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The Appalachian Volunteers formed in the early 1960s, determined to eliminate poverty through education and vocational training and improve schools and homes in the mountainous regions of the southeastern United States. In Reformers to Radicals: The Appalachian Volunteers and the War on Poverty, Thomas Kiffmeyer illustrates how the activists ultimately failed, mainly because they were indecisive about the fundamental nature of their mission. The AVs, many of them college students, were also distracted by causes not directly connected with the war on poverty, such as civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. Despite some progress, the organization finally lost the support of the national government, and more important, of the Appalachian people, setbacks from which it never recovered.
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