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I think that we've been talking too much and we're just a little leery of what to expect. I mean I'm getting ideas. That I didn't have before and I'm anxious to see what the people will really be like in comparison to what my ideas are now. I think I'll just be ordinary people. I don't think we've had enough specific information like we've done a lot of talking and I had a lot of opportunity to ask questions that I think we knew enough to begin with to ask really intelligent questions I think it's healthy I think it's helped a lot in it. In its own way in making us feel Axton is that we should be frank and honest with one another that maybe I'm just feeling needs the most basic information that we have yet another category of anxiety I have is very very practical like you know Oh I hadn't been around babies for a long time. And what I do if the baby wet you know I'm holding that are you know. That you know that there you know what. What kind of a
do I make a comment are or are what kind of a comment do I make when something happens on the TV screen that I definitely don't approve of you know. Or more specifically. If people ask me questions. Am I going to give them straight answers that would reveal the fact that I'm against the war in Vietnam and and I've been on an I war demonstrations or am I going to just slide over that. You know basically. What we found out is that there are more concerned people than just those working at Ohio University that there are some beautiful programs going. This is this is basically the best thing to come to a comment like this for us is that we're going to be able to we hope to coordinate some volunteer activities going on. I've had the advantage because. Parents live in an extremely extremely rural county in Tennessee and I've had experience there all my life I've lived with them during the summers and for vacations so that. May Sequoia I know Appalachian people
always my grandparents are around my son. How do I break the ice. Most likely by saying Hi. You know by saying hi and being just me without without any for ills or anything else not a college scrape just people are just genuine and concerned people become more genuine by their concerns. No qualms no qualms as to the people accepting us. I think not I think possible qualms might be that we might make mistakes within the community and the social folk part of it might crack the crack the thing up for a couple of days but what happens if you try and cover it up. Yeah I'm confident that I'll learn something confident that I'll get a lot out of the conference because I've gotten a lot out of it and less than 24 hours I'd say. I think that each case presents itself when when you first meet someone. It's hard to say how you react or how people would react to you. All
I can say is I think that you have to use your own common sense say to where the people's interests are and ask questions which perhaps and not personal questions but general questions that you'd meet anybody you see on the street try to be friendly with them and if you really are sincere I think they'll see it. Eventually if not at first I think if you're sincere with them and if you're with them and not looking at them but actually wanting to be one of them and in order to understand they'll see that. I think that they may be somewhat resentful of any college student coming into their homes because I think that they are unsure of our motives and but I and I think that the ice will be broken gradually but I do think it will take time. I think the new we will have to be sincere in order for them to see our sincerity and trust us at all.
And I think that they that may have had dealings with her have heard of people in their community who have had dealings with workers. A lot of them have been insincere in a lot of the attempts have been unsuccessful. And I think it's hard to imagine I think that anyone who deals with someone who is better off financially educationally in almost every way is going to be dubious of that person and distrustful. Perhaps think they're being laughed at. All I can do is try to be sincere and try to let them know we have a man speak to our group you said and you know I can't talk. On your level and I have been poorly educated but. I said I secured him I said I would rather speak with you than with one of the students here because. We want to know about you are sincerely interested in talking with you and learning more about you and the people that you live with. And I said I assured him that we understood what he told us and we wanted to learn and were eager to talk to him I think if you wish.
You don't say it in so many words with most of these people but you just let them know that you're sincere in the best way you can. Elementary matrix college in a way is broken tacky Williamsburg is located in the southeastern part of the state. Power to you. Is quite a large thing there and most people are not them I was quite a few people are on welfare. I guess most people classify asses to be of lower metal bracket or metal metal whichever. We were not told what was going to. Be on the program except for you would have a field trip and would spend two days in the hell of a lower income family. I'm anxious to go out. Into the homes right now. I'm not afraid as apprehensive as some of the students are because I am familiar with. Some of the lower income families.
