thumbnail of Sounds of poverty; Where the paved road ends, part two
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
I mean poverty isn't completely material. Substance. This is part of it sure. But I mean people have lived for hundreds of years and they didn't have these and then have electricity and these ideas that we consider necessities now. So life is possible without them. I think poverty is a great deal of the amount of opportunity that is open to you. And if you want to live in a place such as we have been with electricity for water and no indoor plumbing or anything then I think you should be feel pretty creative. But if. You want to get out of this get away from it and you can't. This is where poverty comes in to me and where different jobs are close to you that you what you want. Or a different degree a
certain degree of education is close to you because of the surroundings in which you live. Is poverty. Educational opportunities are probably the same. The same schools the same children in the city go to some of these schools. But getting out to go to school is the problem because they don't have any school buses. We talk to Mr. Lasher today and asked him how far his children have to walk before they can even pick up a bus. And he said over two miles. And over two miles in those muddy rut. And brick roads. There's enough probably to. Almost make anyone feel that it's not worth going to school. I mean to be realistic about it you'd have to have an awful drive for education to walk through those things especially in the summer in the winter rather. I can see in the summer where well you get up an hour here early to walk to school it's nice out anyway. But in weather like this is now it's snowing on the ground wet muddy. By
the time you get to school you're so dirty. That all you get is monitoring drama. They could they had to get up at 5:30 in the morning. Just to walk out there and they left around 6:00 or 6:30. And this is ridiculous because it doesn't get light until 7:30 or 8:00 you can see where you're going. We doubled back on all the jokers right here in the store. Several of the students were at work. In universities and we've just been trying to get to meet people and find that they're very much like all of us. We went to our prayer meeting which is really inspiring. It was a different kind of premium than what we're used to I think everybody could get up and speak you know what they wanted to. It was really refreshing for people to express themselves how they felt what their religion meant to them the way
they got up right away and welcomed how glad they were that we could come to church they seemed very very pleased that we wanted to come to their service because people had suggested other things to do. We wanted to go to a church to become a Church. I think it plays a great part in their life and they seem to family seem to be very close together in the people their neighbors are very close. We took a walk up on way up on the hill part of there called PMC drive. The people that went with this didn't know a lot of the people up there. The ladies from this end of the hollow didn't know some of the people but we knocked on doors and explained who we were and they welcomed us in their homes anyway no one was afraid. Just seems a
mild kind of warm them up a little bit. We might have been a little suspicious at first but they were quickly became very friendly. I think a place of religion does play a great partner line. I don't know I found these people so much like myself I can't I can't put any real characteristics on except for that. I probably had more experiences. And been subjected to more experiences than I have you know different ones with very a lot of people came to this conference. With me with many experiences already. From your universe you come with me and it's been a terrific experience but in two days or in a day and a half you can't define really what it isn't until I go back I study it more myself and think about what I've learned. But there's a lot to do with your income. I find that the people down here are a little more comfortable than people farther up on the Hill.
They worry about the education your children are getting how they're going to get to school. The roads are very big and further up the hill and they have a hard time getting to work. They have a hard time getting to school. They worry about. They pay fire insurance and they have no fire plugs in front of their homes the closest one is down the street around the bend. What's going to happen if a fire is going to burn down. And yet they still have to pay this money when they could be feeding their families. They're very worried about their children getting an education. If they didn't they want them. A lot of the kids that we've been talking to in the store have hopes of going to college and I hope we continue to hope they can go to some of them I think are comfortable that they could leave but they have a. Very secure and if they had to move out into the
into the city where they would feel very insecure the people pay higher fees. They pay things. Other things they told me about taxes but they don't have any protection there's no fire hydrants in the area and in the back you can there's just a lot of things like this to the other. Only one road into the community here that there's another road that could be opened but it's been closed by the members of another community. We were told by most of the people here they didn't want the people going to their neighborhood and they resent that here they really do think they've heard themselves referred to the channel Dr. trash and things like that. And they're not going to tell him because it was these people are very close to my economic situation.
