Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Larry M. Greathouse, September 28, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Early life / getting involved in War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: Alright this is uh, an unrehearsed interview--have to read this correctly...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about his early life. He then talks about how he got involved in the early phases of the War on Poverty. He talks about working to implement job recruitment and manpower development programs and community action agencies.

Keywords: Camp counselors; Canoe accident; Community Action Agencies; Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Dave Wallace; Department of Labor; Economic Opportunity Act of 1964; Field work; Implementation; Job corps program; John Chestnut; Manpower development; Perley Ayer; Project Dropout; Technical assistants; War on Poverty

Subjects: Berea (Ky.); Berea College

00:10:12 - Early efforts in War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: What as, as you were travelling around, um, d--engaged in all these employment programs...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the War on Poverty in eastern Kentucky during the early stages of the movement. He mentions that there were implementation and dissemination problems on the local level.

Keywords: Community Action Agencies; Community efforts; Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Early phase; Eastern Kentucky; Federal assistance; Federal government goals; Implementation problems; Job duties; Local involvement; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Perceptions; Public response; Quotas; Reaching targeted groups; Self-sufficiency; Shortcomings

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Perkins, Carl Dewey, 1912-1984

00:27:14 - Federal administors misconceptions / involvement in Flem Messer's legal case

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Partial Transcript: You seem--you're, you're painting a picture, of, of a relatively passive poor population, a population used to having things done for them.

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the misconceptions of the federal administrators of the War on Poverty. He goes on to talk about Flem Messer and his involvement in local community action agencies. He also talks about the general republican political opposition he faced, mentioning that they approached the issue of poverty differently.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Board; Community Action Agencies; Community representatives; Confrontations; Council of Southern Mountains; Firing Flem Messer; Ideological differences; Impact; Implementation problems; Involvement; Jack Siacio (??); Legal battle; Lynn Frazier; Mallie Bledsoe; Marie Turner; Power structure; Republican opposition; War on Poverty

Subjects: Breathitt County (Ky.); Clay County (Ky.); Nunn, Louie B., 1924-2004

00:42:48 - Approaches to and shortcomings of War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: So basically--does that seem right that at the very moment that the, that poor people in Clay County and elsewhere...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse discusses the shortcomings of the War on Poverty. He also shares his opinions about approaching the problem of poverty.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Approaches; Being a catalyst; Commitment level; Confrontational approach; Direct action; Federal level; Fundamental problems; Government funding; John Henderickson; Political support; Politics; Preparation; Shortcomings; State level; Status quo; War on Poverty

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region

00:54:02 - Mentality of Perley Ayer / confrontation between Council of the Southern Mountains and Appalachian Volunteers

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Partial Transcript: Perley Ayer and the staff and especially those on the Appalachian Volunteers obviously had precisely this kind of disagreement...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse shares his take on the approach and mentality of Council of the Southern Mountains leader, Perley Ayer. He also talks about the confrontation between the Appalachian Volunteers and Council of the Southern Mountains.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Community cooperation; Confrontation; Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Dan Fox; Generational differences; Ideological differences; Involvement; Missionary approach; Perley Ayer; Personalities; Poor people; Principles; Status quo; War on Poverty

Subjects: Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:11:33 - Lack of coordination and understanding within the War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: Well another than a major issue has to do with OEO's relationship to Appalachia Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the message of Jack Weller's book, "Yesterday's People". He also talks about the failure to really penetrate the depths of poverty in Appalachia due to a lack of coordination within the anti-poverty movement.

Keywords: "Yesterdays People"; Anti-poverty organizations; Appalachian culture; Coordination; Jack Weller; War on Poverty

Subjects: Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:19:02 - Legal services in Appalachia

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Partial Transcript: After law school I had, in fact before law school ended I had been involved in attempting...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the wavering focus of lawyers working in Appalachia, mentioning that many did help individuals but lacked organizational focus.

Keywords: AppalReD; Focus; John M. Rosenberg; Legal services; Paul Coffman; Purpose

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Lawyers--Kentucky; Perry County (Ky.)

01:24:20 - Success of community action agencies

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Partial Transcript: I wanted to also ask you something about those grassroots groups which you've been talking about...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the relative success of community action agencies in Appalachia. He also mentions the work of Jim Templeton.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Grassroots groups; Jim Templeton; Progress; War On Poverty

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:32:44 - Legacy of the War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: So you think that's sort of the legacy of the War on Poverty is this...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the legacy of the War on Poverty, mentioning that one of the lasting effect of the anti-poverty movement is greater leadership. He also mentions infrastructural improvements.

Keywords: Anti-poverty movement; Infrastructure improvements; John Wissman

Subjects: Appalachian Region

01:40:01 - New approaches to economic development

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Partial Transcript: Well I have one more question then, and feel free to be as unobjective as you want.

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the new approach of economic development groups in Appalachia during the 1980s.

Keywords: Bill Duncan; Investment groups; Kentucky Highland Investment Corporation; Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED); New techniques; Poverty programs in 1980s

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region

01:50:40 - Using a talent bank

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Partial Transcript: I think you've covered a lot of the things that, that I can recall and remembered as being crucial.

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about the use of a talent bank as part of the community action agencies' hiring practices for management positions.

Keywords: Community Action Agencies; Hiring practices; Outsiders; Politics; Talent banks; War on Poverty

01:57:32 - Involvement of women / final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Well I'll just give you one example which we haven't addressed...

Segment Synopsis: Greathouse talks about women involved in the War on Poverty, mentioning that the lack of women in leadership positions within poverty organizations was a reflection of the time period.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Eula Hall; Gender discrimination; Mud Creek (Ky.); Pauline Fox

Subjects: Pike County (Ky.); Women--Appalachian Region