Dollar-a-Day Boys: a musical tribute to the CCC
August 26 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
Singer and storyteller Bill Jamerson will present “Dollar a Day Boys: a musical tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps” on Thursday, August 26 at 1:00 p.m.
The program is free and open to all, thanks to sponsorship from the Friends of the Mercer Public Library. The program will be held outdoors, so please bring a chair or blanket to sit on. In case of bad weather, the program will be moved indoors to the Mercer Community Center.
For more information, call the library at 715-476-2366.
DOLLAR A DAY BOYS: A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps
Ironwood based singer and storyteller Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Mercer Public Library on Thursday, August 26 at 1pm. The program will be held outside and people are invited to bring lawn chairs. The presentation is free and open to the public. In case of bad weather, the event will be moved indoors.
Jamerson will share stories about the CCC, read excerpts from his novel, and sing original songs with his guitar. He has performed at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of CCC-built national and state parks. His presentation is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It’s about people both ordinary and extra-ordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm. Jamerson received a national “CCC Educator of the Year Award” in 2017 from CCC Legacy based in Edinburg, VA.
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 beginning in 1933, ninety-two thousand young men worked in Wisconsin camps. Enrollees were paid $1 a day, sending $25 home to their families each month. The money was a lifesaver for many poor families.
Company 660, known as Camp Mercer, was located near Mercer on the banks of the Manitowish River. Camp Mercer enrollees planted thousands of trees, constructed truck trails to reach fires, fought forest fires, installed telephone lines, and much more. The winter of 1933 to 1934 was brutal for the young men, many who spent the winter living in tents while they build administrative buildings.
In Wisconsin, the CCC planted 265 million trees, built 483 bridges, erected over 4,000 miles of telephone lines, constructed 4,300 miles of roads and truck trails, stocked half a billion fish, fought forest fires, reforested the Nicolet and Chequamegon National Forests, and built several state parks including Rib Mountain, Devil’s Lake, Pattison, Peninsula Park, Interstate, and Wyalusing. The camps not only revitalized Wisconsin’s natural resources but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline, providing education, and teaching them work skills.
Jamerson’s book, BIG SHOULDERS is a historical novel that follows a year in the life of a seventeen-year-old youth from Detroit who enlisted in the CCC in 1937. The enrollee joins two hundred other young men at Camp Raco, a work camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula run by reserve army officers. It is a coming-of-age story of an angry teenager who faces the rigors of hard work, learning to cope with a difficult sergeant and fending off a bully.
Some of the songs Jamerson performs with his guitar include Franklin D., written by an appreciative CCC Boy; Chowtime, a fun look at the camp food; City Slicker, which tells of the mischief the boys find in the woods; and Tree Plantin’, Fire Fightin’ Blues that tells of the hardships of work out in the forest.
The Dollar A Day Boys program at the Mercer Library is sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Public Library. For more information, please call the library at 715-476-2366 or visit Jamerson’s website at www.billjamerson.com.