Interview with Penelope Crandall, Ruth Yarrow Baker, May 23, 1993
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryRuth Yarrow Baker and Penelope Crandall worked with the Appalachian Volunteers (AV) program in the 1960s. Ruth Yarrow grew up in Gross Point, Michigan, a suburban community. She applied to become an AV after a presentation by the AVs at Grinnell College, Iowa. Yarrow describes the tension with her father due to her decision to join the AVs.
Penelope Crandall grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where her father was a commercial artist for the Courier Journal. She attended Antioch College. While there she completed a work study program with the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS), and afterwards kept looking for ways to get back to Appalachia. She got a job with the VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) workers teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. After that program ended, she worked with the Appalachian Volunteers during the summer of 1966 in Mingo County, West Virginia. She found housing with an older man, and describes learning to cook on a wood stove. She recalls talking with members of the community and learning to organize.
Yarrow describes the tension between what some organizers wanted to do and what the people in the county really wanted to do. She recalls working on education reform and starting a Free Lunch program. She describes an oppressive political system in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Yarrow eventually married Doug Yarrow, an AV field representative. She states that she bonded with both the people and terrain of Appalachia and now works as a school counselor.
Crandall and her husband went to law school and then came back to Mingo County to work with the black lung program. She states that being an AV cemented her interest in public service work. Both Yarrow and Crandall mention having to be careful as to how they presented themselves as female members of the AVs.
Ruth Yarrow Baker
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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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Crandall, Penelope Interview by Margaret L. Brown. 23 May. 1993. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Crandall, P. (1993, May 23). Interview by M. L. Brown. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Crandall, Penelope, interview by Margaret L. Brown. May 23, 1993, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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