Tangible, physical and material. Here, each month, we present to you a piece, an artifact of Fort Bragg’s past.
Pictured is a coin from Fort Bragg’s Civilian Conservation Corps company 401-C. This coin was used as cash at the camp commissary.
In response to the Depression in the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the New Deal into motion. The New Deal, a series of aggressive federal programs designed to turn the country towards economic recovery, saw the 1933 creation of the CCC.
The CCC provided jobs for young men, caring for the country’s natural resources. CCC Camps housed men enrolled in the program ages 18 to 25.
The law that created the CCC included a provision to prevent racial discrimination.
The provision stated that “no discrimination shall be made on account of race, color or creed.”
Initially, many African-American participants throughout the country were assigned to CCC units regardless of race, although, in the South, racially segregated camps were the norm. Due to hostilities and harassment, however, officials made the decision to segregate black and white enrollees everywhere.
In the decade after the CCC’s creation, 11 African-American CCC companies worked in North Carolina. One of the largest semi-military CCC camps was located here at Fort Bragg, and company 401-C, the company for which the pictured coin was produced, was an entirely African-American Company.
African-Americans who participated in the CCC in North Carolina said they felt they benefited from their involvement in the CCC in three ways: character development, educational and training opportunities and gainful employment.
(Editor’s note: Information for this article is derived from “Work Opportunity: African Americans in the CCC” by Dr. Olen Cole Jr.)