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Reformers to RadicalsThe Appalachian Volunteers and the War on Poverty$
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Thomas Kiffmeyer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125091

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125091.001.0001

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The War to End All Wars

The War to End All Wars

(p.93) 4The War to End All Wars
Reformers to Radicals


University Press of Kentucky

Although Flem Messer and Jack Rivel were both members of the Appalachian Volunteers (AVs) and were engaged in the earliest projects of the organization, they came from different backgrounds and experiences which influenced the transformation that the AVs went through in 1965. The ideal of organizing local people to help each other became unsustainable during the later part of that year, the involvement of the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) initiated the demographic shift that transformed the identity of the AVs. Aside from how Messer originally undermined the notion of local people helping each other, Messer and Rivel also differed in how they related with the people they attempted to help. Messer asserted that disproportionate local control between the poor and the non-poor required outside influence if something was to be done to end Appalachian poverty.

Keywords:   Flem Messer, Jack Rivel, Appalachian poverty, VISTA, demographic shift, outside influence

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