Thursday, August 11, 2011

Art Deco meets the New Deal

note: this has been on another site, and after two days it did not register in a search engine; i am cross posting it here. The other website is having trouble registering, i was planning to end this one, and use that one.
After World War I, the US suffered twelve years of Republican rule everywhere, and Klan rule some places.
The roaring '20s was alive with Prohibition, and the associated criminal activity to provide the public with contraband, and that business network branched into other unlawful, and often seedy enterprises. The racket that was banking, 'lawful' industry, and Wall Street led into the Great Depression that began in the autumn of 1929.

November 1932 saw Franklin Delano Roosevelt win the general election, to the dismay of the bankers and other millionaires. They planned a coup d'├ętat that was made public by Major General Smedley Butler USMC, who refused to overthrow a Democratic government in his own country.

Roosevelt saved America by the creation of the New Deal, the Republicans have never forgiven him. Many programmes were created for relief, recovery, and reform. Republican obstructionism was everywhere, especially in the Supreme Court. Most of the press was Republican, and propagandised against Roosevelt in the editorial pages. After recovery was succeeding, the Republicans hindered and rolled back recovery. A parallel to to-day is quite easy, unfortunately Barack Obama is not as brave or as tenacious as Mr. Roosevelt, and the Republicans are even more stupid, and just as greedy, vicious, and dishonest.

On the near west side of Cleveland, we can still see some of the still bearing fruit of Mr. Roosevelt's New Deal. The Kentucky School (Paul Dunbar temporary) is still up. Its cornerstone reads, '1939'; a product of the Public Works Administration, one of the many new government agencies that saved the US from becoming a third world country.
All over the United States, one can find similar edifices. Toledo, Ohio is proud of their zoo, and there are buildings with such stones there. Such stones can be found on bridges in Lorain, and Hocking counties in Ohio. Ohio has 88 counties, it would be interesting to see how many benefited: hospitals, schools, libraries, water and sewage plants, bridges, post offices, town halls. Ohio was a populous state then, what of thinly populated Republican Utah? 233 buildings by Roosevelt and crew. In some library (perhaps even a library so built) there must be a very large catalog, or listing, of these projects for the entire land. Many are still in use, and the country's population was far less than half of what it is now. Franklin Roosevelt's domestic and economic policies are a highpoint of American history. It is beyond shameful what the anti-Roosevelt party has done to this country in recent years.

John Carmody was an able administrator, who was given a series of top jobs (unlike the promotions of failures that was standard by the unelected president we suffered through in the last decade). Carmody was chief engineer of the Civil Works Administration in 1933. In 1935 he was on the National Labor Relations Board. In 1936 he was deputy administrator of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), administrator of REA in 1937. In June 1939, he headed the Federal Works Agency, which covered the Works Progress Administration, Public Works Administration, Public Roads Administration, and the United States Public Buildings Administration. In 1941 he was given war time positions. Republicans would call him, and all New Dealers, 'communists'.

That was the social, economic, political and practical value of those New Deal expenditures. There was also an artistic one. On the other corner of the Kentucky School alongside West 38th is an allegorical female figure with flowing hair, kneeling amongst plants, holding a tablet, with a river crossing her lap, and the sphere of the earth, and a star behind her. It is a bas-relief on several blocks in a late deco style.
Art deco was not just in grand figures, it was also in little embellishments, sometimes of functional elements. The school that shares the same parking lot, used to be called William Dean Howells, now it is Garret A. Morgan. It too was part of the same New Deal. Here a stylized metal grate is book ended by simple decorating stone.

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