Greeley– September, 2016) – The Great Depression was one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. Food was scarce, jobs were non-existent and life was tough all the way around. In an effort to rebuild our nation President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933. The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 17-25 years old from relief families. The CCC was part of the New Deal in which young men were promised “a dollar-a-day” for their work. In Colorado alone more than 57,000 men served in the CCC.
The story of the “dollar-a-day boys” gives fresh perspective on what it means to put in a hard days work, and what it means to recover from severe poverty. Michigan based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Farr Regional Library in Greeley, on Friday, September 16, at noon.
Dressed in uniform, Jamerson will share stories about the CCC, reads excerpts from his book, show video clips from his PBS film and sing original songs with his guitar. It’s a nostalgic, fun-filled program with songs, laughter and many heartfelt stories. The program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It’s about people both ordinary and extraordinary; with stories of strength, wit and charm.
One of the many CCC camps in operation included camp Island Grove which opened up on July 26, 1934, 1.5 miles northwest of Greeley. The camps were run by the army with an average of 34 camps in operation in Colorado each year. Over 63 million dollars was spent operating the camps. The C’s (enrollees) were paid $1 a day with $25 sent home to their families each month. The money provided relief for their families who were desperate for food and basic necessities. While enrolled in the CCC the men came into town on weekends, and patronized stores, movie theaters, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, saloons, dance halls, and churches. The enrollees spent approximately $5,000 a month in nearby communities, helping the local economy during the depths of The Great Depression.
The C’s constructed hundreds of miles of roads, built bridges, worked on soil erosion control, were active in reforestation, and worked on grazing control operations that restored grass and water to vast stretches of land for cattle and sheep grazing. They constructed Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado National Monument, Mesa Verda National Park and Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.
For more information about this program please visit www.MyLibrary.us.
Since 1992, Bill Jamerson has researched the CCC. He produced a documentary for Michigan PBS, recorded a CD of songs, and wrote a historical novel.
He presents “Dollar-A-Day Boys” all across the Midwest. Over 2.5 million men enlisted in the corps and today, their children and grandchildren have a keen interest in it. Jamerson’s book, BIG SHOULDERS is a historical novel that follows a year in the life of a seventeen-year-old youth from Detroit who enlisted in the C’s in 1937. He joins two hundred other young men at a work camp in a remote part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is a coming-of-age story of an angry teenager who faces the rigors of hard work, learning to cope with a difficult sergeant and fending off a bully. The book is based on the life of a CCC Boy.
Along with a novel and CD of songs, Jamerson produced the film, Camp Forgotten-The CCC in Michigan, which aired on 58 PBS stations. In the program, Bill will talk about many of the interesting enrollees he has met over the years. A question and answer period and book signing will follow the presentation. People are encouraged to bring CCC photos or memorabilia to the program.
The High Plains Library District connects communities to information, inspiration and entertainment for life. HPLD includes libraries in Greeley, Evans, Firestone, Erie, Kersey, Ault, Eaton, Johnstown, Platteville, Hudson and Fort Lupton.