I've experienced a lot of what they have maybe not as bad. And I would define it probably as powerlessness that they just they just can't get things done that should be done they're taken advantage of by the powers that be. Everything is twisted and distorted and complicated you know they're going right around when they do try to get things done. This would be my description of what sort of help us we have but we don't know how to express it. It sounds as if this distress. It does definitely. What are you going to do. Well I don't know. What can you do. I'm a political science major at chapel. Don't know if this will help. I'd like to get into government or into politics either behind the scenes or in elected office. Well I hear the elected offices are too powerful anymore around here but I would like to be able to get involved
and yet not compromise myself like so many of the other politicians have. If one can do that he's got a guitar bass he could do things but it takes so much money now to get elected into to operate in a political office that it's hard not to compromise the process. What do you think is most one thing at me. Well they have one thing that is really impressive and heartwarming and this is they have hope. Everywhere you go they talk about things are getting better and they like that. They're looking for better things they're looking forward to this road being open that I toted out and more street lights and better facilities. So this is a desire to get involved to do what has to be done. This is it's not all funds or. You can do things without fun sometimes.
I did what I was and what it was doing and projects and things and and we learned that if you talk to people I mean what it means to them if it actually helps. Hope is a good thing. Robert Bright a community development specialist at the University of Wisconsin the Center for action on poverty and visited with some of the students out where the paved road ends. One of us asked him what he would tell poor people to do to help themselves most effectively. He and the students answered thanks presumptious I think always. To be telling people what they should do. I think this is been a tendency through the years to come into a community or come into a situation and tell people what to do. So I would have a reluctance right there. But here comes the contradiction I'm going to say something anyway. But I'm going to say it in a way that I hope it sounds different and it is different. Not just because it
sounds that way. And that is to say that I hope that the people here. Will continue to work together. To help themselves. And let them discover. In their own way what they think their problem is and to work out a solution. To it. In other words I will not be telling them what their problem is nor will I be telling them. How to solve it. But on the other hand I would be working with them once they've identified their own problem and have suggested the ways they think it might be sound. I don't know what I can tell the people I know that I would be willing to work with in the future. You can't. Tell that people. Like. Me. Are. I mean you know. Maybe in your little guidance. A wise doing a wonderful job.
You stick to fishing. So we have to look at it like no program is perfect but at least it's a start. We can't tell them what to do but if I was going Leeson and advise for them I would say continue to work together you have one of the hilltop improvement Leigh and any other agency settees anyway. That are developing to these people and used to use Agent to continue to hear them say atoms. We spoke with other students about their hosts but anything surprise you. Well yes. I kind of expected you know to be nervous. Things like that but do we need tension between us. We were just like we've been friends for four years. How long did it take you to get over any Stephanus or tension. There
must have been some very beginning about 30 seconds I guess. We spoke with the people of Appalachian about their student guests and for us we were scared we didn't know what to expect. And when she walked into or we just knew it would be our kind of people. So we always act. I've had a really enjoyable time we through we talked last night till the wee hours. But you know I'm not going to take around the east bank with me in the morning. My high school. And it's really odd to have with us and shout. And we had to stay in homes like they're staying with us. And people treated us so nicely now I'm just glad we can do something like this for the girls. Did anything surprise you about your visit. Well yes a little. What was that. I really thought they were going to form it.
