The Great Depression and the Arts
A reproducible, document-based teaching unit
NH151 is the printed format
This title is also available for immediate download in digital format as NH151Ebook
Lessons explore the film script of The Plow that Broke the Plains, a New Deal documentary on the drought and Dust Bowl; John Steinbeck’s The Harvest Gypsies on the condition of migrant workers; John Ford’s classic movie The Grapes of Wrath based on Steinbeck’s popular novel; and the New Deal’s “Living Newspaper” plays Power and One-Third of a Nation promoting New Deal programs. Through excerpts from witnesses called before the House Un-American Activities Committee examining allegations that the Federal Theatre Project used government funds to produce propaganda plays and promote socialist programs, students assess the degree to which government agencies used the arts to propagandize New Deal Programs and are challenged to debate issues relating to government’s role in supporting the arts.
Lesson One: Documentary Film- "The Plow that Broke the Plains"
Lesson Two: Documenting the Migrant Experience
Lesson Three: Film Study of "the Grapes of Wrath"
Lesson Four: The New Deal's Federal Theatre Project