Interview with Jeff Monroe, August 18, 1987

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Becoming chairman of the board of the West Virginia Office of Economic Opportunity

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Partial Transcript: Okay, let’s see, where were--you, you were, uh, you were talking about how you first got into the OEO business.

Segment Synopsis: Jeff Monroe talks about the beginnings of the West Virginia OEO poverty programs. He talks about he became the chairman of the board and getting funding for their programs. He talks about one program in particular, the culture and exposure tour and how they got it funded.

Keywords: Budgets; Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Culture and exposure tour; Ed Thomas; Grants; Hulett Smith; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Poverty Programs

Subjects: Poverty--Appalachian Region

00:07:02 - Politics and philosophy of the poverty programs

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Partial Transcript: W, well, here's two ministers. Wher, where were the politicians in this?

Segment Synopsis: Monroe talks about how politicians felt about the poverty programs. He discusses the differing philosophies of the Council of the Southern Mountains and the West Virginia OEO programs concerning how poverty should be handled.

Keywords: Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Grassroots; Philosophies; Political structures; Poor people; Poverty programs; Top-down approach; Welfare department

Subjects: McDowell County (W. Va.); Politicians

00:13:32 - Hulett Smith / schisms within the OEO

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Partial Transcript: Well how did you happen to get that job?

Segment Synopsis: Monroe talks about his experiences working with Governor Hulett Smith. He talks about the schism that occurred between the state OEO and the federal OEO office over who would control the funding and running the poverty programs.

Keywords: Conflict; Control; Decisions; Ed Thomas; Eugene Thurman; Federal government; Funding; Governor Hulett Smith; Grassroots; Local level; OEO state directors; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Poor people; Rural poverty programs; Schisms; State level; War on Poverty

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.; Smith, Hulett C. (Hulett Carlson), 1918-2012

00:23:50 - Conflict between VISTA workers and local politicians

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Partial Transcript: But anyway, uh, then the, uh, the continual--then the battle really began, you know.

Segment Synopsis: Monroe talks about the relationship between local politicians and the VISTA workers. He talks about politician Noah Floyd and his views on the VISTA workers and Huey Perry, the director of the Mingo County OEO program.

Keywords: Conflict; Defending; Huey Perry; Hulett Smith; Noah Floyd; Revolutionaries; VISTA

Subjects: Politicians; Volunteers in Service to America

00:31:03 - His motives and the motives of the VISTA workers

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Partial Transcript: And of course, uh, I don't know what all my motives were.

Segment Synopsis: Monroe talks about his motives for the work he did for the OEO poverty program and the possible motives for some of the VISTA workers.

Keywords: Changes; Criticisms; Effectiveness; Impact; Influence; Injustices; Motives; Political structures; President John F. Kennedy; Revolutionaries; VISTA

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.; Volunteers in Service to America

00:40:51 - Poverty programs in other counties / poor people making their own decisions concerning poverty

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Partial Transcript: Well, when--the memories of the poverty program I guess, uh, yours and, and definitely mine are of this, you know, organizing and conflict and so on.

Segment Synopsis: Monroe discusses the difference between the poverty programs in Mingo and Raleigh counties and and how they operated in the rest of the country. He talks about his philosophy that poor people should make their own decisions concerning how to eradicate poverty.

Keywords: Community action; Community organizing; Conflict; Control; Decisions; Phenomenon; Political structures; Poverty Programs; Power

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Mingo County (W. Va.); Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.; Raleigh County (W. Va.); Wyoming County (W. Va.)

00:49:04 - Impact of community action on his life / corruption in the political structure of West Virginia

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Partial Transcript: But anyway, uh, all I know about the thing is now, you know, that I loved it.

Segment Synopsis: Monroe discusses the impact being involved with community action and the OEO programs had on his life. He talks about the claim that through the War on Poverty the federal government was subsidizing dissent. He talks about the political corruption in West Virginia and how it affected the poverty programs. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Dissent; Elected representatives; Federal government; Governor Arch Moore Jr.; Governor Hulett Smith; Humanity; Impact; Money; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Political structures; Poverty Programs; Presumptions; Protests; Revolutionary; Two-party systems; War on Poverty

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Elections--Corrupt practices; Political corruption; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.