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  • The WPA Ceases Operations

    On June 30, 1943, the WPA ceased operations. The WPA, or Works Progress Administration (later the Work Projects Administration) was a federal agency that oversaw an extensive work relief program during the Great Depression. The agency operated from 1935 to 1943. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. joined World War II, the economy gradually improved, and the agency dramatically reduced operations. By 1942, when the national unemployment rate fell below 5 percent, the work relief program was deemed no longer necessary.

    free resource button small  The WPA Ceases OperationsIn 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to discontinue the WPA. A letter from Roosevelt announcing his decision is provided in this primary source document from Defining Moments: The WPA—Putting America to Work.

    Information about the history of the WPA, plus biographies of the key players and additional primary source documents, can be found in Defining Moments: The WPA—Putting America to Work.

    Posted: June 28, 2015

  • Ramadan

    Ramadan, an important Muslim event, is a significant period of fasting, reflection, and prayer observed by the estimated one and a half billion Muslims worldwide. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is considered the most sacred month of the year: it was during Ramadan that the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad. Fasting from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, the obligations of the Muslim faith. The beginning and end dates of Ramadan are determined by the lunar calendar. Once the new crescent moon is sighted, the observance begins; the fasts end when the new moon is sighted again at the end of the month. This year, Ramadan began on the evening of June 17 and will end on the evening of July 17.

    free resource button small  RamadanMore information about the many customs and traditions associated with Ramadan is available in this entry from Holiday Symbols and Customs, 4th Edition.

    More than 350 holidays and festivals from the United States and around the world, as well as about 1,200 symbols and customs associated with these special events, are covered in the upcoming new volume Holiday Symbols and Customs, 5th Edition, to be published in August 2015.

    Posted: June 21, 2015