A history of the Civilian Conservation Corp, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal projects that put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work during the Great Depression.
In just a little over a month after the president’s inauguration, the CCC was conceived, created, and already at work, a model of government interagency cooperation and collaboration involving the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Labor, and War. Pearson highlights the essential role of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first female Cabinet secretary, in securing funding for the CCC from Congress and recruiting and enrolling young men for the program. The CCC constructed or improved hundreds of state and national parks, restored nearly 120 million acres of land, and planted some 3 billion trees. The latter part of the narrative is focused through the experiences of several of those who served. The story of Houston Pritchett, an African American from Detroit, allows Pearson to explore how CCC director Robert Fechner segregated the corps despite an anti-discrimination amendment attached to its funding. A great deal of helpful background information about the Great Depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal programs is provided in boxed featurettes in such profusion that they frequently interrupt the narrative.
An informative, inspiring look at desperate times and how government can achieve great things through cooperation and good leadership. (photos, bibliography, endnotes) (Nonfiction. 10-14)