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West-virginia-encyclopedia-text

SharePrint Media File

Type: Video


Series Title The CCC Boys: A West Virginia Legacy

Filmmaker Robert C. Whetsell

Company Augusta Heritage Center

Format DVD

Transcript

(singing) I’m going down to the CCC

Narrator: For the black CCC enrollee in West Virginia, camp life was very similar to that of their white counterparts.

Larry Sypolt: Black and white enrollees coexisted. You probably had more integrated camps in West Virginia than you did in a lot of other places, especially the south.

Narrator: However for black CCC enrollees visiting adjacent towns, particularly in the southern counties, discrimination was commonplace, exemplified by the use of segregated public spaces for blacks in restaurants, theaters, and restrooms.

John Spotts: At this time, I guess we thought that this was the way it was supposed to be. We didn’t pay much attention to it.

Narrator: In the mid-1930’s, an incident at a CCC camp in Pocahontas County prompted the elimination of racially integrated camps in West Virginia.

Larry Sypolt: There were black enrollees at Minihaha Springs in 1935, and it was one of the coldest winters of record in West Virginia. One of the white officers apparently demanded that the enrollees go out in the field and work on a road project. They basically had a strike, so he would not let them eat. And apparently one of the black enrollees snuck a hot dog out to one of his black friends. The white officer came out and was so enraged he took a two by four and broke it over the black enrollee’s head or whatever. Things just really deteriorated and it was shortly after that they opened up Camp War in Berwin.

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