Poverty Program Worker

Following college, I spent the mid 1967-1968 year as member of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, serving as a member of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). As part of this "domestic Peace Corps," I was sent to serve in rural Carroll County, Georgia, where a pair of previous volunteers had been run out of town by vigilantes. People in town would not rent to VISTAs, but I got a farmhouse several miles away.

I survived to help create a public library in Villa Rica and then a tutorial program for high school dropouts. Unfortunately, because most of these students were black, racists (including the school superintendent and chairman of the board of education who was rumored to himself have had only a gradeschool education) killed the program. I worked with other VISTAs and black leaders in the county to register African Americans to vote. (This was done in secret during two nights countywide with the help of a young professor from West Georgia College who had gotten himself deputized as a voter registar.)

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