Interview with Mary Beth Bingman, March 12, 1991
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryBeth Bingham was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, but because her father was a hospital administrator they moved many times. Bingham spent her early years in Virginia and in Wheelwright, Kentucky. Bingham states that her mother encouraged her to attend Clinch Valley College in Wyse, Virginia. She was inspired by the civil rights movement and the national interest in social justice, and decided to join the Appalachian Volunteers (AVs). Bingham was sent to Rockcastle County where she worked in a one-room school, tutoring and designing programs for children. She recalls that she had little trouble being accepted by the locals due to her rural background, but she does recall one minor conflict between the AVs and the community at that time.
The following summer, Bingham was assigned to the Crane's Nest coal camp, near Coburn, Kentucky. She describes a much drearier, but more modern atmosphere. During her second year, she became more involved with other AVs. She was also influenced by one of her teachers, Helen Lewis, the growing anti-war movement, and the rise of feminism. She states that she thought of herself as an activist, not a feminist, and remembers that debates were more likely to be centered on where the AVs should be "action-oriented" or "education-oriented" than whether women should be given equal opportunities to become "field persons." Bingman states that the creation of networks of people interested in making a difference in Appalachia is the longest lasting contribution of the Appalachian Volunteers.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Bingman, Mary Beth Interview by Margaret Brown. 12 Mar. 1991. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Bingman, M.B. (1991, March 12). Interview by M. Brown. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Bingman, Mary Beth, interview by Margaret Brown. March 12, 1991, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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