Interview with Roslea Johnson, June 24, 1991

Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project

  • Description
  • Play Interview
  • Rights & Request
  • Citation

Interview Summary

Roslea Johnson, a former Appalachian Volunteer (AV), describes growing up in Radford, Tennessee where her father worked in a munitions plant. She began attending Berea College in the autumn of 1961. As a student at Berea, Johnson recalls attending a Conference of the Southern Mountains (CSM) the day Pearly Ayers asked if any students would be interested in a domestic Peace Corps program. Johnson describes attending the first organizational meeting of the Appalachian Volunteers at Alice Lloyd College. She then became the student coordinator of the first AV program at Berea. Johnson discusses recruiting Berea students and renovating schoolhouses as weekend projects.

Upon graduation, Johnson became a full-time AV and was assigned to a research project to determine the effectiveness of the first year of the program. She describes traveling to fourteen counties that were economically depressed in six months to interview families about their educational needs. Johnson explains that she then served as a Community Action Technician for the Council of the Southern Mountains. She explains that she was unprepared for the sexism that she experienced upon being hired, including the lower pay and sexual harassment. Within a few months, Johnson became the Community Action director in Powell County, a potentially violent area. Johnson describes working with the Head Start program, adult education, and housing and development issues. She remembers being followed frequently, locals holding target practice in her front yard, and being threatened with physical violence

Johnson describes the tremendous changes that she witnessed as an Appalachian Volunteer, especially when food stamps were introduced. She also discusses a split that she perceived between the early AVs and a later group. Johnson states that after the passage of the Green Amendment, it was difficult to get a job if your name was not on a preferential hiring list. Johnson was among those already on the payroll who were forced off. Johnson describes her life after leaving the Appalachian Volunteers. She explains that she moved to Iowa and became an AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) case worker and then director of the Iowa Child Protective Services program. She created the state family planning department and served as its first director. She now teaches human services at the Ankeny campus of the Des Moines Community College.

Interview Accession

1991oh189_app314

Interviewee Name

Roslea Johnson

Interviewer Name

Margaret Brown

Interview Date

1991-06-24

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Restriction

No Restrictions

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Add this interview to your cart in order to begin the process of requesting access to a copy of and/or permission to reproduce interview(s). 


Johnson, Roslea Interview by Margaret Brown. 24 Jun. 1991. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Johnson, R. (1991, June 24). Interview by M. Brown. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Johnson, Roslea, interview by Margaret Brown. June 24, 1991, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt76dj58fj9p