• California CCC cooks, ca. 1933. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    Civilian Conservation Corps in California, March Field District, cooks
    • Creator
    • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

  • "Young African American men, enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps program, putting up a fence, Greene County, Georgia, May 1941." Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

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    [Young African American men, enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps program, putting up a fence, Greene County, Georgia, May 1941.]
    • Date
    • 1941-05
    • Creator
    • Delano, Jack.
    • Description
    • Photographs and Prints Division, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Original negative #: 44210-D.
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • The New York Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division. The New York Public Library

  • A view of an African-American Civilian Conservation Corps class in Douglas, Georgia, 1935. Courtesy of the Atlanta History Center via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Civilian Conservation Corps
    • Date
    • 1935
    • Creator
    • Getchell, Maurice
    • Description
    • C.C.C. Douglas, Ga. View of an African-American Civilian Conservation Corps class in Douglas, Georgia. The Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal program. The work r... more
      C.C.C. Douglas, Ga. View of an African-American Civilian Conservation Corps class in Douglas, Georgia. The Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) was established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal program. The work relief program employed men to work on environmental projects throughout the country. Local identification number: VIS 77.18.01. Local identification number: ahc077018001a.jpg. Gay Bolling Shepperson Photographs, Atlanta History Center. less
    • Rights
    • This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Atlanta History Center

  • "Indian Civilian Conservation Corps crew on stockade site at end of first day's work, Grand Portage," 1937. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Minnesota Digital Library.

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    Indian Civilian Conservation Corps crew on stockade site at end of first day's work, Grand Portage
    • Creator
    • Babcock, Willoughby Maynard Jr. Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.). Grand Portage Chippewa.
    • Description
    • WPA Negative Collection.
    • Rights
    • http://www.mnhs.org/copyright
    • Partner
    • Minnesota Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Minnesota Historical Society

Segregated CCC Programs

Oscar De Priest, an African American Congressman from Illinois, added an amendment to the original legislation authorizing the CCC stating: "That in employing citizens for the purpose of this Act, no discrimination shall be made on account of race, color, and creed." This was an important anti-discrimination measure, and did ensure that some African Americans were employed by the CCC. But in practice, there was great discrimination during the selection process and running of the CCC camps for African Americans. A few early CCC camps were somewhat integrated, but this soon changed as the national CCC administration established separate camps for African Americans.

The limited inclusion of African Americans in the CCC was an injustice in the context of a broad climate of discrimination and crisis for black Americans, who desperately needed work relief programs. In the early 1930s, unemployment for African Americans was soaring, and the people who were unemployed were already existing in conditions of extreme poverty. During the height of the Great Depression, while twenty-five percent of white men were unemployed, African American unemployment reached fifty percent.

Native Americans were also given a limited opportunity to participate in special CCC programs developed in collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Native American CCC enrollees often focused on much-needed infrastructure and improvements on reservations. Out of the over three million men who participated in the CCC program for much needed work relief, only 200,000 African American and 80,000 Native American men were able to enroll.