Interview with Jesse L. Amburgey, November 2, 1990
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJesse Amburgey, an executive director of the Kentucky Youth Association Community Action Committee, was born and raised in Knott County, Kentucky. He saw poverty firsthand in the heart of Appalachia. He attended Berea College and became a teacher in central Kentucky before returning to Knott County in 1963 as the principal of a consolidated school. Amburgey describes how he became involved in the Knott County Development Association. The group later joined with nearby counties and became the LKLP (Leslie-Knott-Letcher-Perry) Community Action Agency. Amburgey became so interested in the group that he asked to be released from his contract as principal and went to work for LKLP full-time. After a year, he became director.
Amburgey discusses the hope that pervaded Appalachia when the War on Poverty was announced, but states that the resources available never matched the philosophy of the program. He discusses how LKLP tried to work within the county systems by completing projects on roads and bridges. Amburgey believes that the whole political system of eastern Kentucky has changed due to the work of the community action groups.
Amburgey describes the differences between the War on Poverty in different counties and different parts of the state. He explains that he believes that the VISTA [Volunteers In Service To America] workers alienated people, and he describes how he dealt with this insider/outsider conflict. Amburgey also discusses an attack by Governor Louie B. Nunn on the Community Action Programs, and the role of Lynn Frazier in the Nunn administration. Amburgey explains the current community action programs that help people to find work. He states that hope is the lasting legacy of the War on Poverty because it showed local populations that someone cared about them.
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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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Amburgey, Jesse L. Interview by John Glen. 02 Nov. 1990. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Amburgey, J.L. (1990, November 02). Interview by J. Glen. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Amburgey, Jesse L., interview by John Glen. November 02, 1990, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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