The "year of rural poverty" is over. The issues have been
raised. Hunger, functional illiteracy, horribly inadequate
educational programs, a million dilapidated houses, non-existence
of health care, welfare programs which insure suffering (and
control), subsidies for the rich but not the poor, discrimination
in every program, agency, and department which is supposed to
fight poverty. All these issues were brought out, discussed,
assigned to committees, shelved, testified to, and forgot.
Nothing really changed. It is naive to think because the rich
and middle-class learned about such conditions existing within
this country that things would change. This has never been
the case. The only people poor people can possibly trust are
poor people. A faint ray of hope or two is offered by the
several organizations owned and controlled by poor people
spread out over the rural South. Otherwise, there is little
in white to place one's hope, unless it is the impossible possi-
bility of 1969 being "the year for pepole" rather than profit.

One ray of hope could be offered additionally by our young,
those now engaged in restructuring the university. There is a
task awaiting them. They have energy, they
have some idealism left, they have the mobility and vitality their elders have
The rhetoric one hears from campus and street
corner means little to a starving father or his children. That
rhetoric must be made a reality; if it is not, then we shall reap
the whirlwind.

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