Yeah so differently. So you were unpleasantly surprised to know. Where she was in a way I had because I'll tell you I was wondering who I would get a hold of. I thought maybe I would give somebody a bus route instead and I didn't. But she's not she's not a bit proud and she's not a bit harder to satisfaction she says she is. For I was afraid I'd get a horse on my you know be stuck up like they had and I had and used nothing like that. That I thought made the house didn't suit her but I had been sick you know the children of many and I didn't get to clean like I won't tell you that. But she really came in quick and I thought she was. Are you at all apprehensive before she came. Oh yeah. Why did you decide to. Let a visitor come. When Now I have no bae hit me and my husband and the doctor
says that I don't just associated with people I have bad nerves. And he said that I should you know get out associated people so I thought if I let her come in you're going to help me and it has been a lot of help to me. Doctor this is very interesting what she was going to enjoy orange. She's not trader just explain that she'd be my daughter and I had. She went out down the road life not with someone came back and I gave her orders not to stay too long which she did and she didn't I mean she came back. Do you have children who don't. Have children but they're not here they're out of state. I have a daughter Diaries is now 33 year old taken when she was 3 euro and then I had a baby daughter 24 year old and I have a son now 27 euro. Why did they leave West Virginia has been found a work here they had to leave here. He was a man or the store my son was in Charleston but they didn't pay Monette and he said
no to most state and he would raise his wages so he went out there and he makes good money worries Dan.. Do you think he will ever leave. Whalen Sundowns I think I would say it's a picture I don't want to stay here no more. I want to be with my children. Why do you stay though. Well pretty quick my husband's all retard ancient and socially purity and we just feel like we came they went to war else David from Washington exploded. MARGARET She writes anything with her mother Mrs. Harper is still up on the Hill two of the boys and living with her and we've had a wonderful experience. Well it's been wonderful for us all you teenagers here these days. So what do you think. They're wonderful they're very nice and I think they did a wonderful job in the survey. We've all enjoyed Hannah
and we welcome you back just any time you come back here on a cyber survey or not if they're just visiting. We'd love to have a visit from the bank. What do you mean by something like this. I say Wow. So by in these poverty stricken areas farms which we are part of I think a while has done a wonderful job out here and because they have been interested in our group down here they've been interested in everything that we tried to do and they have encouraged a lot of them that are trying to work for and some of them that didn't even understand that they have a better understanding on it now and they're trying to do more to beautify the community. Get yourself out of those climates. And I've even those not the children that stopping here are better growing their cleaner and I think day one has had a great
part in Nairobi to the workers days doing in the homes and talking with the parents. We just need more of it and we need more of more workers in the community. Two days two nights of gone by since leaving the conference separately the goodbyes were sad for the fellowship of poverty of the man who comes as a student and to learn is a friend and friendship is prized in these hills and hollers. Look come again so we're real joy. Meaning I like you which I never mean it's the bankers find that I'm just plain poverty stricken. Let's face it I'm trying now to get myself to leave something in the community that my children can. Maybe be more than I have been. We'd love to see my friend really likes me. When I came here I I knew nothing about anything but I definitely think I would maybe like to teach right. Here are some well we can make it isn't what we like for you to
something. And if you're going to be a teacher you know and. I'll dive or step Bentley and I thank somebody. We've been told that by just mean there's space. Bring your friends. What's your point I was alone and like I told the boys mother was not long. So just open it. Come on I can think of several times I was like my baby not to get there early to get up on time this morning. The little one group we just couldn't find any way or and we really enjoyed having you. Finally once again Robert Bright some of the students we had a grand time last night they had a party. For. This neighborhood workers leaving for Vietnam. And they kind of combined it with our being here too. And here it was.
