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Using the Johnson Foundation has done a good job with us and I know we. Play freedom to do mission stuff. To the occasion. I saw five dollars worth on this is. Never a goal. Extremely healthy. So Elvis would show me the going on a college campus. This is due to a service that has been started last year and I am sure they are going to get people registering everything a lot of it expressed their concern and they want to sign up and they say oh yeah we want it we want to do something. But when it comes right down to doing it they don't really get a hard time really heartbreaking. But it
doesn't matter the risk is I don't know whether we're going to camp oh so many people live at home and like everybody we're doing you know besides the storm activity this is a real disappointment to me and I hope we can talk about this and you know what made you decide to run. This gives me credit there's something I think if they came here for two days it would make a difference. I don't know what some people would think it depends on the people and their interests or something else all things and I say not selfish because I know I am but somehow I don't realize the needs of others. I don't think they're being so selfish. They bring a big part to play with. Get to participate. I really like
to go like every week helps provide the manpower to do this continuous thing in the Bahamas. These people are given a little distance to just come right off. I'm willing but if I was there because I don't want to take up a bill I have never participated in anything I can't decide until very much about I mean if I were to place a lot of the kids to the conference I think I already participate in a lot of that I've been looking there for a minute. We're still very much a man I could go back and tell my friends that I know the bill very much to get me interested in it because this is it. The girl anything I think they would give a damn to listen to but I could go back and just unbelievable to me like it is in the US as we get them is and this is
a woman in trouble in our family and we took on the retooling. Thirty dollars and it was meant to leave her find a way to spend at least that much more six people and get all the good they got to go home and tell your mom or dad to get out of town and buyers like the man. I now know Meanwhile I'm going to claim things that are really important. My concept of poverty before I guess was dirty clothes a messed up yard a house ready to fall apart with no paint no outhouse and actually when I went there I didn't see this although I know it must exist. But the community I stayed in didn't have people that died that you would say were in poverty. They were mostly middle income or maybe a little lower. They have had a few people
their poverty. I sort of youth and middle income people didn't have poverty too because their poverty was like a road that a very poor road. In the winter some time became impassable. The mailman only runs part of the winter on this road and when it gets too bad he stops running. The buses are the same way they want to run on one of these roads and so I sort of got the idea that you can be middle class and be in poverty too but a different kind of poverty. Their need for a road is just as great I'd say. As a people very poor although maybe not as immediate. My life's work is undecided right now you know I have gone through being an engineer or a lawyer in different other things but I sort of feel that maybe I fit in here being some kind of social worker working with these people. I've gotten tremendously involved and their problems are my
problems. They say they can't hit the road because the Charleston aisle. I resent the city of Charleston. Now I'm mad. So maybe it will change my life if I decide to go into what I think is very good chance of going to this kind of work. And even if I never do at least I'm going to know a little bit more about poverty than I ever did before and I have some concept of what these people need that it is not just dirty faces they need the need to worship they need a road to. I guess I never realized this could be poverty before my first surprise when I came to the conference was to find that most people had serious motivations about service volunteer work and what we call poverty areas or low income areas. And I was not representing an organization. In particular. The thought that has struck me now that I'm at the end of the conference is that. This is. Regardless of a person's affiliate direct affiliation
with. Service. This is an excellent general education program and that I think it can. We can use the same techniques that we use throughout the conference. For people not intending to go into service where but who can be supportive of those who are working with problematic situations in the future. They can be literate in this field just like you'd say a person a scientifically literate people who are not planning to make a career out of service and the kind of service a lot of people here are affiliated with and in the avian and community action programs. They should also be allowed to go through an experience like a conference we've just been through. Just for their own general information. As an educational tool so that when they read in the papers about so-and-so is working on such and such. They'll know what it's about. We've been speaking with Jerry feer deputy director of action for Appalachian U. One of the sponsors of this
conference and with some of the students who participated. Before the field trip before they went out where the people are there was the intention. There was fear of misunderstanding and fear of being misunderstood. Tension generates release and when the students return to the familiar surroundings of the conference center release came. A prominent folk singer born nearby came and played for them. Well they finally wore him out. He passed the guitar to one of the local organizers a man who would serve the students well as guide and teacher. They want him out too and then they get in songs and games of their own. Somewhere along the line and this is one of the reasons we call this program London breaches have built up. They began to sing and play this children's game. We wondered at the choice of them after some research began to wonder even more. Because perhaps unconsciously they had chosen a song and game along associated with political protest. On another level perhaps they knew that they were serving as a bridge and allegorical bridge
from the mainstream of American life. To life as it has lived in this stark poverty. We wondered if they knew that as the song is sung in these hills and has been from time immemorial the children imprisoned in the bridge are asked if they would prefer to be salt or pepper to make a choice. Choice is the possibility of apple each it today and students may well be the real bridge. Choosing a side is essential. Because the conscious choice of the people of apple each year. Unlike the unconscious choice of the students will determine the future of the area. Which side of the people to be on. They must choose. And that's what this experiment was all about. Because they need help to choose. And perhaps through the bridge the students can build with their work and their bodies and their energy. The people can choose wisely and well. The final verse of the song the students chose the song that gave us title and theme
says London Bridge is all built up. If the people of apple each year so choose it may be run Clement one of the students summed up almost everything we've said on the sounds of poverty. When Upon his return to the conference center. He told his fellow students what had happened to him. First I'll give you a little bit of the setting where George lives he lives up the creek he lives outside of Glyndon about 15 minute ride. You go up the hill and down a hill and up another one and you're on it. You're in the middle of the creek. And you drive about three miles up this creek through over rocks and you're really trying to miss the fish swimming down a creek you know and you get up the road a ways and there's some rights. So we get up to that. We had to place. And he lives in our little wood wood cat each with two. I would still be in a kitchen and a coal stove in the living room. And. When we when we got there George and his wife and dad and his wife got up and laid a.
