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African Americans in the CCC
Index  |  Publishing Information


Civilian Conservation Corps.
The CCC and Colored Youth.
Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Offices, 1941.
[Edgar Brown]


250,000 colored youth have served in the corps since President Roosevelt and the Congress initiated the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. Regular habits of work, training, discipline, fresh air and three well prepared and ample meals a day have combined to improve the health and morale of all enrollees. The gain in weight has ranged from seven to fifteen pounds for each boy.
30,000young colored men and war veterans, one tenth of the total CCC enrollment, are actively participating in the Civilian Conservation Corps. They are engaged on work projects throughout the country, and the Virgin Islands.
$700,000a month for the past year has been allotted by colored CCC boys to their parents and dependents back home.
90,000 books have been supplied through the War Department and the Office of Education for colored camp libraries. Current magazines, daily and weekly newspapers are made available in camp recreation halls.
12,000 colored CCC enrollees in the past five years have completed courses in first-aid through cooperation of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Red Cross
2,000colored project assistants' leaders and assistant leaders are on duty at CCC Camps.
600colored cooks are steadily employed in CCC Mess Halls.
900classes in Negro history were conducted in the camps during the past five years. National Negro Health exhibits have been shown for five consecutive years in cooperation with the U. S. Health Service.
800colored boys have gained business training in the capacity of store clerks and mangers of the Post-Exchanges in CCC camps.
400colored typists are assigned to CCC headquarters of commanding officers, camp superintendents and educational advisors.
147 colored college graduates are serving CCC camps as educational advisers.
1,200part-time, experienced teachers are actively engaged in instruction of these colored enrollees at CCC camps.
25 colored medical reserve officers and chaplains of the U. S. Reserve Corps are on active duty in the nations CCC Camps.
106colored CCC camps are located in forests, parks, recreational areas, fish and game reservations, and on drainage and mosquito control projects.
48 colored CCC companies are engaged on soil Conservation projects.
2colored commending officers with the rank of Captain and Lieutenant, in the U.S. Reserve Corps are on active duty with the CCC; one at Gettysburg National Park, Pennsylvania, and the other at Fishers landing, New York. Four other line officers are on active duty at these two Camps.
4colored engineers and six colored technical foremen have served Pennsylvania camps for more than two years, At Gettysburg, the camp superintendent is a Negro.
1colored historian who received his Ph.D degree from Columbia University is included in the camp personnel at Gettysburg.
1colored CCC company is at work at Zanesville, Ohio on one of the largest tree nurseries in the U.S.
3colored companies have made possible during the past five years the restoration of the battlefields at Yorktown, Virginia in the Colonial National Park.
1colored company in Ohio, near the Taylorville Dam carriers on in the renowned Miami Conservation District, a flood control project started after the 1913 Dayton flood.
1colored company has been engaged on the unique historic project at Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia.
1colored company is located on the TVA site in Tennessee.
11,000colored enrollees have been taught to read and write. More than 90 per cent of the colored CCC enrollees regularly attend classes from elementary to college level which are conducted in each camp's education building which is well equipped and especially constructed for vocational instruction. Howard University, Wilberforce University, Tuskegee Institute, Hampton Institute, Florida A. & M. College at Tallahassee, Tennessee A. & I. State College and a number of other Negro collages have granted scholarships and fellowships to CCC enrollees.

The textile and food industries and the railroads have received orders for more than $33,000,000 worth of supplies needed to run colored CCC camps.

$15,000,000has been obligated for clothing worn by colored enrollees, including shirts, underwear, trousers, socks, denim jumpers, shoes, caps, raincoats and overcoats.
$19,000,000has been expended for food served colored boys and men at camp during the past 6 1/2 years.
$1,500,000has been received by railroads for transportation of colored CCC enrollees to camp and back home again.


The Civilian Conservation Corps was established by President Roosevelt and the Congress on April 5, 1933. On the same day the late Robert Fechner was named Director. James J. McEntee, now Acting Director of the CCC, has been Assistant Director since its inception.

The purpose of Civilian Conservation Corps work is to relieve acute conditions of distress and unemployment in the United States and to provide for the restoration of the countries natural resources along with the advancement of an orderly program of useful public Works.

Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees are selected on a state-quota basis by the Labor Department from unemployed and needy young men. Veterans are selected by the Veterans' Bureau, and make up ten per cent of the total enrollment.

