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“We can take it!”

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), launched by the federal government in 1933, provided temporary work to three million young men, who lived in semi-military camps, constructed recreation facilities, and carried out conservation projects. This photograph of a young CCC worker epitomizes the agency’s emphasis on the morally and physically curative powers of vigorous outdoor life. “Building strong bodies is a major CCC objective,” the accompanying caption states. “More than half of the enrollees who entered CCC during the last year were seventeen years of age. Work, calisthenics, marching drills, good food, and medical care feature the CCC health program.” Like the military, CCC workers lived in racially segregated camps, and the agency did not hire women.

Source: Wilfred J. Mead—National Archives.