Kerosene Lamp and we came in and for the next two hours a day told us about all the coal mine experiences it was there from 38 to 63 and then nine hundred sixty three he went blind. And. He's been blind since then. I couldn't feel pity for the man. He had just did to his blindness and he was getting along fine and. Carrying on with this idea. I don't think this man is a poverty case. Now there is one thing that makes this man a poverty case and that's that he can't get his Social Security. He's getting the runaround he gets welfare money fifty eight dollars a month. And this was something that he says to me says Ron if you can do me a favor when you go back up to school when you go up back up to these people if there's anybody you can talk to to find out why I can't get my Social Security. You talk to avoid you. So I said to him OK George I said I'm no expert if there's somebody I can
talk to I will. So then he got out he had his wife get out the letters that he sent into Social Security and the letters started out like this he had applied for Social Security benefits and decide on a disability. So. The letter started out and it said Dear George. We have received your application for Social Security under the provisions of disability. Cases. After studying all the facts we are sorry to inform you that you do not meet the requirements under the Social Security Act of 1946. I read this letter three times I know the word. And it went on to tell George that he didn't have enough quarters for Social Security which I won't question because I know there's a thousand answers people could give me that are in these offices of why Dorje doesn't get his Social Security. But the thing that I couldn't understand is they said in that letter that George was
not dis able according to the law. It's made statements like you have to be disabled for 12 months or over our continued period of time no greater than 12 months he's been blind already for four years and totally blind. For the rest of his life. And then so George took that he took that letter and they sent him down to the rehabilitation place. And so he went down to a rehabilitation office and they told him he could not be. He could not be real rehabilitated. That he was not he did not meet their provisions either. So I mean if you can't rehabilitate George and he's not disabled What is he. So then we're going to tell George you've got to. He's 49 years old and he is like any other man I know that is 65. And he's got to wait until he's 62. To get his Social Security. And he's 49. So what this man is expected to live on fifty eight dollars
a month. For until he's 62 so I was kind of upset about it. So George didn't stop fighting. So he said well if I can't be real rehabilitated I'm going to write I'm going apply again because it says I have the right to contest. So he contested it and I sent him another letter. And if this was Dylan 63 and this letter gave him a general run around in different words now in 1966 after George had been contesting contests and trying to find out how he could do what he needed to get his Social Security and if he could get it in 1966 they sent him a letter. That was word for word the same letter that he got in 1963. And this letter. I wish I had it here so I can read a multi-year. George's story to all of the one up and put it in his wallet. And you know how when you followed up the weak spots get in a fold. Well the one corner of the weak spot had ripped out so these two letters were on top of each other and I held them up
and the type. That together. The words the letters everything in the two letters were exactly the same three years apart. So I mean this is just we were talking the other day about. We hear in the speeches about the run around in the bureaucracy Well I don't like td. I don't like to get involved in the argument of bureaucracy but I think it's pretty evident here that a man is getting a runaround and a man you know that. I'm not arguing that you should give George money. He is he deserves it. And this is if George had his sick Social Security he would be completely happy man. We were on the porch blown his coon horn. And it's a big long horn like the end of a cow or something and you try to blow that thing and you can't do it. I mean you blow and blow and blowing you can do it puts up the side of his mouth and for miles you can hear this horn sound and so this is this is just a point I'm trying to make about George is not a poverty case. He's being given the runaround something
that he deserves. And. I just had a great time and it ended in in a kind of a sad time. The saddest thing about it and maybe this sounds ideal and romantic but we were all getting in the car. And Russ George and I and the other boys and was George and George the blind man was standing up on the porch. It was freezing cold out there snow all over the place. And he was standing there waving goodbye. And the last thing I mean he would laugh all the way out the door he was jealous he says Don't whine. He says you know you boys can state you want you can stick around for a week or two. Business and I don't mean like I said he needs Social Security that's only the only economic thing he needs. But this man was hungry for somebody to talk to somebody who tells all the stories too. And I'll tell you if I could have stayed another week if I could stay another year I'd be there right now. And so he's standing on the porch.
