Dollar-A-Day Boys! A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps
At The Plains, September 21, 2012 at 6:30PM
Michigan-based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at The Plains Public Library. His program includes stories about the CCC and singing original songs with his guitar. He has performed at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of CCC built national and state parks. This will be 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.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine year run beginning in 1933, over a hundred thousand young men worked in Ohio camps. The camps were run by the army with an average of 54 camps in operation for each year. The enrolllees were paid $1 a day with $25 sent home to their families each month. The money kept many families from starving.
The CCC in Ohio planted 90 million trees, built hundreds of bridges and dams, constructed over 3500 miles of truck trails, stocked fish, fought forest fires, and built several state parks including Lake Hope, Tar Hollow, Scioto Trail and Shawnee State Park. They also planted millions of trees at Blue Rock State Forest. At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the CCC constructed much of the infrastructure in including the famous Happy Days Lodge constructed out of wormy chestnut wood. The camps not only revitalized Ohio's natural resources but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline and teaching them work skills.
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 CCC in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at Camp Raco, a work camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula run by reserve army officers. 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.
Some of the songs Jamerson performs with his guitar include Franklin D., written by an appreciative CCC Boy., Chowtime, a fun look at the camp food, City Slicker, which tells of the mischief the boys find in the woods, and Tree Plantin’, Fire Fightin’ Blues that tells of the hardships of work out in the woods. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs.
Along with a novel and CD of songs on the CCC, Jamerson has produced a PBS film, Camp Forgotten, which aired on Ohio Public Television in 1994. He has also authored several articles on the corps. In his talk, Bill will discuss his research methods, some of the interesting enrollees he has met over the years and CCC projects he has visited. A question and answer period and book signing will follow his presentation. Former CCC’ers and their families are encouraged to attend. People are invited to bring photo albums and CCC memorabilia. For more information visit Jamerson's website at: billjamerson.com
Sponsored by the Friends of the Athens Public Library!