By Todd DePastino
Within the years following the Civil conflict, a veritable military of homeless males swept throughout America's "wageworkers' frontier" and cast a beguiling and bedeviling counterculture often called "hobohemia." Celebrating unfettered masculinity and jealously guarding the yank highway because the guard of white manhood, hoboes took command of downtown districts and swaggered onto middle level of the recent city tradition. much less evidently, probably, additionally they staked their very own claims at the American polity, claims that may in truth remodel the very entitlements of yank citizenship.In this eye-opening paintings of yank heritage, Todd DePastino tells the epic tale of hobohemia's upward push and fall, and crafts a beautiful new interpretation of the "American century" within the technique. Drawing on assets starting from diaries, letters, and police experiences to videos and memoirs, Citizen Hobo breathes existence into the mostly forgotten international of the line, however it additionally, crucially, indicates how the hobo military so haunted the yank physique politic that it brought on the production of a wholly new social order and political economic system. DePastino exhibits how hoboes—with their popularity as hazards to civilization, sexual savages, idlers—became a cultural and political strength, influencing the construction of welfare nation measures, the merchandising of mass intake, and the suburbanization of the US. Citizen Hobo's sweeping retelling of yankee nationhood in gentle of tolerating struggles over "home" does greater than chart the swap from "homelessness" to "houselessness." In its breadth and scope, the publication deals not anything under a vital new context for wondering american citizens' struggles opposed to inequality and alienation.
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Additional resources for Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America
Twenty years before urban lodging-house districts provided institutional frameworks for disseminating such information, Jacob Riis and other transient men of the s gathered reports from the job front in the streets, parks, and saloons surrounding cheap boardinghouses. Whether into or out of metropolises, short migrations, such as Riis’s trip from New Brunswick to New York City, were more common than longer ones, especially among “casual” workers who circulated around fixed and familiar territories.
Of course, Riis also sold his labor. By the time he launched his career as a Bowery beat reporter, Riis had worked as a carpenter, coal miner, farmhand, railroad tracklayer, dockworker, steamship sailor, sawmill hand, factory operative, drummer, peddler, brick maker, telegrapher, and house servant. Not one of his jobs lasted for more than six weeks; most lasted for only a few days. ”1 Whether from the love of change or the pinch of hunger, Jacob Riis had joined a growing body of young male workers who, in the years following the Civil War, traveled far and often in search of wage labor.
Under these circumstances shelter was anything but permanent, and being caught, like Riis, without lodging or the means to pay for it became a routine hazard of working-class life. Just how far and in what direction jobless migrants traveled once on the road depended largely upon their point of origin and the skill level they expected from their jobs. Most migration involved cities, either as departure points or destinations. 27 Rather than pursue random itineraries, then, jobless migrants everywhere traveled predictable routes to urban centers, expecting with reason that cities would oﬀer good chances for employment.
Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America by Todd DePastino