Interview with Nancy Jefferson
QUESTION 18
JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you could talk again about the "War on Poverty," and, and what you expected when you heard, um Lyndon Johnson first announce that and how it got co-opted by Daley.

NANCY JEFFERSON:

Well, when Lyndon Johnson first announced the "War on Poverty--"



JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you could talk about how you felt when Lyndon Johnson announced the "War on Poverty," and the expectation that you had, and then how Daley took that over.

NANCY JEFFERSON:

Um, When Lyndon Johnson announced the "War on Poverty" it meant an awful lot to us as a hope that we had because, first because Lyndon Johnson was a southerner and the remarks that he made that he understood where Black folks were all his life and that just gave everybody a great sensation a great hope. Ah, but we also, noticed very quickly is to how that Richard J. Daley was a very smart politician, and how he took that "War on Poverty" to promote his machine politics, was he cleverly done that by putting the right people in charge, the right Black people in charge of those programs, and put in the, ah,ordinary people on the street as community workers, people you knew, your next door neighbor, people that lived in your house--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, cut, we've got a roll out here. OK.


JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you can talk about how you felt when Lyndon Johnson announced the "War on Poverty" and how you felt when Richard Daley took it over.

NANCY JEFFERSON:

Well when Lyndon Johnson announced the "War on Poverty" there was a lot of hope in all of us, me and all of us that was out here as leaders. That we understood Lyndon Johnson felt he understood what he was doing because he was a southerner. He talked about that he had always watched how Black people were treated in the south and that he wanted to change those conditions. And that he was setting down programs that would help to, to alleviate the pain that we all was suffering for so many years. We also's watched Richard J. Daley use his announcement and his "War on Poverty" as a program to promote his machine politics. He very cleverly did that. By making sure that he, ah,handpicked certain people so that they could promote machine politics. Ah, it looked like you know--it looked like the truth but it was not really the truth, what he was doing. He was clever in his promotion of the machine politics to maintain and contain the Black people in Chicago, under the disguise that it was the "War on Poverty." It wasn't Johnson's fault, it was how that Richard J. Daley could use that program, and he did that very clever--cleverly.