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Author Visit – “Dollar-A-Day Boys” – A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps with Bill Jamerson
On Thursday, March 14, at 2:00 p.m., Upper Peninsula based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Hagerstown – Jefferson Township Library. The program is free and open to the public. Jamerson’s program will include stories, a short video, reading excerpts from his novel and playing original songs with his guitar. Jamerson has presented his program at CCC reunions, and at CCC built state and national parks around the country.
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 from 1933-1942, over three and a half million young men between the ages of 17 and 25 years of age enlisted across the country. They were known as “Roosevelt’s Tree Army” because they planted over three billion trees nationwide. The enrollees lived in work camps located far from towns and were paid a dollar a day. Twenty-five dollars a month was sent home directly to their families.
Jamerson’s novel BIG SHOULDERS follows a year in the life of a seventeen-year-old youth from Detroit who enlists in the CCC in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at a work camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula run by army officers. It is a coming-of-age story of an angry teenager who faces the rigors of hard work, learning to get along with a difficult sergeant and coping with a bully.
In Indiana, over 63,000 young men in the CCC planted millions of trees, fought forest fires, improved rivers and streams, and built roads and bridges. They also built state parks including Turkey Run, Ouabache, Pokagon, Fort Harrison, Versailles and Mounds. The CCC engaged in many soil conservation programs for Indiana farmers, such as repairing gullies, terracing hills and introducing strip farming practices. The camps not only revitalized the states’ natural resources but also taught the young men job skills and encouraged discipline.
Jamerson has produced over a dozen documentaries for Michigan Public Television, and produced several CDs of songs on historical subjects. In his presentation, Jamerson shares many stories he has picked up first hand from former CCC Boys he has met over the years. Audience members are encouraged to bring photo albums or other CCC memorabilia. For more information about the program, please contact the library or visit Bill’s Website.