Type of Document Thesis Author Tomlinson, Angela E. URN etd-04132008-183515 Title Writing Race: The Florida Federal Writers' Project and Racial Identity, 1935-1943 Degree Master of Arts Department History, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Elna C. Green Committee Chair Jennifer Koslow Committee Member Maxine D. Jones Committee Member Keywords
- Carita Doggett Corse
- Bahamian Conchs
- Pensacola Creole
Date of Defense 2008-03-28 Availability unrestricted AbstractIn the late 1930s, the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration employed thousands of out-of-work writers and other white-collar professionals. Although publication of a comprehensive guidebook for each state was the main task of the FWP, project writers also traveled their respective states collecting life histories, interviewing former slaves, and compiling local histories and ethnographic studies. As a result, the work of the FWP entailed much more than preparation of travel books, for taken as a whole, its writings represented an attempt to craft a new portrait of America and its people.
Like many other New Deal programs, the FWP was a product of the liberal, progressive intellectual community that had emerged at the turn of the twentieth century. By the 1930s, this community, influenced by concepts of cultural pluralism, cosmopolitanism, and cultural relativism, was engaged in an ongoing discourse on redefining American identity and culture to include a broader spectrum of the American people. These concepts also influenced many of the national officers of the FWP, who wanted the project to present a more inclusive depiction of America that celebrated the country's diversity.
As this thesis demonstrates, however, this goal broke down at the state level, particularly in the South, which was deeply committed to Jim Crow segregation in the 1930s. An examination of both published and unpublished writings of the Florida Federal Writers' Project, including Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State and The Florida Negro, reveals that where race was concerned, traditional biases and prejudices trumped the national office's more liberal ideology. As a result, despite the efforts of liberal members of the Florida staff, such as Zora Neale Hurston and Stetson Kennedy, and the editorial oversight of the national office, the Florida FWP ultimately failed to provide three-dimensional, unbiased portraits of the state's African-American and mixed-race populations.
Filename Size Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)
28.8 Modem 56K Modem ISDN (64 Kb) ISDN (128 Kb) Higher-speed Access TomlinsonASpring2008.pdf 590.99 Kb 00:02:44 00:01:24 00:01:13 00:00:36 00:00:03