And at that moment. He looked like. You know he looked like oh I want to stay because he looked kind of lost. So then we had we left. And I still feel this way now and I hope I feel this way this summer if I get a chance to come back. But. There's no. No man has a right to pity Jord. Because this man is so melts and there are hardly men that equal up to it too. God. The way you have been listening to London Bridges have built up the final programme of the series the sounds of poverty. Ladies and gentlemen the vice president of the United States. The program you have just heard and the series of which it was a part
presents the results of a very special but not at all secret formula for improving life in America. Now what's that formula. Combine youthful energy and vitality with the private sector action. Mix with the dedication and know Hala those fighting on the front lines of the war against poverty. And in this case action for Appalachian youth and Appalachian volunteers and the determination of the impoverished citizens themselves to achieve their fair share of American life. Yes this is the formula for improving life in America making a better America. The project was conceived as an educational experiment a way in which to enable youth to become personally and creatively involved with the real problems the tough problems in the real world. As we have heard the experiment succeeded in a most exciting way. Real
things happened and in real time words lead to deeds enquiry to action. This is the same type of programme that we are trying to promote through the President's Council on Youth Opportunity. Trying to open the doors of opportunity for all of the youth of America. The formula that worked in the Appalachian poverty program. I think will work in Watts and Harlem too. If we just get people. To apply it. To try it. The events we've heard about should excite us for another reason. They promise the reversal of a crammed. The long decades of a state of youth from Appalachian and its problems. Some students inspired by their own participation and by the excitement the conference generated. Made the commitment to spend a summer in
Appalachian undoubtedly in Summers and other vacations to come. Many more young people will lend their time their boundless energy their enthusiasm to this approach to problem solving. They will join their efforts with those wonderful people of the hills and hollows who have neither fled the land nor surrendered to its bareness. The project was in a way destined to succeed because it was firmly grounded in several realities. Young people do have energy and vitality. They have curiosity about the world in which they live and are I strongly believe deeply motivated by a desire to serve that world constructively. What a powerful asset. Like many other areas of conic poverty Appalachian has been weakened by the departure of the dynamic of youth. Some of our generation have tended to assume that little or nothing could be done
about the wide in sickening range of problems that face it's poor and oppressed people. Yet it was among the poor themselves to whom they brought the youthful gift of dedication and activism that these students discovered some qualities not always so evident. In the more prosperous and affluent parts of our society. For example the students found great courage. And even greater tenacity. They felt a commitment to community pride without a price tag. A directness simplicity and utter humanness in relationships. These college youths came to Appalachian to give and they did give and gave generously. But they found that the poor also had much to give to them. It is clear from their comments that these young people now see possibilities for combining their strengths
with those of the impoverished of Appalachian. Not just to relieve poverty but literally to rebuild society. The optimism of the young Americans may reenergize the pessimistic and the apathetic. Not only among the poor but among all of us. The young people who made the commitments you've heard about in this series of programs take as their model. Don't let George do it. In the process of aiding people to aid themselves they have discovered new purpose new meaning for their own lives in the expression of common goals through action in real communities. They also have discovered that they are not alone in this world. Such a discovery would indeed enrich all Americans regardless of race religion or of age for with it. Let George do it is replaced by the
realisation that every man is George. And then George can do it. Thank you Vice President Humphrey. The program was prepared for the Johnson Foundation by Herman Leonard associates and was written and produced by Haley SIEGEL And I said. My name is Burke Collins. We'd like to thank David Ecclestone anyway and he left him in Washington D.C. Stephen charities of New York. As Mary Hokie of the staff of the Johnson Foundation Gary Wilson and Jerry theory of action for Appalachian youth and Milton ogled of the Appalachian volunteers. Thanks to Folkways Records and folk singer Gene Ritchie. Miss mondo or and Professor Warner Blumberg Jr.. Especially May we express our gratitude to the students of 29 colors Jews whose lives and thoughts we mercilessly pursued with tape recorders and microphones
and to the people of Appalachian who were our gracious hosts. This program has been presented by the Johnson Foundation in the belief that the encounter of American youth with our nation's problems is an event which merits the interest of all our people. The observations expressed by the participants are of course there's a lot and their inclusion in this program does not imply approval by the Johnson Foundation. Lewis is the national educational radio network.
Sounds of poverty
London bridges, part two
Producing Organization
Johnson Foundation
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two, presents a conclusion to the series. Vice President Hubert Humphrey speaks at the end of the program.
Series 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
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Host: Cowlin, Bert
Producing Organization: Johnson Foundation
Speaker: Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.18-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:44
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Chicago: “Sounds of poverty; London bridges, part two,” 1967-11-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Sounds of poverty; London bridges, part two.” 1967-11-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Sounds of poverty; London bridges, 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