Pineland Civilian Conservation Corps Camp

Oscar De Priest was the first black congressman from Illinois. In 1933, De Priest introduced an amendment to ban racial discrimination in the new Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Throughout the history of the CCC, black enrollment was capped at ten percent. This was to match the roughly ten percent of black Americans identified in the 1930 census. However, by 1934, only six percent of all CCC enrollees were black. Moreover, during the Great Depression, a much higher overall percentage of blacks were eligible for relief programs than whites. Due to the enrollment caps and discrimination, thousands of black Americans were turned away from the CCC.

The Texas Rehabilitation and Relief Commission (TRRC) recruited and screened enrollees for the CCC in Texas. The TRRC verified each applicant's economic need and physical health. Then, the County Board of Welfare and Employment accepted or rejected each applicant. Enrollees were assigned to any CCC camp within the district, except black recruits who were always assigned to CCC camps within their home state.

Roughly 250,000 young black men served in the CCC and most worked in segregated companies. The director of the CCC, Robert Fechner, claimed that the segregated CCC camps were not discriminatory as they provided the same pay, same housing, same food, and the same type of work as the all-white camps. Fechner even argued that the black recruits preferred to be in all black camps. Roughly ten percent of black recruits were stationed in integrated camps. One of these rare integrated camps was the CCC Camp in Pineland, Texas.

The small town of Pineland was originally known as John Adams' Mill and was centered around timber operations. Lumber has remained the primary industry of the area. Pineland is located on the western edge of the Sabine National Forest and east of Angelina National Forest.

In the 1930s, two CCC camps were created in Sabine County: one near Pineland and one near Milam. The CCC Camp in Pineland was established on June 14, 1933. Company 893, stationed in Pineland, helped the Texas Forest Service reforest the area by planting pine seedlings. These men also built roads and watchtowers and constructed the Red Hills Lake Recreation area in Sabine National Forest. The Red Hills Lake Recreation area is still enjoyed by thousands of visitors every year.

Audio

CCC Memories: No Work On January 4, 1983, Becky Bailey interviewed Jack Rowe about life in Texas during the Great Depression. Jack remembers how hard it was to find steady work during the 1930s. For this reason he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. Source: The History Center at Diboll
CCC Memories: We Worked Hard On January 4, 1983, Becky Bailey interviewed Jack Rowe about life in Texas during the Great Depression. Jack worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps and describes working for the Forest Service. Source: The History Center at Diboll

Images

Pineland Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp, August 1933 Stationed in Pineland, Texas, Company 893 poses for a group photograph. Although Pineland was an integrated CCC Camp, notice how the men in this "mixed" camp were positioned for the photograph. The tents where the men lived are pictured behind the group. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Oscar Stanton De Priest In 1871, De Priest was born in Alabama to former slaves. From 1929 to 1935, De Priest was the only black representative in Congress. He represented Illinois's first district. In 1933, De Priest introduced an amendment that required that the newly formed Civilian Conservation Corps not discriminate based on race, color or creed. De Priest died in 1951. Source: Wikipedia
Pineland Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) In 1933 and 1934, Connie Ford McCann spent two tours of six months each working with the CCC. McCann was stationed in Pineland, Texas. McCann documented his time in the CCC through photography. Dozens of McCann's photographs can be found in the University of North Texas Libraries Special Collections. McCann is the young man in the back row on the left. This photograph offers a look into CCC life, including living in tents and sleeping on army cots. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Page from Connie Ford McCann's Diary McCann kept a diary during his time in the Civilian Conservation Corps. McCann described the work, camp conditions, and life with the guys at camp. On June 4, 1933, McCann wrote about a fight between Wally and Tom. He wrote that, "Tom became angry when Wally woke him up [and] jumped out of bed [and] started striking Wally." Wally ended up with a black eye and stitches. The following morning McCann went for a hike. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
The Guys Playing Around CCC member Connie Ford McCann took this photograph of a mock fight between two members of Company 893. McCann wrote "Long & short of it" on the back of the photo. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Pineland Railroad Station Two members of the Civilian Conservation Corps Company 893 stand outside the railroad station in Pineland, Texas. There are two signs: one reading "White Waiting Room" and the other reading "Colored Waiting Room." Someone, presumably Connie Ford McCann, wrote "self-explanatory" on the bottom of the photograph. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Wash Day Connie Ford McCann took this photograph of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers doing their laundry in buckets at the Pineland CCC Camp. Someone wrote "Wash Day" on back of the photograph. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Hard at Work The men in Company 893 worked hard to help reforest the areas around Pineland, Texas. They also helped build the Red Hills Lake Recreation Area. Here Civilian Conservation Corps workers are chopping wood. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Letter of Recommendation Connie Ford McCann worked as a company clerk in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Pineland, Texas. Here is a letter of recommendation from CCC Captain Frank G. Carrico who rarely wrote such letters. This was found mounted on cardboard after McCann's passing in 1998. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Certificate of Discharge Connie Ford McCann joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933, when he was eighteen years old. McCann served two six-month tours in the Pineland CCC Camp and was discharged in 1934, according to this record. Source: Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas

Location

Metadata

Rachael Larkin, “Pineland Civilian Conservation Corps Camp,” East Texas History, accessed September 30, 2022, https://easttexashistory.org/items/show/105.