I'm a senior this year Bria college is in Madison County which is not part of the Appalachian area just outside of it. My family is from Clay County Kentucky. This is inside Appalachian some rule. Community. Name the communities Bear Creek. My mother father. Well we live in Cincinnati now at home the coliseums I don't know if you've heard of that. You know we have a section of Cincinnati called Little Kentucky it's a M stands for Southern Appalachian Mago and it's kind of a derogatory term that you know people who go out in the city apply to people who migrate into the city and you live not down not downtown anymore but out in that kind of out in the country you know. I'm active now in the Appalachian Mountains on be a college campus and I went to the 80s for two Samis I very much enjoyed talking with other students now about the various problems at their schools and. I was surprised. You know I'm I'm I've been to conferences AB
conversations in the Commons with people from this region college students you know particular I've been involved in problems like Avi programs and Vista programs and other programs. But I'm glad. Well there's a different group of people here in terms of people who have not been involved at all and student programs and and and you know and some making some efforts to working with a poverty program. People who had no contact you know with with rule areas are maybe city slums. And I just now find out more. I know several people who have or at least you know been informed to the extent that they want their gone back to their campuses with an effort to try to get a group organized on campus or at least to find out you know what more of you know what's available on their own you know within their own transportation facilities and everything. I don't feel I don't really feel nervous I guess because I enjoy talking to people so much and I love people I love kids that's one way I think to you know just satisfy people's initial curiosity about you know reasons why you
there. You know what you meant to say is I'm very anxious to go into the field. I'm not apprehensive about it all. I'd like to have a family that has children 7 or 8 years old cause I'll be doing my student teaching in a second grade and it will help me to some extent to have contact with the lower income children. If you just act. Natural base and steer with them that people will accept you. Have no doubts that. Not and myself but that people will accept most of the college students here if they X and serious I try to be sophisticated or put on a front with them they also say you this reject them. When I came I didn't know what to expect. We really didn't have any good idea how things were going to be we had a rough idea but not very good. But after yesterday I m are optimistic. The speakers were marvelous
yesterday and everybody seemed to be working really hard they're dedicated people and it looks to me like our program and we pretty good. I'm I'm really looking forward to this field trip and that does worry me how they're going to accept me. It's awful hard. To know how to approach these people and what they're going to think about you. The only thing I can do is go in there and try to play it by ear. I've never met people like this very much you know. So like I say just have to play it by ear. When we were talking at the conference and last night it seems that sometimes these people want to accept you maybe weeks or months before they accept you. But from what I understand that the people were going to be talking like they must be progressive in their views just to allow us to come there. So the two days of let's say will be enough time to maybe gain a little of their confidence. We can't really do too much else except get an idea of what they mean. Never done this
before. I haven't helped with poor people either. They still kept asking what it would be like what happened out there and for answers they turned again and again to enter. A local community organizer who spoke in vivid realities who told them of the effort and energy required. Who told them what tomorrow really would be like. Well first start having meetings. Is one vote don't name a restaurant. Once a week. One night a week. And the CHP director bought it so we can have any more meetings. And we had met a university and he stopped that. So I went ready to place a school that they would use and. I said a man at once and he said You people better go home. We talked pretty rough to him and he left. And the next me we had a week
he came again and he said people don't go home you go miss a bowl. And I said Look buddy we missed the first boat we don't case and make you never to tell him that. The county officials would help. Get the poverty out our eastern Kentucky. In the leg and I mean we promised anything to invoke. These people and then f neither saile invoked the two or three dollars. That they had places to work. And then people would get into pain and you couldn't have a. Vote this way or that. They would be so much wealthier and they want couldn't control people that way. I think the government does. A heck of a wrong for not coming down and checking on these things are sad. You have to make a survey. To send a man and find out what really is going on. One time when I took a bunch of people to thank for an accounting I mean the state capitol. Talk to the
commissioner of roads. And the state superintendent of schools. Would call a week in the head a week and a half in advance to tell him we're coming will be you told them have 20 people. When I met him at the airport letting them 70 people. We had to get a please escort to go. And they heard. There were 70 people coming in they had both and got a question appointment to go to love only what they listened to. When you when you step on one official one just told you step on all of. Their homework together. The superintendent is a woman. Her husband is a. Circuit Judge. Her second cousin has a cabbage a second cousin on another side and is sure.
