CCC Camp Pineland TX
Initiated by the Roosevelt Administration in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps aimed to implement reforestation measures (for example, by planting pine seedlings) in places that suffered from the consequences of lumbering. The CCC situated camps in a rather permanent way by constructing buildings, including at Pineland. These buildings, while an architectural landmark from the 1900s, symbolize the permanence and lasting effects of the services they provided. According to the Timpson Daily Times, 40 camps were allocated to Texas and more than 16,000 men were enlisted in Roosevelt’s “Tree Army” not only to plant trees, but also to fight forest fires and soil erosion— the ills of deforestation.
The Pineland camp was right on the edge of the National Sabine Forest. The camp’s picture depicted the empty land (save for the residential buildings for the Corps) and showed how the area was deserted—or reserved for the CCC’s mission. Aside from mitigating climate change, the Corps aimed to build a sustainable environment by constructing the Red Hills Lake recreation area as well as roads and waterways that persist to this day.
Moreover, the first hand accounts of Connie McCann’s photographs and diary provide an in-depth idea of what it looked like to work at a CCC camp in the 1930s. McCann’s diary presented a raw and honest account in which he discussed the working and living conditions, food, tasks that were assigned to him, and squabbles between the workers. He eradicated the idealistic vision of machine-like men working tirelessly to save the world, highlighting a realistic image of the hard work of people before us.
But the reason the Pineland camp is so historically remarkable is because it was one of the few integrated ones. Not only was the CCC working for the community, but they were also working to improve relationships among themselves, and aiming to achieve social equity. Although not actively implemented, integration was one of the main characteristics of the CCC camp at Pineland. McCann’s group photograph proves that efforts to mitigate racism were put into practice as black men are seen standing together with the white workers. Although both white and black men stand together as a group in the picture, McCann’s diary mentions “squabbles between the workers,” perhaps implying racial feuds. Therefore, his account presented the dark side of history as well, signalling to the ‘drawbacks’ of integration.
McCann, Connie Ford. “Buildings at the CCC Camp at Pineland, Texas.” The Portal to Texas History, 1933, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth121788/?q=CCC
McCann, Connie Ford. “Group Photograph for CCC camp members.” The Portal to Texas History, 1933, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth121793/?q=Pineland%2C%20CCC
McCann, Connie Ford. “McCann’s diary kept during his time in the Civillian Conservation Corps.” The Portal to Texas History, 1933, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth121794/?q=Pineland%2C%20CCC
“East Texas gets 12 tree camps.” Timpson Daily Times. June 14th, 1933. Page 1, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth767433/m1/1/?q=Pineland,%20reforestation
“Texas Water Commission Applications for Waste Disposal Permits.” Texas Register. October 1st, 1982. Page 3,567, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth244795/m1/49/?q=Pineland,%20reforestation
“Rebuilding History is not an Easy Task.” Victoria Advocate. July 26th, 2000, Page 4, https://www.newspapers.com/image/434762973/?terms=Civilian%20conservation%20corps&match=1
“Travel.” El Paso Times. March 30th, 2003, Page 74, https://www.newspapers.com/image/432368732
Section “C.” The Portable Handbook of Texas. 2000, Page 198, https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296845/m1/211/?q=racism,%20CCC,%20reforestation
Project originally submitted by Bismah Shaikh on December 22, 2021.
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