Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Louie B. Nunn, July 6, 1993

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Moral issues caused by the War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: This is an oral history interview with Governor Louie Nunn for the University of Kentucky, uh, War on Poverty Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Governor Louie B. Nunn is introduced. --There is a pause between 00:00:26 and 00:01:26-- He discusses his opinion on whether the War on Poverty was a success. He talks about the moral issues caused or worsened by the War on Poverty.

Keywords: Government aid; Judges; Moral issues; Moral programs; War on Poverty

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

00:05:44 - Difference between government programs during the Great Depression and the War on Poverty

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Partial Transcript: A lot of the people lost their self respect.

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about the difference between programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and other Works Progress Administration programs and the War on Poverty programs.

Keywords: Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); Government intervention; Great Depression; Handouts; Pride; Social programs; Socialism; WPA; Work ethic

Subjects: Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.; United States. Works Progress Administration.

00:11:00 - Politicians' use of War on Poverty programs to gain votes

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Partial Transcript: So was it the, the structure that was wrong, do you think?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about why he believes the War on Poverty was unsuccessful. He talks about the relationship between the state and federal government concerning the programs. He talks about how politicians used social programs to gain votes and to bribe constituents.

Keywords: Children; Constituents; Elders; Political programs; Proliferation; Public; Respect; Senior citizens; Social programs; Structure; War on Poverty; Work ethic

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Politicians; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.

00:16:03 - War on Poverty in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: How was the War on Poverty in, in the state--

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about how the War on Poverty was operating in Kentucky when he became governor. He talks about Representative Carl Perkins and more about the problems between state and federal governments regarding the War on Poverty.

Keywords: Benefits; Carl Perkins; Districts; Expenses; Federal government; Local governments; Morality; OEO legislation; Office of Economic Opportunity legislation; Politically motivated; State government; War on Poverty

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Politics and government; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.

00:22:14 - Relationship with county governments / "mule incident"

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Partial Transcript: Did you, uh, encounter much con--uh, feedback from the county governments?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about his interactions with county governments regarding War on Poverty programs. He talks about a specific conflict he had which he calls the "mule incident."

Keywords: "Mule incident"; Carl Perkins; County governments; Embarrassments; Feedback; Governors; John West; Politically motivated; Problems; Speeches; Welfare programs

Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government.

00:29:11 - More about the failure of the War on Poverty / rejecting poverty programs

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Partial Transcript: Could you, uh, tell me about your, uh, Community Resources for Employment And Training Effort?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn discusses a program he created, Community Resources for Employment And Training Effort (CREATE) and how it differed from the War on Poverty. He compares the War on Poverty to the Vietnam War. He discusses the Green Amendment and why he approved or rejected certain War on Poverty programs.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Community Resources for Employment And Training Effort (CREATE); Council of the Southern Mountains (CSM); Failures; Fairness; Funds; Green Amendment; Handouts; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Political ideas; Poverty programs; Rejecting; Roads; State governments; Training; War on Poverty; Working; Worthiness

Subjects: Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

00:39:16 - Working with the state Office of Economic Opportunity / budget crisis

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Partial Transcript: How closely did you work with the state OEO office?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about how he worked with the state Office of Economic Opportunity and how he approved programs. He talks about the budget crisis he inherited when he became governor and how that affected his decisions concerning the War on Poverty. He talks about superintendent Marie Turner.

Keywords: Accountability; Budget crisis; Communities; Distribution; Funding; Marie Turner; Revenue act; State OEO; State Office of Economic Opportunity

Subjects: Politics and government

00:45:41 - Social impact of the Vietnam War

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Partial Transcript: Talking about the, uh, the influence of the Vietnam War on the domestic situation.

Segment Synopsis: Nunn discusses whether the Vietnam War impacted the War on Poverty. He talks about the social impact of the Vietnam War and how he handled the possibility of riots and protests at the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Economic impact; Influence; Riots; Social upheaval; UK; War on Poverty

Subjects: Student protesters; United States--National Guard; University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.); Vietnam War, 1961-1975

00:51:08 - Sending the National Guard into Louisville, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What about, uh, the situation in Louisville?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about his decision to send the national guard to Louisville to contain a riot. He talks about whether there was any connection or correlation between the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty.

Keywords: Eastern Kentucky; Memorial Day; Protests; Psychological warfare; Riots; War on Poverty

Subjects: Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Louisville (Ky.); United States--National Guard

00:56:50 - Eastern Kentucky as the birthplace of the War on Poverty / Bobby Kennedy's trip to Appalachia

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Partial Transcript: Tell me more about Eastern Kentucky. Uh, w, was that a unique situation for you to deal with?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about the War on Poverty's connection to Appalachia. He discusses Bobby Kennedy's trip to Appalachia with the intent to show the poverty of the area and what Nunn did to counteract this attempt.

Keywords: Bobby Kennedy; Eastern Kentucky; Ridicule; Vulnerable; War on Poverty; Welfare programs

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Economic assistance, Domestic--Appalachian Region; Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968; Poverty--Government policy--United States--History--20th century.

01:03:43 - How the War on Poverty programs were wasted in Appalachia

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Partial Transcript: Did Appalachia need the War on Poverty?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn discusses whether Appalachia needed the War on Poverty. He talks more about the issue of politicians buying votes by funding social programs.

Keywords: Appalachia; Constructive; Local politicians; Need; Roads; War on Poverty; Wasted

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

01:09:18 - Kentucky Un-American Activities Committee

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Partial Transcript: When you, when you came into office did you have a specific idea that you wanted to do with the War on Poverty?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks about the Kentucky Un-American Activities Committee and their attempts to discover disloyalty to the country. He gives his opinion on the activities of the group. He talks about the Bradens and the McShirleys being investigated.

Keywords: Al and Margaret McSurely; Authority; Conflict; Disloyalty; Goals; Government; Ideas; Legislature; Outsiders; Suspected communists; Thomas Ratliff; War on Poverty

Subjects: Braden, Anne, 1924-2006; Braden, Carl, 1914-1975; Communism--United States; Kentucky Un-American Activities Committee (KUAC); Pike County (Ky.)

01:16:49 - More about his decisions concerning cutting programs / how the War on Poverty created dependence

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Partial Transcript: What about the V--the VISTA program?

Segment Synopsis: Nunn talks more about how he made the decisions to fund or cut certain poverty programs. He talks more about the dependence created by poverty programs and the moral issues caused by the War on Poverty. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Decisions; Dependence; Economic classes; Economic issues; Excesses; Morality; Political; Purpose; Representative Carl Perkins; Society

Subjects: Volunteers in Service to America