A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare

By Stephen Pimpare

During this compulsively readable social heritage, political scientist Stephen Pimpare vividly describes poverty from the viewpoint of negative and welfare-reliant americans from the large urban to the agricultural nation-state. He specializes in how the terrible have created group, secured protect, and located foodstuff and illuminates their battles for dignity and respect.

Through prodigious archival examine and lucid research, Pimpare info the ways that charity and reduction for the negative were inseparable, typically, from the scorn and disapproval of these who might aid them. within the wealthy and sometimes fabulous ancient tales he has amassed from the terrible in the US, Pimpare overturns any basic conclusions approximately how the negative see themselves or what it sounds like to be poor—and he exhibits sincerely that the bad are all too frequently acutely aware that charity comes with a value. it's that cost that Pimpare eloquently questions during this e-book, reminding us via strong anecdotes, a few heart-wrenching and a few unusually funny, that poverty isn't easily an ethical failure.

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Extra info for A People's History of Poverty in America

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Physicians often hear these words, “I can’t breathe,” in interviews with homeless patients. I hear this statement again and again. Sometimes it is literally the case. qxp 7/14/08 11:57 AM Page 43 SLEEP: A PLACE TO CALL HOME 43 I’m not homeless. I’m familyless. —Abigail, 1993 They have slept under bridges, in parks or abandoned buildings, underground in subway tunnels, on the streets, or in poorhouses, workhouses, welfare hotels, orphanages, and shelters. Some have taken to the road, moving from town to town in search of work.

Neighbors have always helped one another. The community has always been that way. There was a solidarity. 65 Jack Kirkland, author of the stage version of the then-scandalous novel of Southern poverty, Tobacco Road, said this to oral historian Studs Terkel: It was a more generous time then. There wasn’t this miasmic fear of unnamed things out there. Then it was specific: hunger. qxp 7/14/08 11:57 AM Page 33 SURVIVE: MY BROTHER’S KEEPER 33 to overcome. We were all in such a mess. 66 By February of 1930, there were more than eighty New York breadlines that served over 82,000 meals daily.

Poverty, illness, injustice, idleness, ignorance, human misery, and crime go together. That is the truth. We have known it all along. We cultivate crime, breed it, nourish it. Little wonder we have so much. 35 Clark offers a much-needed corrective: instead of placing blame for the ghetto upon the character of its residents, we might better blame those with the political and economic power to do something about it. Despite our association of poor neighborhoods with danger, vice, and failure (or perhaps because of it), we have had a peculiar fascination with them.

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