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A Comparative study of national and local anti-poverty campaigns in the urban centers of America during the 1960’s

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Jane S.
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  1. Introduction
  2. The effects of population growth and industrialization
  3. Johnson's plea for social action
  4. A substantial component of urban reform
  5. Problems regarding insufficient housing
  6. President Johnson's feelings about ties between Civil Rights and the War on Poverty
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

In his 1964 inaugural speech, President Lyndon Johnson first discussed his initiative to wage a ?War on Poverty.? Throughout his administration, his domestic policy was centered on his commitment to the creation of a ?Great Society,? which he believed was attainable only through combating poverty and providing civil rights to disenfranchised black Americans. In a speech given at the University of Michigan in May of 1964, Johnson called upon all individuals to dedicate themselves to the eradication of poverty and injustice. He spoke broadly about the goals of the national government: by increasing federal spending for social welfare programs and by promoting opportunity through community action, Americans could begin to better society one city at a time.
At the same time, PAGE, Inc. (Progress and Action by Citizens Efforts), a private, nonprofit organization in St. Louis, was unveiling plans for community action and urban development in East St. Louis, perhaps the poorest and most dilapidated neighborhood located just east of the Mississippi River. Other such initiatives included the Community Renewal Program, a federally funded program that worked locally to research factors contributing to poverty in urban centers in America and sought to enact a set of criteria for effective means of improving city life. They too cited East St. Louis as an example of a city in need of community action and financial support. This paper offers a comparison of local efforts in East St. Louis with the wider aims of Johnson's War on Poverty at the federal level to provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of poverty reform in the 1960's and to examine the ways in which Americans sought the creation of a truly great society.

[...] Thus, engrained in all efforts of urban renewal was an attempt to merge the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights movement into a singular effort to improve the quality of life for black Americans. Lastly, educational reform often coincided with Johnson's War on Poverty and local attempts at urban renewal. Not only did reformers see education as an equalizer in society, but they also viewed education as a breeding ground for the molding of self sufficient young adults. Katz suggested that community action was most effective when administered by the people instead of for the people. [...]


[...] Schwartz and Van Hoefen Architects. PACE Plan for East St. Louis, Illinois.? Five Section News Release Issued at the Illinois Club, Thursday, December Remarks at the University of Michigan, May (as excerpted), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-64, Vol (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1964) Ibid Katz, Michael B. In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America 10th ed. (New York: Basic Books, 1996) 267. Ibid O'Connor, Alice. [...]

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