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Poverty: An Anthropologist’s View – 1961

This means that we must give money in amounts generous enough to be really constructive, to people who have done nothing to earn or deserve it. This brings us back to the barrier of the relative values prevailing in our society. The necessary generosity will be forthcoming only when our society really accepts the premise that people are deserving simply because they are people; that is, because they are fellow human beings.

To be realistic, this acceptance will not develop magically or through appeals to conscience. Power rests in the middle class. And we in the middle class are notoriously anxious and defensive in the presence of people whose way of life is more primitive and violent than our own. We are threatened, and hence our response is rejection, not acceptance.

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The First Step Toward Fitness

When America began to recover from the Great Depression, it began to take stock of its human resources. We found that a large minority of our population did not get enough to eat. These people who did not get enough to at were below par in health. They were below par in initiative and alertness.

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Stewart, Maria Miller

Maria W. Stewart (1803-1880) was one of the first American women to leave copies of her speeches. The address below is her second public lecture. It was given on September 21, 1832 in Franklin Hall in Boston, the meeting site of the new England Anti-Slavery Society. Although as an abolitionist, she usually attacked slavery, in this address she condemns the attitude that denied black women education and prohibited their occupational advancement. In fact she argues that Northern African American women, in term of treatment, were only slightly better off than slaves.

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Poverty     Articles concerning the issue of poverty and changing concepts about its root causes: notions of the “worthy” or “unworthy” poor; the idea of an “underclass” or “culture of poverty;” discussions of the role of the wealthy and powerful in perpetuating poverty; issues of individual responsibility and systemic disempowerment of low-income people.   …

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Hamilton-Madison House: Reaching the Hard Core of Poverty

This entry was copied from the original document. It is both a history of settlement work on the Lower East Side of New York City and an excellent example of community organization in a racially diverse neighborhood. This proposal was written in the first year that Community Action grants were being awarded as part of the War on Poverty.

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The Plan to End Poverty in California (EPIC)

The nomination of an avowed socialist to head the Democratic party ticket was more than the California establishment could tolerate. Sinclair’s radical candidacy was opposed by just about every establishment force in California. The media virtually demonized Sinclair through a concerted propaganda campaign based largely on smears and falsehoods. Sinclair’s candidacy also set off a bitter political battle both within the Democratic party and with many groups who were opposed to various aspects of the EPIC plan. Sinclair was denounced as a “Red” and “crackpot” and the Democratic establishment sought to derail his candidacy. Despite all of this, Upton Sinclair was very nearly elected Governor of California in 1934.

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Warner, Amos Griswold

Amos Warner’s greatest contribution to the professionalization of social work was a system for the statistical analysis of cases. The majority view at his time was that heredity was the cause of personal inadequacy. He was a pioneer in his views that poverty and personal misfortune were not the result of a single cause, but a plethora of causes, many of which could be outside the control of the individual. He set about developing a series of categories to be used in conjunction with a weighted score that allowed for the prioritization of family problems. Additionally, he developed a listing of the possible causes of poverty, categorizing them as subjective (within the individual) or objective (attributed to environmental causes such as industrial or economic conditions).

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Women, Settlements and Poverty

Written by Jerry D. Marx, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire, Department of Social Work. This article uses primary source documents from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s to discuss women’s roles in the reconceptualization of poverty in America. It studies the belief drawn from colonial religion that poverty was a result of personal immorality and traces the changing public perception through the turn of the 20th century.

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Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was a cornerstone of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” (McLaughlin, 1975). This law brought education into the forefront of the national assault on poverty and represented a landmark commitment to equal access to quality education.

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