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<Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)>

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20th-Century Photos of Ex-Slaves
Start Year : 1929
End Year : 1939
This is a flickr site by beeskep that contains photograph images of former slaves who were interviewed for the Slave Narratives. Documenting the lives of former slaves began in 1929 at Fisk College [now Fisk University] and at Southern [now Southern University and A&M College]. The work was continued by Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1934. The narratives were part of the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Subjects: Freedom, Photographers, Photographs, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Unites States

African American Library Employees, WPA, NYA, & Kentucky, 1940
Start Year : 1940
Though Louisville, KY, had been a leader in the training of Negro librarians beginning in 1912, by 1940 those efforts had come to an end. The training program at the Louisville Western Branch Library ended in 1931. Also gone were the 1932 library training program started by Eliza Atkins [Gleason] at the Louisville Municipal College and the 1936 state training agency housed at the Municipal College for the training of Negro library employees [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones, pp. 94-95]. The continuation of the Western Branch library training program at Hampton Institute Library School ended in 1939 [now Hampton University]. The Atlanta University library school would open in 1941 [now Clark Atlanta University]. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected, the country was still experiencing the Great Depression with record unemployment, and in Europe, it was the second year of what would become known as World War II. Employment was hard to come by, including library jobs, though Louisville was still the one location in Kentucky that offered the most employment opportunities for Negro librarians and library employees, which included teens and young adult library assistants who were hired via the National Youth Administration (NYA). Some of the adult librarians and library assistants were hired via the Work Projects Administration. Changes had taken place with the federal programs by 1940; the NYA, a New Deal program created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, was no longer a part of the WPA; it moved to the Federal Security Agency with the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939. Also in 1939, the Works Progress Administration was renamed the Work Projects Administration; both were referred to as the WPA. The WPA was a New Deal agency (a federal assistance program) that employed mostly men for public works projects. The WPA Library projects mostly hired women. The library projects were sponsored by the public library commissions or boards of education in the participating states. There was a qualified workforce in Kentucky: the Negro librarians were some of the most educated women in the state and the race. Below are the names, education levels, and additional information about African Americans in and from Kentucky who were employed as librarians and library assistants in 1940; WPA and NYA workers are indicated. - - [sources: 1940 U.S. Federal Census; Wilson Bulletin for Librarians, April 1938; and Library Extension Under the WPA, by E. B. Stanford]. [See also NKAA entries for the National Youth Administration (Kentucky), Colored Libraries, and African American Schools].

 

NYA=National Youth Administration

WPA=Work Projects Administration

 

Anna Allen (b. 1924), daughter of Booker Z. and Viola Allen / completed 8th grade / Lancaster, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anne Anderson (b. 1907), wife of Charles W. Anderson, Jr. / completed 4th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Librarian, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]

Alice Baker (b. 1924), daughter of Lone and Nellie Baker / completed 9th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Beulah Bolan (b. 1891), widow / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Gwendolyn Blakley (b. 1918), daughter of William and Martha Blakley / completed 3rd year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, reading project

Lorella Bradford (b. 1917), grandniece of Charles Batts / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, college

Jesse M. Brashear (b. 1922), daughter of John W. and Fanny Brashear / completed 9th grade / Hardin County, KY / Library Assistant, school

Frances Bush (b. 1909), daughter of Brize and Nettie Bush / completed 1st year of college / Cincinnati, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Sallie Churchville (b. 1904), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Minnie Cooper (b. 1884), widow / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

James Cowherd (b. 1916), son of Lee and Stella Cowherd / completed 12th grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Literary Project

Bessie Crenshaw (b. 1920), daughter of Samuel and Bessie Crenshaw / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anna Dell (b. 1896), divorced / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Julius Dickerson (b. 1909), divorced / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA, public library

Thelma Dunlap (b. 1923), daughter of Johnie Ross / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Gertrude Durett (b. 1911), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Toy Library

Clara Frank (b. 1902), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Sophia Freeman (b. 1898), widow / completed 12 grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, high school

Thelma P. Froman (b. 1923), daughter of John Des and Minnie Froman / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Wyetta Gilmore (b. 1906), married / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Vivian Glass (b. 1904), divorced / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

Lillian C. Hall (b. 1891), wife of John Wesley Hall / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, Attucks High School

Willa Hall (b. 1918), daughter of Bessie and Gabie Hall / completed 1st year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Project

Margaret Hampton (b. 1916), single / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Rachel D. Harris (b. 1869), widow / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Beatrice Hatchett (b. 1921), daughter of Elisha Hatchett / completed 12th grade / Henderson, KY / Library Assistant, school work program

Hattie Hays(b. 1886), widow / completed 12th grade / Fulton County, KY / Librarian, school project

Robert Jackson (b. 1911), husband of Naomi Jackson / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Recreation Center

Marjorie Johnson (b. 1906), married / completed 6th year of college / Paducah, KY / Librarian, school

Mary Jones (b. 1919), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Library

Cordelia Knight (b. 1920), daughter of Patrick and Emma Knight / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, Municipal College Library

