By Michael Woodsworth
Part a century after the release of the warfare on Poverty, its complicated origins stay imprecise. conflict for Bed-Stuy reinterprets President Lyndon Johnson’s much-debated campaign from the point of view of its foot squaddies in long island urban, exhibiting how Nineteen Sixties antipoverty courses have been rooted in a wealthy neighborhood culture of grassroots activism and coverage experiments.
Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Brooklyn local housing 400,000 quite often black, quite often negative citizens, used to be usually classified “America’s greatest ghetto.” yet in its based brownstones lived a coterie of home-owning pros who campaigned to stem disease and unify the group. performing as agents among politicians and the road, Bed-Stuy’s black heart type labored with urban officers within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties to craft cutting edge responses to early life crime, actual decay, and capital flight. those partnerships laid the foundation for the federal neighborhood motion software, the debatable centerpiece of the conflict on Poverty. Later, Bed-Stuy activists teamed with Senator Robert Kennedy to create America’s first neighborhood improvement company, which pursued housing renewal and company investment.
Bed-Stuy’s antipoverty projects introduced desire amid darkish days, strengthened the social safeguard web, and democratized city politics through fostering citizen participation in govt. in addition they empowered girls like Elsie Richardson and Shirley Chisholm, who translated their adventure as group organizers into management positions. but, as Michael Woodsworth finds, those new types of black political strength, even though exercised within the identify of bad humans, frequently did extra to profit middle-class householders. Bed-Stuy this present day, formed through gentrification and displacement, displays the paradoxical legacies of midcentury reform.
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Additional info for Battle for Bed-Stuy: The Long War on Poverty in New York City
41 New Yorkers were hardly alone in experiencing such wrenching change; slum clearance left deep wounds nationwide. ” To compound the problem, most cities never erected anything approaching an adequate supply of new housing to accommodate the people displaced. New York, ever the exception, 35 Battle for Bed-Stuy erected a network of low- and middle-income housing projects on a scale unmatched anywhere in North America for both quantity and quality. Yet even that failed to alleviate the city’s tight postwar housing market.
Philip Randolph in 1961. A supporter of the black freedom struggle since the 1930s, Wagner took office promising to fight inequality by building more public housing, opening new schools while desegregating existing ones, and promoting job opportunities for blacks and Puerto Ricans. “The depressed and segregated areas of our city are an affront to our principles of equality in a democracy,” the new mayor declared in March 1954. Two months later, Wagner celebrated the Supreme Court’s Brown v. ” 44 In subsequent years, Wagner worked with the City Council to put New York at the forefront of the national struggle to upend legalized racism.
During his mayoralty, New York City embraced the hallmarks of New Deal liberalism: unions, public works, urban renewal. But Wagner also sought to align himself with a new mode of lib32 A Suitcase Full of Knives eral politics, especially after 1960. A supporter of civil rights and of citizen participation in government, he oversaw new partnerships linking city agencies to neighborhood groups. Though New York’s robust version of the New Deal had won the approval of the city’s African Americans, the Democratic Party had nonetheless failed to incorporate the views, concerns, and aspirations of black voters into a durable governing apparatus.
Battle for Bed-Stuy: The Long War on Poverty in New York City by Michael Woodsworth