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00:00:01 - Early life and education

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Partial Transcript: So why don't you just start by giving your full name and the day that you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about her early life living in Poor Bottom, a hollow in Pike County, Kentucky. She also talks about her experiences while attending Morehead State University, mentioning that she felt like an outsider.

Keywords: Academic preparedness; Academic standards; Being an outsider; Community "social worker"; Community involvement; Community leaders; Disenchantment; Edith Easterling; Experiences; Family background; Financial restraints; Financial situations; Fitting in

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Morehead State University; Pike County (Ky.)

00:06:55 - Early experiences in War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: At that time they had Freshmen orientation or Freshmen convocation once a week and different people...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about her early experiences with the Appalachian Volunteers and VISTAs, mentioning working and living in Elliot County. She also mentions the gradual change in focus of the volunteers.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Beginning; Bill Wells; Campus clubs; Community responses; Living conditions; Local power base; Pennington family; Renovating schoolhouses; Tensions; Tutoring programs; VISTA; Weekend programs

Subjects: Community development--Appalachian Region.; Elliott County (Ky.); Social reformers--Appalachian Region; Volunteers in Service to America

00:14:35 - Role of women volunteers / bridging the gap

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Partial Transcript: I remember during that whole time at some points talking to some different people who had been missionaries...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about her belief that women were able to work better in the community than men and that as a result women's roles were often to make connections in the community. She also talks about how she tried to bridge the gap between the locals and outsiders since she was from the mountains.

Keywords: "VISTA dollies"; Appalachian culture; Bill Wells; Community organizing; Effectiveness; Interactions with community; Locals; Making connections; Outsiders; Patronizing behavior; Personas; Treatment of women

Subjects: Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Feminism

00:22:57 - Focusing on politics

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Partial Transcript: Can you remember when you first wanted to move beyond, um, tutoring and, and fixing up schools...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about how the Appalachian Volunteers refocused their efforts on empowering poor people, mentioning that their inexperience caused them to make costly mistakes. She also talks about how her radicalization was not supported by Morehead State University.

Keywords: Adria Doran; Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Ford Foundation; Inexperience; Mistakes; Refocusing on politics; Student activism; Support; Systematic approaches; Tactics; Wavering support

Subjects: Community development--Appalachian Region.; Morehead State University; Social reformers--Appalachian Region

00:28:23 - Experiences as an Appalachian Volunteer

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Partial Transcript: So how, how long were you in Elliot County then, you were--from that summer of '66 til...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak discusses various experiences she had as an Appalachian Volunteer. She talks about the different approaches within the organization and mistakes they made. She also talks about how personal agendas got in the way of their work, including mentioning her own agenda.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Bill Wells; Bob Garbo; Different approaches; Farmers Co-op; Gibbs Kinderman's style; John Kobak; Mistakes; Personal agendas; Personal growth; Poor people; Power and empowerment; Refocus on West Virginia; Role of women; Treatment of women

Subjects: Community development--Appalachian Region.; Elliott County (Ky.); Social reformers--Appalachian Region

00:39:52 - Relations with Myles Horton and Highlander Folk School

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Partial Transcript: How did you get to know, um, Myles Horton and the Highlander folks?

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about her relationship with Myles Horton and how he influenced her. She also talks about the sexism she felt working with Horton and the Highlander Folk School.

Keywords: "VISTA dollies"; Appalachian Studies programs; Council of the Southern Mountains; Influence of Myles Horton; Karen Mulloy; Mike Clark; Sexism; Treatment of women

Subjects: Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.); Horton, Myles, 1905-1990.

00:44:02 - Women's rights

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Partial Transcript: You also met your husband. He--was he, um, was he a field man?

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about the treatment of women in the Appalachian Volunteers and VISTAs, mentioning that many of the men were guilty of sexist behavior.

Keywords: Al and Margaret McSurely; Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Bill Wells; John Kobak; Relationships; Sexism; Single mothers; Treatment of women; VISTA; Women's issues

Subjects: Feminism; Pikeville (Ky.); Volunteers in Service to America

00:52:03 - Community impact / personal legacy in War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: You know, and I find this is really true. The connection into the community is very marginal...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak discusses the impact the War on Poverty had on the community, mentioning that it was marginal and the biggest impact was on individuals. She also discusses her involvement in the Appalachia Free University, and the lack of respect and credit she has received for her work.

