TITLE: The New Deal Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship, Part 2
EVENT DATE: 03/14/2008
RUNNING TIME: 263 minutes
The "New Deal" Franklin Delano Roosevelt had promised the American people began to take shape immediately after his inauguration on March 4, 1933. The multi-faceted social, cultural and fiscal recovery program aimed to reform and reinvigorate national life, and to end the Great Depression. Many New Deal administrators believed that art could be a part of the daily lives of all Americans, not just the elite, and could enrich the lives of all who came in contact with it. Leading scholars from throughout the United States joined experts from the Library of Congress in the program, "Art, Culture, and Government: The New Deal at 75."
A day-long symposium titled "The New Deal Legacy and Contemporary Scholarship" rounded out the two-day event. Leading scholars presented recent research based on New Deal materials, showcasing how innovative interpretation of the Library's archival holdings continues to inspire new revelations and reassessments of 20th-century American culture. Speakers include human rights activist Stetson Kennedy, who presented "Working for the New Deal: A Voice from the Era"; historian Michael Kazin from Georgetown University, who presented the keynote address; and Christopher Brieseth, from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute at Hyde Park, N.Y., who provided a summation of the two days in his presentation on "Lessons from the New Deal for the 21st Century." Other scholars discussed topics as varied as the Native American contributions to the Federal Writers Project, WPA marionette theaters and how New Deal researchers documented topics as diverse as traditional music, religion and Puerto Rican culture.