Her daughter in Silo runs in the bank. Make Mary and her granddaughter. He runs a C.A.P. Industries and they also run the. County paper. There's. Just one big happy family. So you can make it. There one bill rolled anywhere. And less if you teach school you can get a real deal. You don't. And you got to pay a hundred dollars a year if you teach school. You got to buy your school you teach a few hundred dollars a year. They keep on. Putting them off. And they promise you just about anything. I want it just after the election when he wished to speak to you when they come and pat you on the back for the election and say I will do this and will do that only. To see a PSNI a pretty thing at a Community Action Program.
C.a.p. Supposed to be run by. The poor people. Who had their meetings at 2 o'clock and afternoon 30 if. People it does work can't get there. As you know people they do work they get off of that for a while. And. Actually just elect who they want to work in a bank or. Use to superintend or something you can make it. Keynes is just out. And you always found out when the going to have a meeting for five days or so or. The formal sessions ended. The speeches were over and the meeting was on a carefully planned but seemingly informal basis with the local poor and community organizers were over. They had come here really anxious to be there. And after a day and a half of preparation for the field for their meeting with the people the level of expectation rose. They boarded a bus to the headquarters of action for Appalachian news in Charleston some 30 miles from where the conference
had been held. The people came to Charleston too. After careful discussions within each community the people who had volunteered to have students live with them came. They came from a hundred miles circle. They drove the torturous unpaved miles to the highways and down the highways to converge and meet their students. Their guests and coworkers for the next few days. Anxiety rose with expectation as the students waited for their families to come and pick them up. Even the interviewer the voice of his normally calm and detached became caught up in the rising tensions. Steve Chapman he's took his microphone on the bus trip we did with the students talked with them as they waited for the mud spattered pickup trucks the ancient autos to come and take them home. They see as we type a program. Had been strangers when they came. They were joined now in the fraternity of experience held an experience of war coming. They look forward to sharing the fraternity of poverty.
What if you've just been told you're going to do we're going to run again this evening to meet with our families and then go to the community center having meet the people the Communion and tomorrow we're going to paint a new store Christ music store in one word how do you feel right now. I'm anxious. Thanks it's good. Your name. Where are you from Nancy in your school. I'm from Bethany College credit just outside of Pittsburgh. What do you think you're going to stand. I'm looking forward to it but I'm tired I think I'm going to expect different. You think you can learn something. Oh yes definitely going to the town Institute school Cumberland college where you're from. Corbin Kentucky your impression right now as you leave for let's go let's go because I'm going to learn something. Yes I think it'll be a interesting experience I think two days is enough. Maybe not maybe not. OK and your answer Colligan somewhere. And William is protecting your impressions right now as you leave. I'm very enthusiastic I think the last day has been successful in your mind you're
looking forward to two days now in the field. I'm looking forward to it very much. Fine thank you. Your name somewhere. But I have a hand in Charleston Charleston right nearby and in a way I'm going around Charleston. You think you learned something from the earth. Sure we're looking forward to it. Ready to go ready to go. Good thank you. Your names are Jim Harnick Milwaukee Wisconsin right school Jim University Wisconsin Milwaukee right where you going out to walk and your feelings right now. Well before I was a little apprehensive but this light is doing a lot to try to make us comfortable. And Tom from Johnstown Pennsylvania I'm going to come in State College. How do you feel right now. Very enthusiastic on your on your way out to all caught a little community going to mom and mom. What are you going to do out there. We're going to move library books. Doesn't sound interesting. Yes I'm really looking forward to the family we're staying
with her for as I say. And now we're staying with Panama there way that two teenage daughters. Mother what do you think you learned something from the experience. Yes I've learned a lot just like how do you feel right now. Excited. I have spent two summers in the Appalachian region during the school year. So you're an old hand sort of I mean there's always more to her in that you know it's you know anticipating these things but I'm not it was ever. Maybe some people feel the renewed excitement of some sort of interesting. Share with me you know it's always interesting and new people and it's new experiences and new situations. I'm excited also very exciting. I think I learned something today. I really think I'm going to have any notions of what you might learn before and be completely new experience for me. You've never worked as a volunteer at all ever or had any experience in the field parenting classes or programming for junior college.
