The Poor People They Don’t Talk Much About – Rural Poverty In Heartland America – 1967 – Past Daily Reference Room
CBS Radio – Capitol Cloakroom – February 1, 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Poverty. In 1967 much of the focus on poverty and the programs proposed by President Johnson through his Great Society and War On Poverty programs focused much of the attention on poverty in the inner-cities – concentrations of people at or below the poverty level in our society; the sources and causes of the turmoil. But little was said, at least in the Press about Rural poverty, that 29% of our nations population, yet 43% of our impoverishment.
The more glowing examples came from our cities – where factory closings and layoffs contributed to much of our social problems. But just as concerning and just as critical were the issues going on in Heartland America – those factory closings, farm production slow downs, those parts of our country coming to be known as The Rust Belt – where technology and automation were the coming wave of crisis and whole segments of our population would be rendered redundant.
But this was in 1967 – those issues; the factory closings, the technology and automation – those wouldn’t become issues for at least another thirty years – another whole generation to feel the affects of poverty and job loss.
This was 1967 and this episode of the CBS Radio program Capitol Cloakroom sought to deal with the issues current at the time. We were on the verge of what would become a series of “long, hot summers” in our cities – where the Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum – where protest in general, particularly of the Vietnam War, would dominate our news programs every day.
In this episode, CBS Correspondent Daniel Schorr talks with D. Richard Wenner, executive director of the National Association For Community Development and Clifford Ingrahm, executive director of the LBJ and C Development Corp. of Monterey, Tennessee. The occasion coincided with the National Association For Community Development’s 2-day conference on Rural Poverty.
Fifty-One years later, not much has changed – only the voices and the faces.
History repeats – often.