We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Black Culture and the New Deal

The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff

Publication Year: 2009

In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans, but they did recognize and celebrate African Americans, says Sklaroff, by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


pdf iconDownload PDF

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. i-v


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xi-xiv

In his classic, Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White writes, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer” (184). I am unusually fortunate to have so many people in my life that fit this description. While a graduate student at the University of Virginia, I was lucky enough...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-14

Four years after Franklin Roosevelt’s death, Eleanor Roosevelt remembered her frustrations when racial issues, such as the antilynching bill and the abolition of the poll tax, reached her husband’s desk. “Although Franklin was in favor of both measures, they never became...

read more

1 Ambivalent Inclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 15-32

During the first week of June 1939, Washington, D.C., avidly followed news of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. “A crowd as enthusiastic and large as ever greeted an American President on inauguration day turned out today to watch and take part in the pomp,” the...

read more

2 Hooked on Classics

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 33-80

“Drama is culture, and the culture of the race portends its advancement,” John Silvera wrote in his foreword to a list of “representative plays” of the Federal Theatre Project’s (FTP) Negro Units, “a new era is dawning for the Negro artist.” For a black administrator such as Silvera, the Negro Units...

read more

3 The Editor’s Dilemma

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 81-122

In a speech delivered to the National Negro Congress in October 1937, the renowned writer and poet Sterling Brown, national editor of the Negro Affairs division of the Federal Writers’ Project from 1936 to 1939, relayed the many obstacles facing black authors: “The Negro writer is faced by a...

read more

4 Constructing G.I. Joe Louis

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 123-158

In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt underscored the importance of African American patriotism when democracy was under siege. “The European conflict with its spread of the Nazi and Fascist influence makes a challenging appeal. . . . This is a time for national unity and I am strengthened in my hope...

read more

5 Variety for the Servicemen

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 159-192

In 1944, Truman Gibson, civilian aide to the secretary of war, and Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis Sr. expressed great excitement over the activities of the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS). Two of the most influential black Americans involved in the war effort, Gibson and Davis indicated...

read more

6 Projecting Unity

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 193-240

In 1943, a number of prominent black film actors including Hattie Mc- Daniel, Mantan Moreland, and Ben Carter participated in a roundtable discussion on the role of black Americans in the motion picture industry. The Baltimore Afro-American sponsored the event, declaring that these...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 241-252

After he received the seminal civil rights report, To Secure These Rights (1947), President Harry Truman expressed outrage towards the prevalence of racial violence and discrimination in America. After discovering that African American veterans had been murdered in several southern states...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 253-286


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 287-300


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 301-312

E-ISBN-13: 9781469604619
E-ISBN-10: 1469604612
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833124
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833126

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 676697440
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Black Culture and the New Deal

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
  • New Deal, 1933-1939.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Political aspects -- History -- 20th century.
  • Social change -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Cultural policy -- History -- 20th century.
  • Art and state -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access