Evolution of Human Development and Anti-poverty Strategy

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Evolution of Human Development and Anti-poverty Strategy

The Cosmology of the 1960’s Antipoverty Initiatives in 27 Facts and Events

By Jim Masters (February, 2004)
1. Pioneers & immigrants. Reliant on family, neighbors, church. A few “poor houses.”
2. 1786. Richard Allen and Absolom Jones lead first mass protests by Blacks. http://www.wfn.org/1998/08/msg00061.html And, in protest of discrimination in religious congregations, they form the AME church in 1816.
2. Hull House, 1850’s. Need more than just family, friends. Need an organized, community-based effort…a settlement house to help immigrants “settle in” to American society. http://www.hullhouse.org/
3. 1857. Dred Scott decision crystallizes public opinion and moves the country toward

civil war. http://www.nps.gov/jeff/ocv-dscottd.htm

4. 1862. Emancipation Proclamation. The 200-year abolitionist effort succeeds!


Also the 1862 Homestead Act. Civil Rights Act of 1866. 1870’s, reconstruction, asylum movement, prison movement, orphanages.

5. 1890’s. The Survey Movement (Hull House in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh)

http://www.cas.usf.edu/philosophy/turner/html/chapters.html (See citation # 68)
6. 1896. Professor W.E.B. Du Bois. 4 causes of poverty and other social problems.

1. Demographic shifts, high mobility.

2. Rapid changes in economy, industrialization.

3. Slavery.

4. Racism.
Also, Plessy vs. Ferguson finds that “separate is equal.”

7. 1909. NAACP formed by Du Bois, others. http://search.eb.com/blackhistory/micro/423/99.html

8. 1912. First state-funded program to aid widows and orphans created in Illinois because of education and lobbying by the staff and board from Hull House.
9. 1918. Women can vote. After 58 years, the National Women’s Suffrage Association succeeds in getting women the right to vote.


10. 1913-20. Social Work training programs developed. “High school movement.”

11. 1928. John Dewey, theories of progressive education. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-dewey.htm
12. 1930’s. With the Depression, social values and public attitudes about the desired role of Federal Government change FROM “the government should not interfere with the free market” TO a demand for regulation of the economy.

The Federal role expands in managing the economy (banking laws, SEC created,

unions protected, minimum wage).

Economist John Maynard Keynes provides the rationale for govt expenditures,

WPA, PWA, CCC, etc. National Youth Administration -- LBJ

Americans get social insurance (Social Security, unemployment).

Lawyers for migrant workers? Naaah.

Race recedes as a public policy issue -- even white people are in poverty!

Economist Joseph Shumpeter explains the “creative engine of destruction”

of the capitalist system.

Mechanization of agriculture forces millions off of the farms. Drought in Midwest forces people westward. Dept of Agriculture rural anti-poverty initiative is “The Resettlement Administration (RA). The Director is Rexford G. Tugwell, Professor for Economics at Columbia University and close adviser to the President. Their program: granting low-cost loans and assistance for poor farmers and sharecroppers; erection of regional model settlements for the resettlement of migrant farmers and farm workers; construction of camps of migrant farm workers; recultivation of eroded land; controls for river pollution and flood protection measures.” Becomes the Farm Security Administration, an activist, interventionist staff of 17,000 Federal employees, many of whom go out and help organize communities. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG97/fsa/fsabio.html
13. 1936. Social Security created. Aid to Dependant Children (ADC) passes as section of Social Security Act. No real dissent; based on programs in IL and 16 other states. It is “for deserving women….” However, unlike social security which will be managed as one system nationwide, ADC will be managed at state and local level in accordance with local customs and mores. Almost all ADC employees and recipients are white.
14. Also in the 1930’s:

a. Social work finishes splitting into two separate fields, with sociology focusing more on theory and research and social work focusing on practice.

b. University of Chicago Sociologists fasten on first two of Du Bois’ causes as reasons for youth delinquency. To counter the shortcomings in the opportunity structure for youth, they devise a “program of community action.” All segments of the community come together to create new ladders of opportunity for youth.

