Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with David Biesemeyer, May 13, 1987

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:11 - Coming to rural West Virginia as a volunteer

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Partial Transcript: David, why'd you come to West Virginia?

Segment Synopsis: David Biesemeyer talks about coming to the Appalachian region as part of the Appalachian Volunteers organization. He discusses his first impressions of the area and why he decided to volunteer there.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Decision-making; Impressions; Isolation; Law Students Civil Rights Research Council; Rural; Social values

Subjects: Peace Corps (U.S.); West Virginia.

00:03:31 - Pine Knob community and strip mining

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Partial Transcript: What were your first contacts with strip mining and its effects?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer talks about his involvement with the Pine Knob community and their efforts to have their opinions heard about strip mining in the area. He talks about becoming a spokesman for the community and how he felt about representing the local people.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Falling boulders; Legislature; Meetings; Mudflows; Pine Knob (W. Va.); Spokesman; Strip mining regulations

Subjects: Charleston (W. Va.); Strip mining--Law and legislation--Appalachian Region

00:09:12 - Feelings of the community / naivete

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Partial Transcript: What happened next?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer talks about how various parts of the community felt about the work being done by the community group concerning strip mining regulation. He talks about how his naivete may have helped him accomplish goals.

Keywords: Attention; Changes; Charleston (W. Va.); Coal companies; Communities; Miners; Naive; Protecting

Subjects: Lobbying; Politics and government; Strip mining--Law and legislation--Appalachian Region

00:13:51 - Activities of the community organization

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Partial Transcript: Okay. So your people decide they want to do something with the legislature. Um, what do they do?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer talks about how the Pine Knob community group became involved with the Raleigh County Community Action Association. He talks about the actions of the group including lobbying and giving presentations about the effects of strip mining.

Keywords: Legislature; Raleigh County Community Action Association; Senators; Slideshows

Subjects: Lobbying; Strip mining--Law and legislation--Appalachian Region

00:17:41 - Resentment by public officials of the Appalachian Volunteers / impact on his life

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Partial Transcript: Did you feel any resentment from the public officials over the fact that, or did they, did they even know that you were a federally sponsored individual?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer discusses whether public officials resented the Appalachian Volunteers due to the fact that they were federally funded. He talks about how the volunteers were portrayed in the media. He talks about the impact volunteering had on his life.

Keywords: "Communists"; Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Conflict; Negative perceptions; Participation; Personal impact; Public officials; Resentment; Social issues

Subjects: Social reformers--Appalachian Region

00:22:23 - Accomplishments of the community organization

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Partial Transcript: What would you consider to be some of those changes that did occur?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer talks about the changes and accomplishments made by the community group in Pine Knob, especially concerning strip mining regulation.

Keywords: Abolition of strip mining; Accomplishments; Changes; Community organizations; Jay Rockefeller; Opportunities; Protection

Subjects: Strip mining--Law and legislation--Appalachian Region; West Virginia.

00:27:13 - Current political climate and political involvement

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Partial Transcript: Do you think it would be possible to have something like that Appalachian Volunteers experience in the political climate today?

Segment Synopsis: Biesemeyer discusses the current political climate and whether a group like the Appalachian Volunteers could succeed now. He talks about what he'll tell his grandchildren about his political involvement and whether he might ever return to political activities. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Grassroots movements; Political climate; Political involvement; Social concerns