The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 295
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The Ropesville Project
achievement of the New Deal, an imaginative and humane program. To a
financially insecure family, a chance to begin again, with monetary aid and
vocational instruction provided by the federal government, was a rare
opportunity. It meant a chance to work and to benefit from one's own labor.
In her report for I940 the Ropesville home economist described one
family that enjoyed a better life as a result of the project. In that year the
family stored 70 pounds of vegetables, canned 215 quarts of vegetables,
34 quarts of tomatoes, 51 quarts of relish, 420 quarts of fruit, 40 quarts of
jelly and jam, and butchered 2 hogs and I beef.46 This was no slight accom-
plishment. Such a family could sustain itself and regain lost self-respect.
But community programs such as that of Ropesville were a most inade-
quate answer to the broader problems of industrial unemployment and
farm tenancy. Region VIII, which had original jurisdiction over Ropesville,
encompassed an area that included Oklahoma and Texas; it had some
40,000 clients on its rolls in 1936. All these people could not be resettled
on i oo-acre farms as parts of resettlement communities. To do this would
have required some four hundred colonies with about ten thousand acres
in each project. Moreover, many factors other than the availability of land
were involved in constructing projects and in relocating people on them.
Such an effort would be extremely costly and certainly would be opposed
by many congressmen. Obviously only a small percentage of farmers who
needed help could be placed in, communities such as Ropesville.47
In addition to farmers on relief, Region VIII comprised about 450,000
farm tenants. It is even more obvious that this large number could not
become land owners through the community-project method. Many farm
tenants simply did wish to relocate on community projects. They would
rather receive help in buying the farms they were occupying as tenants."
The community program was therefore inadequate as an answer to the
broad, depressing problem of rural relief and farm tenancy. "The resettle-
ment was a great project," J. N. Willis, a project resident later recalled.
"There was only one thing wrong with it: It wasn't big enough. It didn't
help enough people."49 Nevertheless, a community project such as that at
Ropesville brought security and renewal for those fortunate enough to find
a place in the effort. Brought to fruition by joint efforts of local, state, and
national governments, it served some three hundred people exceedingly well.
RG 96, NA.
46Johnson, "Report on 1940 Accomplishments," ibid.
47"Brief of Facts, Conditions, and Reasons for the Establishment of Resettlement
Projects" (undated and unsigned, about 1936), ibid.
49Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (evening), August 3, 1964.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/340/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.