State of Georgia, 1937), n.p.; Harry A. Glaser, supervisor, Federal Music Project of Georgia, to Nicolai Sokoloff, director, Federal Music Project. February 1, 1936, File “Georgia Specific Projects, 1935-43: Music Program,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA; L.P. Skidmore, director, Federal Art Project of Georgia, to Thomas C. Parker, assistant director, Federal Art Project, File “Georgia Specific Projects, 1935-43: Art Program,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA.

54. U.S. Federal Security Agency, War Manpower Commission, Final Report of the National Youth Administration, Fiscal Years 1936-43 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1944), pp. v-viii; U.S. National Youth Administration of Georgia, “Report on the National Youth Administration of Georgia, June 26, 1935, to December 31, 1938” (Atlanta: U.S. National Youth Administration, January 1939), pp. 1-7; Atlanta Constitution, October 9, 1936; “Report on State Activities, March 9, 1936,” File “Georgia Administrative Reports, September 1935-April 1936,” NYA Administrative Reports, 1935-38, Georgia, NYA, RG 119, NA.

55. “Report of State Activities, April 9, 1936,” File “Georgia Administrative Reports, September 1935-April 1936,” NYA Administrative Reports, 1935-38, NYA, RG 119, NA; Forrester B. Washington to R.R. Paty, Georgia NYA Director, March 11, 1936, File “Georgia Administrative Reports, September 1935-April 1936,” NYA Administrative Reports, 1935-38, NYA, RG 119, N.A.

56. L.C. Benedict to Malcolm J. Miller, U.S. WPA field representative, July 26, 1937, File “Georgia Specific Projects, 1935-43: Sewer, Drainage, and Sanitation Facilities,” WPA State Series, 1935-44, WPA, RG 69, NA.

57. State of Georgia, Report of Georgia Department of Public Welfare, 1937-38, p. 129; Atlanta Constitution, March 20, 1935. The old-age pensions generally called “Social Security” did not require any state participation.

58. Atlanta Journal, November 4, 1936.