WPA Mural Studies
History Detectives searches for connections between a collection of unusual paintings and the largest job creation program in America's history.
FDR’s New Deal work programs will put more than 8 million back to work. And not everyone is laying roads and mixing cement – the program also employs over 40,000 in various arts projects. This unprecedented harnessing of artistic talent will create thousands of paintings, sculptures and murals for public buildings across the country. But today, nearly a third of this artwork is missing. What happened to these important pieces of our nation’s history?
Evelyn Cook of Molalla, Oregon, has inherited some paintings that may be part of this lost work. Created by her aunt, Thelma Johnson Streat, she believes they were mural studies commissioned by the WPA in the 1930’s or 1940’s. The color illustrations depict contributions of African Americans in the fields of medicine, transportation and industry.
Did any of these studies become murals and do any of Streat's murals still exist?
Season 7, Episode 9
Elyse Luray Location:
- Also with Elyse Luray Connecticut Farmhouse Why did this Connecticut farmhouse have so many owners in such a short space of time?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Diana How did this alleged lesbian autobiography escape censorship in the 1930’s?
- Also with Elyse Luray Bob Dylan Guitar Is this the guitar Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 King Kong Camera Was this old movie camera used to film the original version of King Kong?
- Related Investigation Josh White Guitar What role did this guitar play in the transformation of the music industry in the 1960's?
- Related Investigation George Washington Miniature Did the artist paint this portrait from life, and what is its surprising connection to the abolitionist White Matlack?
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