Tell me and I grew up with people I think they used to and more I think I know what to expect you will know some of the people around have a little fear you know because people in our community they're pretty wacky and people. Situation with these people I really don't care. So you'll feel pretty much at home if you might say that I think so arrogant I think I learned their reaction to us coming here that's one thing I want to see how they react because some of the people back here I mean to me I'm just taken arson I mean you know strangers here. Especially college kids when they maybe don't have an education or sales just taken you don't want to see the reaction you think you'll learn something new you someday find you're always learn something new things because I've been in columns before you know how I feel right now the first conference couldn't do anything or if I didn't get on the field.
The Johnson Foundation of race in Wisconsin had joined forces with West Virginia State College action for Appalachian youth and Appalachian volunteers to present the conference on which this program we were strangers when we came was based. On our next program would examine what happens when student energy is directed towards community problem solving. We'll follow the students as they live with poor people and examine their hopes their fears their expectations their first and last and cockers. Will Follow the pave the road to look at him. And at the end. Perhaps find hope. They are Boron Knowles governor of Wisconsin. Across the nation many individuals and many institutions are searching for paths which will lead to the relief of conditions of poverty in the United States. Just as the causes of poverty and the flow of society are multiple The solutions are multiple. They must be sought on many levels. Private Public local and national. The project which you have heard
described in this program is but one approach designed to attract the enthusiasm and intelligence of youth to the needs of poverty stricken communities. As it happens the project began in the state of Wisconsin where the pilot workshop for our Midwestern college students. The workshop was convened on the campus of the Lawrence University in Appleton Wisconsin by Lawrence University and the Johnson Foundation in mid 1966 based on the success of this experiment. The larger workshop in Charleston West Virginia was planned. This program is based on that workshop. The student experience an Appalachian which will be further described in later programs and the sounds of poverty has led to exploration of a second Wisconsin Project to mobilize the students of the upper Midwestern area to attack the problems of chronic poverty in their communities. Every state not only
Appalachian states has pockets of poverty and as well as urban settings every state and every community has an obligation to help meet the needs of its urban and rural poor. This series is dedicated to the efforts of youth to help solve the poverty problem. We hope you will be able to hear it in its entirety. Thank you Governor Knowles. You've been listening to we were strangers when we came out of the second program of the seriousness out of poverty. The program was prepared for the Johnson Foundation by Herman Ladd and associates and was written and produced by Lee Siegel and myself my name is Berkow. Would like to thank David Ecclestone a devotee and he left them in Washington D.C. Steven Jameses and me or Miss Mary Holden of the staff of the Johnson Foundation
Gary Wilson and Jerry fear of action for Appalachian you and Milton Obote of the Appalachian volunteers. Thanks you do miss ma Dora and Dr. Walter Blumberg. Especially. May we express our gratitude to the students of twenty nine colleges whose lives and thoughts we mercilessly pursued with tape recorders and microphones and to the people of Akron each year 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 this is the national educational radio network.
Sounds of poverty
We were strangers when we came, part two
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Johnson Foundation
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, presents interviews centered on the subject of life in the Appalachian region.
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.
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Host: Cowlin, Bert
Producing Organization: Johnson Foundation
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.18-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:25:07
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Chicago: “Sounds of poverty; We were strangers when we came, part two,” 1967-10-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 10, 2023,
MLA: “Sounds of poverty; We were strangers when we came, part two.” 1967-10-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 10, 2023. <>.
APA: Sounds of poverty; We were strangers when we came, 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