No Cease Fires: The War on Poverty in Roanoke Valley

No Cease Fires: The War on Poverty in Roanoke Valley

No Cease Fires: The War on Poverty in Roanoke Valley

No Cease Fires: The War on Poverty in Roanoke Valley

Excerpt

I hate to say this, but it's been a beautiful life so far.

Bristow Hardin to Mike Ives, August 20, 1973

THE OLD FLOUR MILL looming over Shenandoah Avenue had its face lifted years ago, and the sign now proclaims it to be the headquarters of an organization called TAP--Total Action Against Poverty in the Roanoke Valley. Inside, an attractive secretary keeps watch over a modern reception room. A telephone console buzzes on the spacious desk; and designer colors brighten the nearby stairway.

But the eye of the visitor is drawn to the portrait on the wall, the shock of reddish hair and the slightly florid face. The eyes are intent, and the mouth is set as if it were about to roar, as it had roared so often, "No shoddy performances." And the visitor realizes that in order to know TAP, one must know Bristow Hardin.

His personality dominated the organization during the ten years he commanded it, and his presence still reverberates through the corridors of this building, which now bears his name. Had Bristow lived, TAP may never have known whether it was winning the war against poverty because community action was the best way to fight such a war or because, as someone said, "we had this character down here."

More than any other single event, the death of Bristow forced TAP to examine where it had been and where it . . .

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