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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


In 1965, Senator Robert Byrd joined President Lyndon Johnson in launching a massive federal aid program for Appalachia, a mountainous region spread across thirteen states including all of West Virginia.

A year earlier, Johnson had declared a national war on poverty; now Appalachia would become a major battleground.

Workers from VISTA, Volunteers In Service To America, arrived in West Virginia to assist in anti-poverty programs. Local politicians charged that they were outside agitators sent in to teach communism. They’re dirty and nasty, said one official, and they won’t shave.

One volunteer came from an unlikely lineage, John D. Rockefeller IV, known as Jay.

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