Rural Revival - Alabama's CCC

Documentary explores how the depression-era program reshaped Alabama and its people, leaving a lasting legacy.

THURSDAY, DEC. 15 at 8:00PM

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work program was established by Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt in March 1933. The CCC's main goals were to conserve and develop the natural resources of the United States while putting unemployed young men to work during the Great Depression. The success of the CCC’s programs in Alabama is the topic of Tommy Wier’s new film Rural Revival – The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama.

In Alabama, the CCC initiated projects were to improve the state's forested lands, strengthen the forest-fire protection system, and aid in the development of new state park lands. The program included soil conservation, dam construction and waterway improvements across the state. The Alabama CCC constructed numerous buildings and trails in many local and state parks, as well as in other locations in the state, that are still in use today. Projects included an archeological museum at Moundville, development of the Natchez Parkway, and road improvement and re-forestation in the Bankhead National Forest. Two companies composed of African American veterans of World War I built a road to the top of Cheaha Mountain.

The CCC also helped to expose young men in Alabama to new places and to new ideas. The journey of one young boy from rural Talladega County and his time in the CCC from 1939-1941 is a parallel story in the film. Many men from Alabama served in other states and other men came to Alabama from other parts of the country. Half of the Alabama CCC enrollees had left school before the eighth grade, while a smaller number had never had any classroom experience. Across the country, more than 40,000 young men learned to read and write through the CCC and many earned a high school diploma. The young men took important mechanical, agricultural, and construction skills home to their communities or into the military when World War II broke out.

Rural Revival was made possible by the non-profit Birmingham International Educational Film Festival with funding from the 2022 Tourism Legislative Grants Program (Senator April Weaver and Representative Kenneth Paschal), the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the Alabama Humanities Alliance.

Rural Revival - CCC workers rest at camp; CCC Tower

Rural Revival - CCC member Tom Wier, African American CCC recruits

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