For Depression-weary and despondent Americans, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) not only offered employment but also the restoration of dignity. Through the efforts of authors, artists and construction workers, the American landscape was altered for the enjoyment of millions of people.

Examples close to home that resulted from WPA funding include: the original Greenville Avenue (U.S. 75), the gymnasium (located in Plano, where First Baptist Church stands today), The WPA Guide to Texas: The Federal Writers’ Project Guide to Texas and Texas artist Frank Klepper’s mural that can be viewed at the Collin County Historical Museum in McKinney.

Learn more about the WPA from the State Historian of Texas Bill O’Neal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, at the Allen Public Library.

Currently serving his second term as State Historian of Texas, O’Neal has made a number of television appearances including documentaries on TBS, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, American Heroes Channel, CMT and A&E. A retired professor from Panola College in Carthage, Texas, he has also been active as a part-time radio host KGAS-AM and KGAS-FM in Carthage for more than three decades.

The author of more than 40 books, including Sam Houston Slept Here: Guide to the Homes of Texas’ Chief Executives (2004) and Ghost Towns of the American West, O’Neal was presented the A. C. Greene Literary Award at the West Texas Book Festival in Abilene last September. In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Wild West History Association, and in 2007, he was named True West Magazine’s Best Living Non-Fiction Writer.

O’Neal notes, “The WPA was one of the most successful of the ‘Alphabet Soup’ agencies of the New Deal, providing employment for great numbers of Americans while covering America’s Depression landscape with new roads, schools, airports, gymnasiums, parks, as well as enriching culture with concerts, plays, guidebooks and murals.”

This program is sponsored by ALLen Reads.

WPA WITH BILL O’NEAL

When: Thursday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr., Allen, Texas 75013

Cost: Free for all attendees

Call 214.509.4911 for more information.