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The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama, 1933-1942

A Great and Lasting Good

Written by Robert Pasquill

Publication Year: 2008

The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the better known and most successful of the New Deal programs following the Great Depression.  The causes of the Great Depression have been addressed and debated from a variety of perspectives through the years.  However, the effects explained in terms of human suffering leave little room for debate. By March of 1933, there were more than 13.6 million unemployed, and more than 200,000 of them were wandering the country looking for work. Homes and families were fractured.  President Roosevelt proposed to put 500,000 unemployed men from cities and towns into the woods to plant trees, reduce fire hazards, clear streams, check erosion, and improve the park system all across America.  With unprecedented speed, national legislation was written, passed, and funded, creating a myriad of programs—referred to as alphabet projects—in hopes of generating useful work and necessary paychecks and creating a “great and lasting good” for the American public.


CCC projects in Alabama would initially employ 20,000 men with projects in all 13 state forests and seven state parks.  This volume traces in great detail the work projects, the camp living conditions, the daily lives of the enrollees, the administration and management challenges, and the lasting effects of this Neal Deal program in Alabama.  Through archives, government documents, and more than 125 interviews with former enrollees of the CCC, Pasquill has recounted the CCC program in Alabama and brought this humanitarian program to life in the Alabama countryside. It was a truly monumental win-win situation emerging from a national and international economic tragedy.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

The Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC, was one of the better known New Deal programs during the Great Depression. As a child of children of the Great Depression, I grew up hearing references to “hard times.” As a youth playing in the woods of New Hampshire, I saw flood control dams and other projects constructed during this era. When I began my career with ...

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pp. 1-2

The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of many programs created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. President Roosevelt addressed Congress on March 21, 1933, asking for a program to put men to work on natural resource projects. He proposed “to create a civilian conservation corps to be used in simple work, not interfering with normal employ-...

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1. Alabama, the Great Depression, and the New Deal

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pp. 3-11

The Great Depression was the worst economic collapse of the twentieth century and, arguably, one of the worst in the history of the United States. Its causes can be found in the post–World War I markets and the prosperity of the 1920s. It has also been explained as a naturally occurring phenomenon, compared to the weather, with natural cycles (McElvaine 1993:26–29). ...

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2. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama

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pp. 12-34

On March 9, 1933, President Roosevelt met with the secretaries of war, interior, and agriculture; the director of the budget; the Solicitor of the Department of Interior; and the judge advocate general of the army. He proposed to put 500,000 men from cities and towns into the woods to plant trees, reduce firre hazards, clear streams, and check erosion. Each of the six ...

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3. The CCC and the National Forests in Alabama

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pp. 35-57

In April 1933, the only national forest in Alabama was the Alabama National Forest in Winston and Lawrence counties; it had been proclaimed a national forest by President Woodrow Wilson on January 5, 1918. On April 6, 1933, the Moulton Advertiser reported that Representative Edward B. Almon, from Moulton, and Representative William B. Bankhead, ...

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4. The CCC and the Soil Conservation Service

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pp. 58-80

By the 1920s, soil erosion had been recognized both nationally and in Alabama as a serious problem that needed attention. County agents and agricultural workers had begun working on terracing and soil erosion control. In 1929, Congress appropriated money for the Department of Agriculture to study the problem, and 10 experimental stations were developed across the ...

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5. The CCC and the Tennessee Valley Authority

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pp. 81-113

On May 18, 1933, President Roosevelt signed the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, creating one of the most innovative programs in the New Deal. The TVA had a broad mission of power production, navigation, fiood control, malaria prevention, reforestation, and erosion control (www.tva.gov 4/12/02). ...


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pp. 104-113

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6. The CCC and the Alabama State Parks

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pp. 114-180

A system of state parks in Alabama began in the 1920s. In 1925, Governor William W. Brandon appointed a State Park Committee (Burleson 1975:27). On September 27, 1927, the state legislature passed the State Land Act, giving the state authority to establish state parks. On December 22, 1930, the Birmingham News announced the establishment of the Talladega County ...

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7. The CCC and State Forests, Private Forests, and Others

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pp. 181-228213

Although the State Commission of Forestry was established in 1907, little was accomplished owing to a lack of funding. The commission was revitalized in 1923 by the provision of legislative funding and the appointment of Colonel Page S. Bunker as state forester (Burleson 1975:29). On March 14, 1939, the Department of Conservation Act of 1939 created the Alabama De-...

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8. Summary: A Great and Lasting Good Accomplished by the CCC

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pp. 214-216

The Civilian Conservation Corps touched many aspects of the natural resources in the State of Alabama, helping establish state parks, national forests, state and private forests, and checking erosion across the state. Between 1933 and 1942, an average of 30 camps operated in Alabama, with the major work carried out in forest and soil resources (Cohen 1980:147). ...

Appendix A. CCC Camps in Alabama

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pp. 217-221

Appendix B. CCC Camps in Alabama by Enlistment Period

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pp. 222-227

Appendix C. CCC Camp Newspapers in Alabama

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pp. 228-230


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pp. 231-236

Index of Names

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pp. 237-238

Index of Places

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pp. 239-240

Index of Topics

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pp. 241-242

E-ISBN-13: 9780817381141
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817354954

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2008