Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Sunday, November 3, 2013

55 Living New Deal Submissions

I made my first submission to the Living New Deal project, University of California-Berkeley almost a year ago in January.  Since then, I have logged 55 submissions, several every month, primarily Mississippi locations, but 10 in Texas, 1 in Arkansas, 2 in Louisiana, and 3 in Tennessee.

Somewhere along the route, I was asked to be a regional research associate for the project, which just means I volunteer regularly in research and submission of projects.  A few weeks ago, we got business cards identifying our relationship with the project in the event we might find it helpful in the research and documentation of sites.

While I am fortunate to enjoy my "day job" and it actually relates to this project in many ways due to the significance of the New Deal Administration social service policies and programs, I find I want to spend more and more time in the pursuit of this adventure.  There is just something about being part of a national effort to document every project that was part of the New Deal Administration's efforts to help folks climb out of the great hole that was the Great Depression that is very healing and humbling to me at this difficult point in my personal life.

It is kind of like something one of my supervisors used to say to me: "When things are going in a hard way, find something bigger than yourself to get involved in."  The importance of this project is definitely bigger than me and my current issues--which although important and a priority, are no different than the personal issues which have befallen many of my fellow humans on this journey.  Even more so, I know how very fortunate I am to have such tremendous support and resources in traveling this uncharted terrain.
Still, there is something about being part of such a major project, something so ambitious in seeking to demonstrate the power of those programs to create better lives for people and communities that is rewarding beyond measure at the moment.  I was asked by the Franklin D. Roosevelt library project for permission to use one of my photographs in an electronic display of projects.  And no, no one will know anything other than my name on the "photograph used with permission" but it is still a nice little personal piece of feel-good.
I am not naive as to the criticisms of the New Deal, and the political maneuverings--for example, Mississippi and Tennessee efforts to avoid the requirements for equal participation in the interests of not expending funds for projects that benefited black communities, but still, many important things were accomplished and are still part of the landscape of our cities.  Each discovery of one of those projects which still stands and is still in use all these years later excites me, no matter where I find it.


Beth said...

It is fun to find these places and to research them! And, how interesting to read about them in the submissions! How sad the projects weren't documented better, but how fun for us today to make these discoveries. I'm going to have to work harder, aren't I to catch up with you!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful project with us!

Suzassippi said...

I know--it is incredible, isn't it? And, I am glad you are enjoying participating!

Gigi said...

Congratulations! I know this is a labor of love but it is still nice to be acknowledged for your hard work and dedication!

Suzassippi said...

Thanks, yes, it is always nice to be acknowledged and the folks at the project are great about that!