Interview with Joseph T. Mulloy, November 10, 1990
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJoseph Mulloy, a native of Louisville, Kentucky joined the Appalachian Volunteers (AVs) in the fall of 1964. He states that he was motivated to become involved in the reform movement by President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech that challenged young people to do something for their country, and also by a presentation by Jack Rivel, an AV staff member, at the University of Kentucky. Mulloy participated in the AV's school renovation projects, and states that these types of activities were selected because they had an immediate impact on the local communities, and helped secure a better education and a better future for the mountain children. He believes that the AV effort was a "do gooder" work that fulfilled some basic needs that should have been addressed by the local authorities.
Mulloy states that the Appalachian Volunteers' focus began to evolve because of their interaction with the local population. The AVs began to confront the issues such as strip mining that the local population was powerless to stop. Mulloy believes the AVs were "radicalized" by the mountaineers themselves. As a result, the AVs abandoned a "band-aid on a cancer" approach and, led by local activists, began to oppose strip mining. Following the Jink Ray incident where a Pike County farmer successfully prevented strip mining on his farm, Mulloy was arrested by the Pike County Sheriff on charges of sedition. He asserts that this was an attempt by the local coal operators to stop any effort to limit the power of the coal companies. Other activists like the Carl and Anne Braden and Joseph McSurley were also arrested.
Though the law under which they were arrested was declared unconstitutional by a federal court, Mulloy concedes that the incident had a chilling effect on the Appalachian Volunteer movement. Just one day after the charges against him were dropped, Mulloy was drafted by the army. Because his efforts to obtain status as a conscientious objector were denied, Mulloy refused induction in the armed services. Claiming the war was an issue in Appalachia as well, he believed that the AVs would support him. Unfortunately for him, Mulloy believes that Milton Ogle felt that the sedition trial made the AVs appear to be unpatriotic and that the organization could not survive if it supported his anti-war stand, and so Ogle fired him. This marked the end of Mulloy's involvement with the Appalachian Volunteer organization. Following the election of Richard Nixon, Mulloy believes that the War on Poverty became just another social service agency.
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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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Mulloy, Joseph T. Interview by Thomas Kiffmeyer. 10 Nov. 1990. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Mulloy, J.T. (1990, November 10). Interview by T. Kiffmeyer. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Mulloy, Joseph T., interview by Thomas Kiffmeyer. November 10, 1990, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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