Even before the center was established, Geiger hired John Hatch to help lay the groundwork with the local community. Hatch went to Bolivar County to seek input from women, young people, and impoverished residents on their health care needs, in addition to solicitating the support of black community leaders: clergy, teachers,, middle-class professionals, and others who traditionally spoke for the black community. In addition to providing health care, the center became both an economic and educational boon for the poor of the area, as jobs were created and training programs were established for the people of north Bolivar County. Eventually, ten local health associations were established throughout the county, run by the poor themselves, which developed community centers, day-care facilities, and often served as hives of political activity for a black community energized by the civil rights movement.
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