Sunday, February 20, 2005

Catching Up on Black History

As we head into the fourth week of February, we continue our GeneaBlogie spotlight on Black History Month.

The Library of Congress Revisited

Yesterday, we were at the Library of Congress in Washington, visiting the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room. There, those researching African-American genealogy will find more than 180 African-American family histories and related works. The Library also has guidebooks, case studies, and bibliographies and other resources related to black genealogy.

On its acclaimed American Memory website, the Library of Congress has sixteen interesting collections that relate to African-American History. One that I found particularly compelling is Slaves and the Courts.

Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the first and better ideas of Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal." Millions of young Americans were put to work on various types of projects around the country. About 250,000 were black. See the article in the North County Times (San Diego & Riverside Counties, Calif.), "All Black Company of Civilian Conservation Corps Workers Left Mark on National Forest," Saturday, February 19, 2005. This article got me thinking about the CCC as a source of genealogical information. Turns out there's a National Association of CCC Alumni, with a museum and a research center in St Louis. Records of CCC participants can be found at the National Archives and Records Administration. The NARA index lists a set of photos of black CCC enrollees from 1936-1940. These are stored, and may be viewed, at the NARA facility at College Park, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

Of course, there's a lot of CCC material on the New Deal Network site. This includes a 1941 government pamphlet entitled, "What the CCC is doing for Colored Youth," and a number of letters addressing the general subject of racial segregation in the CCC.

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