“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1937.
What was the New Deal?
Some may not know while our elders remember well how the different federally funded programs rose out of the efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration to solve the economic and social destitution this country was facing. It was made up of a variety of work programs with different names that could employ laborers (both skilled and unskilled), professionally trained folks and talented artists, musicians and writers.
By 1935 over half of the state’s population of approximately 425,000 had a job with either the WPA, Civil Works Administration, Public Works Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), National Youth Administration and the Rural Electric Administration had been created to bring electricity to our rural areas. The Farm Security Administration hired photographers to record what we looked like at the time and what was getting done. Not shown on the map are all the new Social Security Administration program offices that were set up to start providing monthly financial aid to disabled and elderly and all the banks that have your funds protected thanks to the New Deal’s Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC).
In the northeastern and east central areas of the state there was 72.8% of the populace involved with these work opportunities. This was the heavy Dust Bowl area of our state where the soil like in other states was not fit to farm and families had to be moved out to new Resettlement Areas across the state and nation. The federal government worked with state, county and local entities to match workers with the needs of the governmental bodies responsible for serving the public. Our then Governor Clyde Tingley worked closely with FDR to get as much as possible for his state. Consequently this partnership gave everyone HOPE.
The NATIONAL NEW DEAL PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION (NNDPA) and its New Mexico Chapter are non-profit, tax-exempt 501-c-3 organizations devoted to preserving the country’s New Deal legacy through the identification, documentation, preservation and public education about the New Deal and its profound impact on Americans in the Great Depression—specifically through the visual and performing arts, literature, crafts, structures and environmental projects.
The NNDPA was created in 1998 thanks to individuals from various Secretary of State offices representing various states nationwide who came together in Santa Fe to discuss all the New Deal accomplishments that were still serving Americans in their individual states and concern that all of those sites needed to be preserved, conserved or restored. Some of those present ended up as part of the first Board of Directors of the newly formed non-profit organization and the current Boards of both groups continue to work hard to carry out the established mission. Other chapters were developed in other states but only one other NNDPA chapter still exists in Colorado Springs, CO. Our national organization is always ready to help other chapters get started and the current board has a number of members that specialize their knowledge in the various ND projects. Since NNDPA started, four other “sister organizations” with similar New Deal goals exist in California, Maine, NY City and Chicago. All are in communication with the Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY.
75th anniversary of Roosevelt’s New Deal
In 2008 our nation and state celebrated the 75th anniversary of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Hopefully this map will give you a guide to go and see for yourself how the New Deal is still a Good Deal today and that there is still a Great Deal of it across this Land of Enchantment.
We hope you enjoy seeing some New Mexico treasures that you may have missed before.
Funding for this project was provided by the New Mexico Humanities Council and New Mexico Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association.