The Federal Theatre Project: Analyzing Conflict Among Relief, Art, and Politics in 1930s America

In the effort to soothe the suffering of the Great Depression, New Deal programs funded a variety of approaches - including a theater project that proved controversial! Using documents such as oral histories, as well as photographs of the project's productions, pupils examine the potential government-funded art has to both heal problems and create dissension. The resource includes primary sources, as well as worksheets, to guide learning.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Discuss whether the government should fund the arts using the primary sources
Classroom Considerations
  • Learners need access to a history text book 
  • Some language in the documents is racist
Pros
  • Resource highlights a lesser-known project of the New Deal
  • Questions prompt class members to connect learning of history to contemporary policy
Cons
  • None