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In 1963, Harry Caudill of Whitesburg published “Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area,” which shone a spotlight on the plundering of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The book forever changed Appalachia. On the eve of the book’s 50th anniversary, the Lexington Herald-Leader launched a yearlong look at the region’s struggles since Night was published.
When President Lyndon B. Johnson came to Eastern Kentucky on April 24, 1964, to promote an ambitious attack on poverty, he made clear what he hoped the nation would accomplish.
"I have called for a national war on poverty," Johnson said after talking with an unemployed former coal miner about the struggle to provide for his family. "Our objective: total victory."