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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom:
The Great Depression Unit

Lesson 6: Spelling "Help" in a New Way

1. Background information for teachers:

The New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a host of new federal agencies popularly known as "alphabet" agencies because they were referred to by their initials. Charged with a variety of tasks intended to offer economic relief, recovery, and reform, a handful of these agencies were created to put people to work on public projects. Young people were especially targeted in an effort to provide employment and job training while improving American communities.

 

IDENTIFICATIONS:

 

a. CCC: Civilian Conservation Corps. Created by Congress March 31, 1933 under the Unemployment Relief Act to employ young men to work in reforestation and wildlife restoration projects.

 

b. CWA: Civil Works Administration. Created in November 1933 to provide emergency jobs for 4 million unemployed Americans through the winter. Subsequently taken in under the WPA.

 

c. WPA: Works Progress Administration. Created by federal executive order in May 1934 to employ people on public works projects ranging from road and building construction to historical resource inventories.

 

2. Learning Objectives:

 

Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

 

1. Identify the purposes of the CCC, the CWA and the WPA

 

2. Discuss the economic and civic significance of the CCC, the CWA and the WPA.

 

3. Discuss some of the long-term effects of the New Deal programs in Alabama.

 

3. Suggested Lesson:

 

1. Make a copy of the newspaper articles and photographs for each student.

 

2. After reading and evaluating the Documents, ask the students to describe the CCC, the CWA and the WPA and some of their community projects. Remind students to look for similarities and differences between the activities of the employment organizations.

 

3. As a class, list the contributions of the CCC, the CWA and the WPA.

 

4. After completing the list, ask the students to identify any parks or structures, etc. that still exist.
Also, ask the students the reasons for the rat eradication project.

 

5. Remind the students that a good portion of our state's early archeological history and research came from the efforts of the national relief programs.

 

6. As a bonus, ask the students to find out if there are any local structures that came from the New Deal era. (Remember the impact of the TVA upon rural electrification in the northern portion of Alabama. Also, encourage students to interview great-grandparents who might have taken part in the New Deal programs.)

 

Documents:

Document 1: "CCC Boys to Explore for Moundville Relics," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6949, folder 410, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 2: "State to Obtain New CCC Camp," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6949, folder 410, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 3: "CCC Will Take In 100,000 More Youths, And They'll Be Like This," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6949, folder 410, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 4: "$243,017 WPA Fund Approved for State," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6994, folder 1706, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 5: "WPA Hikes Pay In South $5 A Month," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6994, folder 1706, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 6: "1,500,000 Rats Killed By WPA," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6994, folder 1706, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 7: "State Progresses 50 Years in 41 Months of WPA Work," ADAH Public Information Subject Files, SG6994, folder 1706, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 8: "Huntsville High School Athletic Field," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department--Madison County, LPP 5, box 7, folder 2, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 9: "Rodent Control--Geneva County," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, Geneva County, LPP5, box 5, folder 12, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 10: "Rodent Control--Geneva County," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, LPP5, box 5, folder 12, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 11: "C.W.A. Transit Project--Colbert County," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, LPP5, box 4, folder 8, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 12: "Road Construction in Colbert County," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, LPP5, box 4, folder 8, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 13: "Bridge Over Spring Creek--Colbert County," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, LPP5, box 4, folder 8, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 14: "Fairfax Sewer," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, Chambers County, LPP5, box 3, folder 13, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 15: "Archaeological Survey," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, Madison County, LPP5, box 7, folder 2, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 16: "Library--Bay Minette," Civil Works Administration Photographs, 1933-1934, Safety and Compensation Department, Baldwin County, LPP5, box 3, folder 6, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.