Accession Number: 15
The Records of the National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty
3.3 Linear Feet
Series I - Commission
Series II - Correspondence
and General Information
Series III - Transcripts
Series IV - Miscellaneous
Reports and Technical Papers
Series V - Draft Report:
Poverty in Rural America
Series VI - Report: The
People Left Behind
Series VII - Miscellany
Access and Use:
Provenance: These papers represent the Commission-related
papers of Francis S. Hutchins, a member of the National Advisory
Commission on Rural Poverty (NACRP) and a former president of Berea
College. President Hutchins placed these records in the Berea College
Archives, and the files were opened for research in September of
Preferred Citation: The Records of the National Advisory Commission
on Rural Poverty, Berea College Special Collections & Archives,
Overview of the Collection
These records of the work of the NACRP during the late 1960s include
notes of Commission meetings, correspondence, transcripts of hearings
in four cities, related source material, and the detailed report
and recommendations made to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967.
Audio recordings of the Berea hearing are also included.
President Lyndon B. Johnson formed the Commission on Rural Poverty
in 1966 to advise him concerning legislative actions to be taken
in waging his administration’s national “war on poverty.” Executive
Order Number 11306, which created the Commission, stated that its
task was to:
- Make a comprehensive study and appraisal of the current economic
situations and trends in American rural life.
- Evaluate the means by which existing programs, and policies
. . . may be coordinated . . . to achieve elimination of . .
. low income of rural people.
- Develop recommendations for local, state or federal governments
. . . as to the most sufficient . . . means of providing opportunities
for rural population to share in America’s abundance.
The Commission wrote technical papers and filed special reports
containing its summaries and recommendations based on the information
offered by citizens throughout the United States at public hearings
held in Tucson, Arizona; Memphis, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.;
and Berea, Kentucky. Testimony was also taken in Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands. The Commission’s final report, entitled The
People Left Behind, together with its findings, establish a
public record of a national attempt to abolish the problem of rural
poverty. The Commission was dissolved by the administration of
President Richard M. Nixon in 1969.
The Berea Hearings
The Commission’s Berea hearing, held on January 12, 1967,
was chaired by Francis S. Hutchins, President of Berea College,
and focused on rural poverty in eastern Kentucky. Thirty area residents,
including three Berea College students, offered observations and
recommendations regarding ways to improve their communities' health,
employment, and education. Among those heard from were Kentucky
governor and Commission chairman, Edward T. Breathitt; Thomas R.
Ford, University of Kentucky Sociologist; and Burton Rodgers and
Alvin Boggs of Harlan County's Pine Mountain Settlement School.
8 Manuscript Boxes
This series consists of typescript notebooks compiled by Commission
member Francis Hutchins. They consist of materials meant for internal
use that mainly reflect discussions and preliminary findings resulting
from the Commission's third meeting, held May 3, 4, and 5, 1967,
at Kentucky's Natural Bridge State Park.
||Correspondence and General Information
This series consists of Commission information, announcements,
minutes of various meetings, correspondence, notes, statements
on hearings, clippings, etc.
Transcripts of hearings held by the Rural Poverty Commission in
Berea, Memphis, Washington, and Tucson.
||Miscellaneous Reports and Technical Papers
Independent reports submitted to the commission relating to various
aspects of rural poverty.
||Draft Report: Poverty in Rural America
This series consists of a preliminary 15-chapter report prepared
for use only by Commission members and staff.
||Report: The People Left Behind
This series consists of near-final drafts and the published version
of the Commission’s final report to the President, entitled The
People Left Behind. Each of the draft chapters is headed by
the notation “Preliminary, for Commission Use Only.”
An assortment of pamphlets and miscellaneous items related to
the subject of poverty are included in this series.
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