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Uneven GroundAppalachia since 1945$
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Ronald D Eller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125237

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125237.001.0001

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The Politics of Poverty

The Politics of Poverty

(p.53) 2 The Politics of Poverty
Uneven Ground

Ronald D Eller

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter discusses the political organization of Appalachia during the 1960 Democratic presidential primary, where John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts arrived to campaign. It notes that the political strategists during the primary expected the issue of religion to dominate the campaign, as it had in other states, and Kennedy was prepared to confront religious bigotry head-on. However, the crowds of unemployed coal miners who greeted the senator in places such as Welch and Williamson and in other coal communities along Paint Creek, Cabin Creek, and the New River were less interested in the candidate's religion than in Kennedy's plans to relieve economic distress. Following the West Virginia presidential primary in 1960, national journalists turned to Appalachia as a symbol of the growing disparity between poverty and affluence in the United States.

Keywords:   Appalachia, 1960, John F. Kennedy, poverty, affluence, United States

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