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African American Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.) photograph collection, 1933-1939

0.4 linear feet (including 60 photographs and 48 negatives, in 2 boxes) — 367 MB (online)

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, was a federal unemployment relief program designed to put single young men to work during the Great Depression. The CCC employed over 2.5 million men between 1933 and 1942, including 250,000 African Americans, who served in segregated companies. This collection is comprised of 60 photographs, 48 photographic negatives, and digitized images of CCC African American enrollees assigned to work in Michigan companies, including Company 670, Camp Bitely, Company 2695, Camp Free Soil, and and Camp Wahalla.

The collection is comprised of images of the Civilian Conservation Corps African American enrollees from 1933 to 1939. Materials were received by the Bentley in 2016 and in 2018.

The 2016 acquisition includes portrait-style photographs of predominantly unidentified men, assigned to work in Michigan company/camps including Company 670, Camp Bitely, project F-22 and Company 2695, Camp Free Soil, most likely, project F-7.

The title of each photograph was taken from the photograph's inscription, when applicable. All photographs titled "unidentified" had no identifying information, but may have been labeled with a date. After the photographs were digitized and became available online, some of the people depicted on the photographs have been identified by the public.

In 2018, Ray Lyons Jr. donated additional materials that were collected by his father, Ray Lyons Sr., a former member of the CCC. Mr. Lyons Jr. donated additional 30 photographs, 48 negative images, and a small number of clippings to the collection. The images depict African American members of the CCC at a number of locations, including Camp Bitely, Camp Free Soil, and Camp Walhalla. The pictures also document CCC projects such as the building of a Fire Lookout Tower, the clearing of fields and woods, and the construction of a stump fence.


Barber G. Buell papers, 1760-1935 (majority within 1849-1899)

3.3 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Farmer at Volinia Township, Cass County, Michigan. Journals, financial records, papers of other family members.

The collection is divided into three series: Journals, Farm records, and Other Family Members.


Michigan Migrant Ministry Records, 1946-1969 (majority within 1954-1969)

2.5 linear feet

Missionary agency of the Michigan Council of Churches. Correspondence, staff reports on local projects, annual reports, treasurer's reports and related printed material; and papers, 1965-1968, of Michigan Migrant Opportunity, Inc. [federally funded organization jointly administered by the Michigan Council of Churches and the Michigan Catholic Conference], including correspondence and reports.

The records of the Michigan Migrant Ministry cover the years 1946 to 1969 with the bulk from 1954 to 1969. One-third of the records consist of committee and project reports from the local community projects. These folders are arranged chronologically with the reports arranged alphabetically by county. The reports contain information about the type and size of the crops in the area, the number and ethnic makeup of the migrants, the types of activities in the communities and personal glimpses of the lives of the laborers. Also included in this series are the annual reports published by the Michigan Migrant Ministry, minutes of the Executive and State Committee Meetings, financial reports, budgets and the minutes of the National Migrant Ministry Meetings from 1954 to 1959.

The records of Michigan Migrant Opportunity, Inc. are part of this collection, also. The records include background information, bylaws of the corporation, executive committee meeting minutes, progress reports and financial reports. Information is also included about the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Title IIIB programs.