Naomi Lattimore (b. 1904), wife of John A. C. Lattimore / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, public and college libraries

Hariett Lawson (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Gary, Indiana (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public school

Evelyn Lewis (b. 1914), single / completed 1st year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, WPA Project

Pearl Lewis (b. 1890), widowed / completed 8th grade / Letcher County, KY / Librarian, WPA Office

Charlotte Lytte (b. 1913), single / completed 12th grade / Springfield, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public college

Eva Mallory (b. 1901), wife of Robert A. Mallory / completed 1st year of college / Minneapolis, MN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian

Esther Maray (b. 1920), daughter of Caroline Maray / completed 12th grade / Cleveland, OH (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA

Charles Marrs (b. 1917), son of Charles and Julia Marrs / completed 12th grade / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Ruth McCoy (b. 1916), single / completed 4th year of college / New Orleans, LA (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, university

Elnora McIntyre Muir (b. 1886), married / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Library Assistant, public library

Mamie Melton (b. 1897), widowed / completed 8th grade / Washington, PA (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, neighborhood house

Carolyn E. Mundy (b. 1908), wife of John Mundy / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Librarian, public school

Mary Myall (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Xenia, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, university library

Hugh Osborne, Jr. (b. 1919), married / completed 4th year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Alabama) / Librarian, judge's office

Hugh Osbourne (b. 1919), single / completed 7th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Alabama) / Law Librarian, Court of Appeals

Alice Parker (b. 1912), married / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Noverta Peoples (b. 1922), daughter of John B. and Leana N. Peoples / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Lizzie Pierce (b. 1882), wife of B. L. Pierce / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Pruline Pigeon (b. 1910), wife of Barbee Pigeon / completed 8th grade / Indianapolis, IN / Librarian, WPA

Lizzie S. Price (b. 1878), wife of Henry M. Price / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, free public library

Elmarie Robinson (b. 1911), single / completed 11th grade / Covington, KY / Librarian, public school

Rose Sellers (b. 1921), daughter of Oliver P. and Mary Sellers / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Georgia Shipley (b. 1921), daughter of Lovie and Jerry Shipley / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, library project

Gertrude Silves (b. 1902), widow / completed 3rd grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Ribhi (sp) Library

Bessie R. Stone (b. 1917), married / completed 5th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Library Assistant, Kentucky State College for Negroes [now Kentucky State University]

Lee Ella Watkins (b. 1918), daughter of Virginia Watkins / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Bruce Weaver (b. 1917), single / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Indiana) / Library Assistant, school library

Garnett Witherspoon (b. 1911), wife of James Witherspoon / completed 2nd year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, college

Thelma Yancey (b. 1914), single / completed 4th year of college / Lexington, KY (born in Montana) / Librarian, college

Hortense H. Young (b. 1904), wife of Coleman Milton Young II / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Texas) / Librarian, Municipal College Library

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA), National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Fayette County Rural Library Service, Negro Efforts
Start Year : 1938
End Year : 1939
The Fayette County Rural Library Service was established on August 22, 1938, as part of the Library Project in Fayette County established by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The effort was supported by the U.S. Works Progress Administration, Lexington Public Library, Fayette Community Council, and Fayette County Board of Education [source: Library Project in Fayette County, 1937-1939, Scrapbook 46m29, letter pasted inside of front cover]. Mrs. Hammond Dugan was the supervising librarian; there was also a supervising body of women known as "Friends of the Fayette Library," they acted in an advisory capacity; and Mrs. Preston Johnson was the chairperson of the Friends group [source: "A Library on wheels brings the riches of literature to rural Fayette," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/12/1939, p.28]. For Negroes in Lexington and Fayette County, the Douglas Community Library was opened at Douglas High School [source: "Fayette County rural library service," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/16/1938]. The site was described as the Negro branch of the Fayette County free circulating collection of books for the Negro community. Books and magazines could be borrowed between 9am-3pm. Mrs. P. E. Stephens was in charge of the branch. The Fayette County Rural Library Service boasted that it had established the first Negro library center in the county; the first service to blind Negroes and shut-ins to whom books were read aloud; and the first story-telling for groups of Negro children [source: "A Library on wheels brings the riches of literature to rural Fayette," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/12/1939, p.28]. In 1939, the project ended. In the summary report, item 10 pertained to service to Negroes: "At the time of the library's closing, we were planning and working toward the dispersal of large quantities of magazines and throughout the many Negro settlements in the county.  This, we felt, would give the colored people a great deal of good reading mater in spite of the fact that we were not able to supply them with books except in their one school center. We had also planned to hold weekly story-telling hours in the colored communities." -- [source: "Library Project in Fayette County, 1937-1939, file folder 46m29, archival material]. The Douglas Community Library was included in the two circulation reports found in the archival file [there were no dates on the reports], on one report the circulation number was 857 for adults and 1,797 for juveniles.  On the other report, the circulation number for adults was 139, and for juveniles 187. For more about the overall effort see the Library Project in Fayette County, 1937-1939, scrapbook and file folder at the Univerity of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. The next library for Negroes in Fayette County, KY, would be the Charlotte Court Library in 1940. See also Laura Carroll Colored Branch, and Colored Reading Room, Lexington Carnegie Public Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

