On Wednesday, January 31, 2001, the Red Hill Elementary School ThinkQuest team visited Charles and Nancy Perdue in Brooks Hall, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Perdues work in the Anthropology Department. Dr. Charles Perdue works in the English department as well. Mrs. Nancy Perdue is a volunteer who works with her husband and she also is a scholar. The Perdues gave the ThinkQuest team some very interesting information.
Dr. Charles Perdue has been teaching for 30 years and he and his wife have studied the displacement of people during the construction of the Shenandoah National Park for 25 years. The National Park was made because of the Great Depression. That was when everything dropped. Stocks dropped, payments dropped and many people lost their jobs. The president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, started a program for young men out of work called the Civilian Conservation Corps, known as the CCC. They began to plant and transplant trees to the open spaces near the area that Franklin D. Roosevelt called the Shenandoah National Park.
The CCC Boys had to start moving people out. Some people didnt want to leave the mountains, while others did. The CCC Boys evicted the people who refused to leave. They would carry the people out and drag their stuff out into the road. After the people left, the boys burned the houses so the people wouldnt return and move back into their houses. The government paid the evicted people the price that the government thought their land was worth. People often didnt agree with the price they got paid. If you could call it that.
The Perdues told us that every story that they heard studying the displacement of people during the construction of the Shenandoah National Park was sad. Some stories they heard were about the Jenkins, Cliser, and Atkins families. When the Perdues asked people to tell their displacement story, when they interviewed them, the people didnt mind telling them their story. The people telling their stories felt that the stories needed to be heard so they were happy to share their stories with the Perdues.
The Perdues have interviewed some CCC Boys. The first CCC camp was near Massanutten. In one of the stories the Perdues heard, the CCC Boys waited until these people went to the store and then they moved all their stuff outside and then got dressed up in the peoples clothes and danced around their house. The people came home and found the CCC Boys being disrespectful.
The CCC Boys got into some trouble when they were messing around with some mens wives. One guy said he wanted to kill the CCC Boy that messed around with his wife. The CCC Boys met women when they were constructing the Shenandoah National Park and sometimes married them.
When the CCC Boys were evicting people, the Perdues think the elderly should have been left to live out their lives at their house. That's what happened in some cases. The last of the elderly still living in the park died in 1976.
The book Hollow Folk criticized the mountain folk. The name of the book was a play on words. Not only did they live in a hollow, but the implication was that their head was hollow. The book also had some errors in it. The Perdues have met people called mountain folk. They say that they are like you and me and my team.
This page was created by the Red Hill Elementary ThinkQuest 2001 Team.
This page was last updated on March 12, 2001.