This book begins with the argument that the federal government did not completely ignore civil rights. One important method that the Roosevelt administration employed to acknowledge African Americans and to involve them in the president's “New Deal” was through federally sponsored cultural programs. Initially conceived under the Works Progress Administration's Federal Arts Project and then continued under wartime agencies such as the Office of War Information and the War Department, fine art and media-based programs represented an important strand of civil rights policy during the Roosevelt era. Through the publications of the Federal Writers' Project, the plays of the Federal Theatre Project, the endorsement of black celebrities such as Joe Louis, and the production of wartime films and radio shows, liberal administrators demonstrated a sustained commitment to addressing the concerns of black Americans when political pragmatism prevented official support for structural legislation.
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