Keywords: Appalachia Free University; Appalachian studies; Community; Council of the Southern Mountains; Helen Lewis; Individual impacts; Legacies; Lessons learned; Personal impact; Personal legacies; Recognition; Respect; Shortcomings; Student organizing; War on Poverty; Women

Subjects: Community development--Appalachian Region.; Social reformers--Appalachian Region

00:57:45 - Appalachia Free University

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Partial Transcript: How did you get the idea to do this, uh, free university thing?

Segment Synopsis: Koback talks about the origins and conference related to the Appalachia Free University. She also talks about a resolution at the conference to require the board to have 51% poor people, mentioning the backlash the resolution caused.

Keywords: Conferences; Council of the Southern Mountains; Funding; Judy Martin; Loyal Jones; Monica Kelly Applebee; Origins; Personality character types; Phil Young; Role of women; Sexism

Subjects: Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:05:24 - Legal background

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Partial Transcript: Earlier you said that you, um, you developed a commitment then that you still have now. Um, what would you say those were?

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about how she refocused her efforts on legal issues by becoming a municipal lawyer. She discusses how in her current position she is still involved in community development.

Keywords: Change agents; Community involvement; Community support; Effectiveness; Lawsuits; Municipal laws; Private landfills; Staying

Subjects: Appalachian Region

01:10:31 - Various experiences

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Partial Transcript: I think I'm a little confused about, um, the chronology because we've jumped back and forth on subjects so much...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about what she did in the years following her year as an AV in Elliot County, mentioning that she finished college, received grant money for student organizing, and went to graduate school.

Keywords: Graduate school; Grant money; Highlander Folk School; John Kobak; Joint Foundational Support; Masters in education; Student organizing

Subjects: Dickerson County (W. Va.)

01:18:12 - Experiences at University of Kentucky Law School

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Partial Transcript: Where did you end up going?

Segment Synopsis: Kobak discusses her experiences as a law student at the University of Kentucky. She details a confrontation she had with one of her professors, Rick Underwood, and the backlash she received as a result.

Keywords: Backlash; Confrontation; Eastern Kentucky; No-fault law; Rick Underwood; Stereotypes

Subjects: University of Kentucky. College of Law

01:23:50 - Tension between volunteers and power structure

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Partial Transcript: Well I, I did want to ask you a little bit more about, um, things that you did, um, when you were working in the communities.

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about the tension between the local power structures and the anti-poverty volunteers in eastern Kentucky, mentioning that she received some harassment and her house in Breathitt County, Kentucky was burned down. She also talks about safety concerns she had as a woman, mentioning that generally she felt safe.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Confrontations; Harassment; House burned down; Intimidation; Jackson (Ky.); Local school boards; Relations; Safety concerns; Women

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Breathitt County (Ky.); Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:34:04 - Decline of the Appalachian Volunteers

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Partial Transcript: I mean how did things change after the McSurely thing?

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about the decline of the Appalachian Volunteers, mentioning that the AVs became fractured over the different issues that were being confronted.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Confronting issues; Division; Effectiveness

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

01:37:29 - Reflections

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Partial Transcript: I think that we did not--the thing that we did not do in those early years is that we did not give leaders...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak reflects on many aspects of the War on Poverty including the movement's legacy, lessons learned, philosophical problems and sexism in the movement.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Effective leaders; Egoism; Importance of history; Legacy; Lessons learned; Sixties generation; Support; War on Poverty

Subjects: Social reformers--Appalachian Region

01:50:55 - Insider-outsider dynamic

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Partial Transcript: Yeah I think, uh, in David Wisnaneth's version he makes a big deal about how the AVs changed...

Segment Synopsis: Kobak talks about the insider-outsider dynamic among Appalachian Volunteers. She also talks about the cultural differences among insiders and outsiders. [Interview is concluded]

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Cultural differences; Dynamics; Insiders; Outsiders

Subjects: Appalachians (People)