Eighty three or four generations situation where people from 80 to you I think you missed it was 14 minutes came together and enjoyed. Each other's companionship. Where did you do that. Where was the help at the activity center. I'm here until summer I'm not sure just where that is so they have a meeting or a discussion or. Oh no just dancing and talking and the kids danced and the adults talk to the kids ran around and it was really wonderful. It's like a county fair. That I recall. Like they were putting out a good show for their visitors or oh no it was national actually you know it was not a show it was Bill natural. There is nothing you can do about. It. And I remember a student said it's too bad when people don't know I don't get like this I think Marija students are finding out that what their own lives have taught them
is relevant to the lives of these people. And I know some of the students have found that they've got a thousand questions about life. How can all the things that we grew up with seem so on important now. Is what many single B say. I think for for a period they're going to have to go through this sort of personal self reappraisal. Because not only do are they asking what life is but they're kind of signing up now for the first time. They're not sure who they are because they've just experienced something they didn't expect. And it tells them that the things about themselves may not be so wonderful that they felt bored. Once again I've discovered that none of the class people are not natural. They're not nearly as human with each other in the sense that we have discovered. That home is here and by natural I mean e's. Interest in
each other. A willingness to sacrifice for each other all that exists between these people here whereas in our middle class neighborhoods we have near the naturalists people set up barriers and don't really tell each other how they feel. We don't really have people helping each other. And we don't really have a neighborly interest whereas you have all of these qualities and one of the things that brings the naturalness I hear is that. Suffering is a very deep sort of experience. And these people suffer together and. It's only when you have comforts that you begin to get distant from each other. So I mix up reading and struggle. Have made people be natural There's no reason to pretend about things your life is bigger and it's you know it's rout me up and you have to have anything. Somebody said a lot of. That time. It's so different what we what we're saying today instead of wasting money on Tuesday.
I think. Well ok now shut. Your eyes and just and sort of everything that was going on around us. You know when I first came out I couldn't believe everything everybody is saying and I think where you stand with your IRA realistically and I've kept my mouth shut you know and it was an odd but then I'm used to formulate you might use something you know but you know I sort of wonder about these guys really so sure of what they remember why I'm so sure what they what was going on Monday and Monday evening because several of them had never been in the pool had never been into a home or area even and you know I'm really curious as to how you get back tonight. What's going to happen when they get back tonight is the subject of our next program. What was this one all about. Perhaps the best line to sum it up came from a woman who said I thought she was speaking about the students before they came. They would be
foreigners. Another way to sum it up happened to me when just 24 hours after the students had left the people's homes I visited with Mrs. Jones and Upton's trick. Her student who'd been short a while but Mrs. Jones was already writing a letter to her. I know that student cried when she left. When the students compared notes about the experience that night at the conference center. We realize that the most meaningful part of the experience was the experience itself. The experience was the message. Mine does well it was the real meaning the poverty which is best expressed not the differences but in similarities. Poor people are not people different from the students they discovered. But are people who haven't the control of their environment to be otherwise. The purpose of the community organizers and the self-help movement it happily. Is to help people organize but the strength of numbers to exercise some control over their own destinies. Add to this student by television energy. And a fresh viewpoint and stamina.
I understand that even in poverty there is a natural ascent of grace and warmth and hospitality. Makes this all in an open mind. And the paved roads can be extended to where the people are. You've been listening to where the paved road and. The third program with Siri is the sounds of poverty. The program was prepared for the Johnson Foundation by Hermann land associates and was written and produced by Andy Siegel and myself. My name is Burke County. We'd like to thank David Nichols tonight anyway and he left him in Washington D.C. Steven charities of New York. Miss Mary Hope he and the staff of the Johnson Foundation. Gary Wilson and Gerry theory of action for Appalachian youth. And Milton logo of the Appalachian volunteers. Thanks to Folkways Records and folk singer Gene Ritchie miss mondo or a professor want to
Sounds of poverty
Where the paved road ends, part two
Producing Organization
Johnson Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-rf5kfm0g).
Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, presents interviews centered on the subject of life in the Appalachian region.
Other Description
A documentary series featuring interviews with rural Appalachia residents by one hundred students from twenty-nine colleges, meeting at Action for Appalachian Youth Conference at Ripley, West Virginia. The series is hosted by Bert Cowlin.
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Cowlin, Bert
Producing Organization: Johnson Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.18-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:01
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Sounds of poverty; Where the paved road ends, part two,” 1967-11-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 21, 2021,
MLA: “Sounds of poverty; Where the paved road ends, part two.” 1967-11-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 21, 2021. <>.
APA: Sounds of poverty; Where the paved road ends, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from