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Appalachia's War

Sunday, November 26, 2000

By Diana Nelson Jones, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Photos by Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette Staff Photographer

Appalachia, a rugged swath of America hugging the mountains from Georgia to New York, has for generations been the symbol of aching poverty in a land of wealth and opportunity.

On April 24, 1964, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson visited Inez, Ky., and the property of Tommy Fletcher, a father of eight whose living conditions epitomized the squalor that characterized Appalachia for decades. On Fletcher's porch, Johnson declared the War on Poverty. (AP Photo)

But 35 years after President Johnson launched the War on Poverty from a simple porch in Appalachia, the region that claims part of Western Pennsylvania is climbing out of desperation.

Bordering cities of unprecedented growth and dot-com millionaires, Appalachia is finally outgrowing its image of shacks and bare feet.

On good roads, past Wal-Marts and in cozy bungalows, staff writer Diana Nelson Jones and photographer Steve Mellon visited the new Appalachia and uncovered a story of re-birth.

Here is the three-part series of articles and photos that describe what they found:

The poorest of the poor struggle back

A tale of two successes

Looking for life after coal

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