Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 1933 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of the earliest New Deal programs to address unemployment during the Great Depression. The CCC provided national conservation work, which included duties such as planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting forest fires, and maintaining forest roads and trails (“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC),” n.d.). Notably, the CCC planted more than 2 billion trees, earning itself the nickname “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” (Olson & Mendoza, 2015).
CCC members were primarily unemployed men between 18 and 25 years of age (Ohio History Connection, n.d.). They lived in work camps akin to military units and were given an allowance of $30 cash per month (“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC),” n.d.). By the end of the program in 1942, the CCC employed nearly three million men and 8,500 women. While all races were eligible to participate in the CCC, work units were segregated (Ohio History Connection, n.d.). However, all members received the same pay and benefits and membership was meant to be proportional to the racial breakdown of society. Through the duration of the CCC, 250,000 African Americans and 80,000 Native Americans served. Despite efforts to achieve some semblance of equality, racism existed in the camps, and it was not until 1941 that African Americans were actively recruited because of declining enrollment among white Americans (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014).
In addition to providing jobs for the unemployed, the CCC acted as a way to keep young men out of trouble. The CCC kept them occupied and offered members courses that ranged from basic literacy to vocational skills and college-level courses (Gallagher & Lippard, 2014).
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For further reading:
“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)” (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Britannica online. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Civilian-Conservation-Corps
Gallagher, C. A. & Lippard, C. D. (2014). Civilian Conservation Corps. In Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic. (Vol. 1, pp. 266-267). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Ohio History Connection. (n.d.). Civilian Conservation Corps. Ohio History Central. Retrieved from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Civilian_Conservation_Corps
Olson, J. S. & Mendoza, A. O. (2015). Civilian Conservation Corps. In American Economic History: A Dictionary and Chronology. (pp.116). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Paul, C. A. (2017). Civilian Conservation Corps. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved from http://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/eras/great-depression/civilian-conservation-corps/