The National Recovery Administration (NRA), an important New Deal agency, was created with the passing of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) in 1933. The NRA was established by President Franklin Roosevelt to prepare and enforce codes of fair competition within key industries and ease antitrust restrictions on Depression-wracked businesses. In return, business accepted the famous Section 7a of the NIRA which gave employees the right to organize and bargain collectively. The effects on West Virginia’s coal industry were profound, as the coalfields quickly went from nonunion to union.
Gen. Hugh S. Johnson was the first head of the NRA and the creator of its symbol—a bold, blue eagle bearing the legend ‘‘We Do Our Part.’’ Johnson saw the eagle as a powerful rallying point, and it quickly took hold in West Virginia and across the country. The Blue Eagles sports teams of New Martinsville’s Magnolia High School were named for the famous symbol, and retain the name today.
In 1935, the Supreme Court ruled that the National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional. The NRA fell with its parent act, though Section 7a survives today as part of the National Labor Relations Act.
This Article was written by Deborah J. Sonis
Last Revised on October 21, 2010