West Virginia University Press is re-issuing a tale of the war on poverty in West Virginia titled “They’ll Cut Off Your Project: A Mingo County Chronicle.” Originally published in 1972, this timely new edition revives the story of author Huey Perry’s efforts to help the poor of his Appalachian community challenge a local regime.

As the Johnson Administration initiated its war on poverty in the 1960s, the Mingo County Economic Opportunity Commission project was established in southern West Virginia. Huey Perry, a young, local history teacher was named the director of this program and soon he began to promote self-sufficiency among low-income and vulnerable populations. As the poor of Mingo County worked together to improve conditions, the local political infrastructure felt threatened by a shift in power. Bloody Mingo County, known for its violent labor movements, corrupt government, and the infamous Hatfield-McCoy rivalry, met Perry’s revolution with opposition and resistance.

With a foreword by Jeff Biggers, this edition describes this community’s attempts to improve school programs and conditions, establish cooperative grocery stores to bypass inflated prices, and expose electoral fraud. Along the way, Perry unfolds the local authority’s hostile backlash to such change and the extreme measures that led to an eventual investigation by the FBI. They’ll Cut Off Your Project chronicles the triumphs and failures of the war on poverty, illustrating why and how a local government that purports to work for the public’s welfare cuts off a project for social reform.

Huey Perry, a native of Mingo County, W.Va., and the son of coal miner, was named director of the Mingo County Economic Opportunity Commission project at the age of 29. Later, he became the director of the Low-Income Housing Project for Tech Foundation of West Virginia Institute of Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Berea College, Ky., and a Master of Arts in political science from Marshall University and is an author, entrepreneur, teacher, student, volunteer, chairman, business owner, and farmer.

Jeff Biggers is the American Book award-winning author of “The United States of Appalachia,” and “Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland.”


“This is a wonderful account of the poverty wars of the 1960s as they unfolded in Mingo County, West Virginia. Read this book to learn about this moment of American history.”
Frances Fox Piven, author of “Poor People’s Movements: How They Succeed, Why They Fail”

“The book is a quirky, funny page-turner. I was hugely indebted to this book while writing my novel “The Unquiet Earth.”
Denise Giardina, author “Storming Heaven” and “The Unquiet Earth”

“They’ll Cut Off Your Project: A Mingo County Chronicle”
Huey Perry
Foreword by Jeff Biggers
March 2011 � 288pp
PB 978-1-933202-79-2: $24.95
HB 978-1-933202-80-8: $74.95

To learn more about this book or to purchase a copy, visit wvupress.com

For more information or to arrange publicity, contact Abby Freeland, Marketing Manager of WVU Press, at (304) 293-8400 ext. 33508 or abby.freeland@mail.wvu.edu. West Virginia University Press/139 Stansbury Hall/Morgantown, WV 26506 USA www.wvupress.com.


CONTACT: Abby Freeland, marketing manager of WVU Press
304-293-8400 ext. 33508, abby.freeland@mail.wvu.edu

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