Launched by Governor Terry Sanford in 1963, the North Carolina Fund was a five year initiative to fight poverty statewide through the creation of eleven community action agencies and other community initiatives.

During the summers of 1964 and 1965, the North Carolina Volunteers Program created teams of African-American and white college students to work together and show that communities could be stronger if their members reached across lines of race and class to solve problems of poverty.

Also by example, the North Carolina Fund served as a model and catalyst for such national programs as Head Start, VISTA, and the Community Action movement.

The North Carolina Fund leadership had the foresight to insist upon thorough documentation of the Fund's work. Billy E.Barnes and the sixteen Public Information staff members produced five films, many radio pieces, and many other print materials in addition to the still photography featured here. An incredible collection of these materials is now archived at the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill's Wilson Library.

Barnes pushed Fund programs not only to "preach to the converted" but to reach into those middle-class homes where there was indifference toward those less fortunate. This documentation served as a wake-up call for community activism across the state and the nation.

To this day, Barnes describes these photographs as his friends.

E-mail your comments, questions, or reflections about this exhibit to the North Carolina Fund Exhibits Project.

To enter the exhibit, click on the buttons at the left or on the topics below...

early days | poverty | programs | protest

All photographs in this collection copyright Billy E. Barnes. All rights reserved.