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Fulmont Community Action Agency, Inc.
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Serving Fulton and Montgomery Counties since 1965

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After the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, President Johnson expanded the policy ideas initiated in the Kennedy Administration.  In his message to Congress on Jan.8, 1964, President Johnson said:

Let us carry forward the plans and programs of John Kennedy, not because of our sorrow or sympathy, but because they are right...This Administration today, here and now declares an unconditional War on Poverty in America....Our joint Federal-local effort must pursue poverty, pursue it wherever it exists. In city slums, in small towns, in sharecroppers' shacks, or in migrant worker camps, on Indian reservations, among whites as well as Negroes, among the young as well as the aged, in the boom towns and in the depressed areas.

The "War on Poverty" was born. In Feb., Sargent Shriver was asked to head a task force to draft legislation.  In August, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) was passed, creating a federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OSEO) placed in the President's Executive Office.  "Sarge" Shriver was named Director, serving until 1969.

Congress also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, guaranteeing equal opportunity for all.   The Economic Opportunity Act, designed to implement that guarantee in the economic sector, stated in part: "It is therefore the policy of the U.S. to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation by opening, to everyone, the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity."

The EOA included new education, employment and training, and work-experience programs such as the Job Corps, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA, the "domestic Peace Corps").  Congress bypassed the state and local governments and provided for direct funding of community groups: the community action concept.

See our other sections...
Formative Years: 1964 - 1967
Restructuring Phase: 1967 - 1968
Transition Years: 1969 - 1974
Program Management Years 1974 - 1981
Block Grant years: 1981 - Present

This paper originally was published by NACAA for the
25th Anniversary of Community Action in 1989.  It was written by Jim Masters.