New Essays on the Federal Writers' Project
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Established in 1935, the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) sent over 6,500 unemployed historians, teachers, writers, and librarians out to document America’s past and present in the midst of the Great Depression. The English poet W. H. Auden referred to this New Deal program as “one of the noblest and most absurd undertakings ever attempted by any state.”
Featuring original work by scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives, this edited collection provides fresh insights into how this extraordinary program helped transform American culture. In addition to examining some of the major twentieth-century writers whose careers the FWP helped to launch—including Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and Margaret Walker—Rewriting America presents new perspectives on the role of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and women on the project. Essays also address how the project’s goals continue to resonate with contemporary realities in the midst of major economic and cultural upheaval.
Along with the volume editor, contributors include Adam Arenson, Sue Rubenstein DeMasi, Racheal Harris, Jerrold Hirsch, Kathi King, Maiko Mine, Deborah Mutnick, Diane Noreen Rivera, Greg Robinson, Robert Singer, James Sun, and David A. Taylor.
“Rewriting America demonstrates some of the most vibrant undertakings of the Federal Writers’ Project—to focus on regionalism, de-center European standards, and feature previously marginalized voices. The essays are well written and will grab the attention of anyone interested in the New Deal arts programs.”—Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff, author of Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era