The first stamp issued after FDR became president was the Proclamation of Peace stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of General Washington’s peace proclamation. FDR sent this letter to his Postmaster General Jim Farley expressing his great interest in the stamp.
The stamp sheet contains one hundred 1933 U.S. lavender Proclamation of Peace 3¢ stamps showing Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, New York. The sheet is signed in ink in the bottom margin by “Franklin D. Roosevelt” and “Henry Morgenthau Jr.”
Today marks the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s concert on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. More than 75,000 people attended.
Originally, Anderson was scheduled to sing at Howard University, but when officials thought the crowds would be too large, they asked the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if Anderson could sing in their auditorium at Constitution Hall.
However, in 1939, Washington, DC, was still a racially segregated city, and Constitution Hall had a “white-only” policy for its performers. The DAR declined.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned her membership from the organization in protest, surprising the nation (though not the black community) with her support.
Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior and past president of the Chicago NAACP, approved the idea immediately.
This iconic image shows Anderson singing to the 75,000 people gathered in Potomac Park on April 9, 1939. Image: National Archives Identifier 595378.
You can find more about Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson on our website.
Congress established the Works Progress Administration, a central part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” on April 8, 1935.
The WPA employed more than 8.5 million persons on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943. The Federal Theatre Project was one of the five Federal One projects sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. The Federal One projects included: the Federal Writers’ Project, the Historical Records Survey, the Federal Theatre Project, Federal Music Project, and the Federal Art Project. The Federal Theatre Project employed out-of-work artists, writers, and directors to entertain poor families and create relevant art.
This image is from a play produced by the Federal Theater Project entitled “It Can’t Happen Here” in 1935 in New York City. Image: National Archives Identifier 195735.
Mickey Rooney, Legendary Actor and Entertainer
(September 23, 1920 - April 6, 2014)
"Private First Class Mickey Rooney imitates some Hollywood actors for an audience of Infantrymen of the 44th Division. Rooney is a member of a three-man unit making a jeep tour to entertain the troops. Kist, Germany, April 13, 1945."
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
Jobs For Youth
High youth unemployment troubled FDR. He personally devised the idea for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a program to put young men aged 17-24 —many from urban areas—to work on conservation projects in healthy rural environments. Within three months the Corps enlisted nearly 250,000 men. They were assigned to CCC camps around the nation. African Americans participated, but they worked in segregated camps.
During its nine-year existence, the CCC employed nearly three million men. Eleanor Roosevelt championed the CCC and, with her strong backing, a much smaller program was also created for unemployed young women.
The CCC planted over two billion trees, fought forest fires, built trails, campgrounds, and reservoirs, and aided with soil conservation programs. It became one of the New Deal’s most popular and successful programs. Its legacy remains today in facilities it constructed throughout America’s national forests and parks.