National Youth Administration (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1935
End Year : 1943
The National Youth Administration (NYA) was established in 1935 by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. NYA was a division of the Works Progress Administration by way of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The Depression had drastically impeded the education and employment of more than 20 million young people. NYA provided student aid work funds for the part-time employment of persons between the ages of 16 and 25 to help them continue their education and enhance their employability and to help them develop constructive leisure activities. The Division of Negro Affairs, headed by Mary McLeod Bethune, oversaw the participation of Negro youth. Financial support and staffing were to be at the same percentage as the percentage of Negroes in a given state, though in reality the support was much less. The Kentucky NYA Office was located in Louisville at 9th and Broadway, with Robert K. Salyers as director. There were district offices in Madisonville, Louisville, Lexington, and Paintsville. Theodore E. Brown was State Supervisor of Negro Activities. For the program year 1936-37, there were 415 Negro college students who received NYA aid at Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], West Kentucky Industrial College [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College], and Louisville Municipal College for Negroes [now merged with University of Louisville]. Funding for graduate students was administered by the Washington Office, and Negroes from Kentucky could apply for out-of-state assistance. (There were no in-state graduate programs in Kentucky for African Americans.) High school and elementary students received up to $6 per month for their work, and for the program year 1936-37, there were 1,265 Negro youth of Kentucky employed through the NYA school aid program. Participants who were out of school were certified members of relief families, and they were employed in projects such as sewing, carpentry, construction and repair work on schools and public property, child care, and recreation. There actually was not much done in the area of recreational opportunities for Negroes: projects were established for supervised play leaders at playgrounds and at nursery schools and recreational education institutes were held to train participants. The projects were located in Louisville, Covington, Bowling Green, Winchester, and Paducah. Some of the crafts and toys made by the NYA youth were given away at the Community Christmas Tree, and others were showcased at the NYA exhibit displayed during the KNEA meeting in Louisville. The recreation work was often cited as having decreased delinquency. In 1938, Harvey C. Russell, Sr. was the state NYA Supervisor of Negro Activities in Kentucky, see his online article at the Kentucky Digital Library - Journals: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 9, issues 1-3 (January-February 1938), pp. 47-50; see also "N. Y. A. offers employment opportunities for state youth," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 13, issue 2, pp. 29-31. For more detailed information see Negro Youth and the National Youth Administration in Kentucky, by T. E. Brown; W. G. Daniel and C. L. Miller, "The Participation of the Negro in the National Youth Administration Program," The Journal of Negro Education, vol. 7, issue 3, (July 1938), pp. 357-365; and National Youth Administration for Kentucky: Basic Information on NYA Workers in Kentucky by the NYA Work Project. National Youth Administration images are available online at Google.


Subjects: Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, National Resources, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA), National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Ross, James A.
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1949
Born in Columbus, KY, James A. Ross was a lawyer, politician, real estate broker, journalist, editor, and publisher. His family left Kentucky when Ross was a child; he was raised in Cairo, IL, and later moved farther north. Ross was editor and proprietor of The Reformer (Detroit) and publisher of the monthly magazine, Gazetteer and Guide (NY), written for African American Pullman Porters and railroad and hotel employees. He declined the U. S. Consul appointment to Cape Haitien in 1893. Ross was in charge of the Negro exhibit at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, held in Buffalo, and he was Vice-President of the National Colored Democratic League Bureau in Chicago in 1912. He served as Race Relations Executive for the Works Progress Administration in Albany, NY. In 1946, Ross was elected president of the New York State Colored Real Estate Brokers Exchange. He was the husband of Cora B. Hawkins Ross (b.1874 in Canada), and the family of six lived on Michigan Street in Buffalo, NY, in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "James A. Ross," New York Times, 04/28/1949, p. 31.

See newspaper image of James A. Ross and additional information at the Uncrowned Community Builders website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Pullman Porters, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Columbus, Hickman County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Detroit, Michigan / Buffalo and Albany, New York / Chicago, Illinois

Works Progress Administration (WPA), Kentucky, Photographs
Start Year : 1935
End Year : 1943
The Works Progress Administration was a New Deal Agency that was created in 1935 to help provide relief for U.S. citizens during the Great Depression. In 1939, the name was changed to Work Projects Administration. African Americans were employed on building projects, there were classes for women, food was provided to families, daycare centers were provided for children, and families received medical care. Within the Kentucky Digital Library are WPA photographic images that include the work involving African Americans in Kentucky. Search using the term "WPA" to find related photo images, including those with African Americans.


See photo images of African Americans in Kentucky who were involved with the WPA programs. (colored)


See additional photo images. (Negro)

 

See also the Works Project Administration documentary film that highlights the employment of African Americans, "We Work Again, 1937," at the National Archives website.

 
Subjects: Photographers, Photographs, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

 

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