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.