Latinos Featured in New Deal Post Office Murals

Many people are familiar with New Deal era murals commissioned by the WPA or by private parties. Less well-known are pieces funded by the U.S. Treasury Department through its Federal Relief Art Project and made for local post offices.

Many of these murals survive and a number provide links to Latinos as workers and historical figures.

A number portray industries where-in Latinos provided much of the workforce, such as Mexican Americans in California agriculture. An example is “Lettuce Workers” in the post office in Calexico, a small town near the Mexican that witness large scale strikes during the 1930s.

"Lettuce Workers" in California's Imperial Valley. There were large strikes in the area during the 1930s. Courtesy of the United States Post Office.







A number of murals that portrayed early figures United States history. For example, “Ponce de Leon,” in Tallahassee, Florida tells the story of the Spanish explorer. De Leon traveled to what is now St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States.

The Ames, Iowa mural, “The Evolution of Corn,” links the Aztecs to the Iowa family farmer. And at least two Spanish American were hired as muralists, Julio de Diego and Xavier Gonzalez.

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