c. Sociology graduate student Saul Alinsky, working in the program of community action, says this approach does not deal sufficiently with power relationships. He says poor people should form alliances with churches and unions and go to City Hall and get your fair share. The Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) was organized in 1940 by Bishop Bernard Shiel of the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese, retailer Marshall Field, Kathryn Lewis (daughter of labor leader John L. Lewis) and Saul Alinsky. Tom Tressor maintains a website with info on the IAF: http://www.tresser.com/IAF.htm

15. 1944. Swedish sociologist Gunner Myrdal publishes An America Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, and with this 1,500 page book he re-introduces race as a subject of study by white academics and re-invigorates the public policy debate.
16. 1946. The Full Employment Act of 1946 is passed, the first of many Federal laws committing the nation to creating full employment. (G.I. Bill, freeways, mortgages) http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/86/11/Employment_Nov1986.pdf
17. 1948. President Truman desegregates the military.

18. 1954. Brown vs. Board of Education. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund succeeds in their 30-year effort to get this issued aired at the Supreme Court -- and wins. It overturns Plessy v. Ferguson. http://www.nationalcenter.org/brown.html

Sooooo….if segregation is wrong in education, what about in transportation, housing, employment, etc?

19. 1950’s. The postwar economy is booming. A high-school diploma guarantees you a job, and a job at the minimum wage lifts most people out of poverty.
20. 1958. President Eisenhower sends troops to Little Rock, AR to enforce school desegregation. America sees segregation “up close” on television -- and does not like what it sees. America watches the civil rights movement on television and public opinion shifts in support. The economy is booming; public opinion says “There is enough for everybody.”
21. 1950’s. The Ford Foundation is funding “gray areas” projects taking the approaches developed in Chicago to New Haven, CT, and to Mobilization for Youth (NYC) as juvenile delinquency prevention strategies.
22. 1960. JFK elected. Sargent Shriver, his brother-in-law, managed the “civil rights desk” during the campaign. Bobby Kennedy is appointed Attorney General. Creates the President’s Council on Juvenile Delinquency (PCJD -- remember that acroynm:) Shriver becomes Director of the Peace Corps.

ADC changed to AFDC and then AFDC-U.

Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 passes.
23. 1962. Whether impressed by the poverty he saw in Appalacia while campaigning, or Homer Bigart’s articles in the NY Times on poverty, or by Michael Harrington’s book “The Other America”, Kennedy asks Walter Heller at the Council of Economic Advisors to begin developing strategies to improve the economy and reduce poverty.
24. 1964. Jan 20th State of the Union Speech, LBJ declares a War on Poverty.


The “task force” is created. Much of the staff work is provided by the PCJD. Three camps form.

(i) CEA, reduce inflation and lift whole economy.

(ii) Willard Wirtz, job training through DOL.

(iii) LBJ/Task Force, let’s also do some new things.
The Task Force begins to accumulate ideas and strategies. Some of them were:
A. To recreate some 1930’s ideas:

NYA = Neighborhood Youth Corps; Job Corps to train youth.

FSA = create another activist role by Federal employees

B. To correct problems in the 1930’s programs:

Go around state and local govt and fund social movements directly

Maximum feasible participation

In obtaining benefits of programs; in obtaining entitlements.

Active role in setting local policy, on boards, etc

Getting jobs in the program.

In obtaining publicly-funded services.

Reduce discrimination in hiring and in union apprentice programs.

Open the closed shop.

Provide Legal Services

C. New Intitiatives:

Domestic Peace Corps = VISTA volunteers

Improve school readiness through a Head Start program.

Participation in civic life, voting. School decentralization.

Coordination mechanism needed = OEO at Federal level, CAA at local level.

Checkpoint form requires every local program to get CAA signature to be funded by their own agency. In 1968, R.I.P.

A Community Action Program, modeled on New Haven. PCJD staff said

“Let’s do this in 50 cities and then evaluate.” LBJ said -- this is our chance, go nationwide now.

How long will it take to end poverty? LBJ = 9 months. Shriver = 3 years.
25. August 20, 1964. Economic Opportunity Act signed into law.


26. July 2, 1964. Congress approves the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


27. Voting Rights Act of 1965. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/intro/intro_b.htm

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