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Benham, Rex

Benham, Rex

Benham, Rex

Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Interview 295a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Georgia native and forester Rex Benham reminisces about his life growing up in Georgia and his career in forestry in Texas.  The 5th of 8 brothers, he remembers going to segregated schools and then going through integration, attending the University of Georgia as the first African American forestry student and graduating as the first African American with a forestry degree.  He recalls moving to Texas and beginning his work as an inventory forester for Champion in Livingston and then moving around the area as his job and the company owners changed. He reflects on the changes in forest management practices, the nature of the forestry industry, and ownership, as well as being the only degreed African American forester with a private company in East Texas for much of his career.