From the beginning of the Civilian Conservation Corps, colored youths have shared in the program. At the peak strength of the CCC, reached in August 1935, there were 506,000 young men and war veterans enrolled. Of this number, approximately 50,000 were colored.

Mindful of the health of these young men, medical officers from the U. S. Army Reserve Corps hare been assigned to look after their physical well being. Fourteen colored medical officers are now on active duty at CCC camps throughout the country. Each company is provided with a first-aid building, company, hospital, or dispensary with a medical officer in charge. Orderlies are appointed from among the enrollees.

The Office of Education has acted in an advisory capacity to the War Department in working out an educational and recreational program. Each company has an educational adviser, who develops a program suited to the individual needs of each camp. College graduates are appointed to fill these positions. Eleven thousand colored enrollees who were illiterate have been taught to read and write in classes offered by the CCC camps. There are today 147 colored men serving the CCC camps as education advisers. Most of the educational work is carried on at camp. Arrangements are often made, however, for enrollees to take additional school work in public school evening classes in nearby cities. The camp educational programs offer instruction in carpentry, shorthand, tying, forestry, auto mechanics, landscaping and numerous other vocational subjects. While attendance at classes is voluntary, approximately ninety per cent of the colored enrollees attend. Classes in first-aid, safety, morale, guidance, leadership and hygiene have been well attended. While at work, CCC enrollees are given practical instruction on the job by the project superintendent and the technical staff.

Baseball and soft ball diamonds, tennis courts and basket ball courts have been laid out to provide recreational facilities at the camps. Some of the camps have produced championship teams in baseball and other sports. Current movies, health education films, lectures on geography, conservation, history and other topics, and plays are included in the camp educational and entertainment program. Trips to nearby museums and other points of interest are frequently scheduled.

Six colored chaplains of the U.S. Army Reserve Corps direct the religious activities in a number of the colored camps. They are aided by ministers from nearby communities.

Through the experience and training received in the CCC, boys learn how to live together and work together amicably. Experience and training afforded by the CCC has helped many boys to secure employment. The specialized knowledge gained by filling such positions as mess sergeant, company clerk, assistant educational adviser, leaders, project assistants, store clerk manger, foreman and first-aid men has proved valuable to these enrollees in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

A list of the different types of instructions received by colored CCC youths, as others, is herewith attached.


Approximately 5,000 different courses in 116 different subjects are being given in Forest service oaks each month. In all camps, including National Park Service camps, probably 11,500 courses in 150 different subjects are being taught.

Jobs and subjects in which enrollees received. training under supervision of the CCC technical agencies:

Abney Band Level
Animal Husbandry
Auto Mechanics
Bit and Tool Grinding
Blueprint Reading
Bridge Construction
Building Construction
Bulldozer Operation
Care of Tools
Clearing, Roadside & Trail
Clerking, office
Compressor Operation
Concrete Construction
Conservation, general
Cooking and Baking
Crusher Operation
Culvert Construction
Dam Construction (Small dams)
Diesel Engines
Disease Control.(Plant & tree)
Dragline operation
Drilling, Hand
Driving Laws
Electrical Wiring
Equipment Maintenance
Erosion Control
Farm Woodlot Management
Farm Management
Fence Construction
Fire Break Construction
Fire Prevention
Fish Planting & Culture
Foreman and Leader Training
Forestry, general
Game Census
Gas Engines
Grader Operation
Guide Service
Guard Training
Gully Control
Insect Control
Jack Hammer Operation
Log Scaling
Mapping or Map making
Metal Work
Mill Operation
Mosquito Control
Nursery Work
Office Management
Painting, general
Park Administration
Pipe Line Construction
Plane Table work
Plant Eradication
Pond Development
Poultry Production
Pump Operation
Range Improvement
Razing Buildings
Recreational Development
Roadside Cleanup
Roadside Erosion Control
Rodent Control
Saw Filing
Seed Collection
Sign Making
Sign Painting
Slide Rule
Soil Conservation
Spring Development
Steel Structure
Stock Driveway
Stone Cutting
Stream Improvement
Telephone Line Constr.
Telephone Lineman
Telephone Maintenance
Timber Cruising
Timber Stand Improvement
Tool Storage
Tower Construction
Tractor Operation
Traffic Census
Trail Maintenance
Tree Felling
Tree Identification
Tree Planting
Tree Surgery
Truck Driving
Truck Trail Construction
Use of Tools
Warehouse Keeping
Water Hold Construction
Well Drilling & Improvement
Wildlife Management
Woodlot Management
Wood Working

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