By Michael Woodsworth
Part a century after the release of the conflict on Poverty, its advanced origins stay vague. conflict for Bed-Stuy reinterprets President Lyndon Johnson’s much-debated campaign from the point of view of its foot infantrymen in big apple urban, exhibiting how 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 more often than not black, commonly terrible citizens, used to be usually classified “America’s biggest ghetto.” yet in its based brownstones lived a coterie of home-owning pros who campaigned to stem illness and unify the neighborhood. performing as agents among politicians and the road, Bed-Stuy’s black center category labored with urban officers within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties to craft leading edge responses to early life crime, actual decay, and capital flight. those partnerships laid the basis for the federal group motion application, the arguable centerpiece of the struggle 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, bolstered the social defense internet, and democratized city politics through fostering citizen participation in govt. additionally they empowered girls like Elsie Richardson and Shirley Chisholm, who translated their adventure as group organizers into management positions. but, as Michael Woodsworth unearths, those new sorts of black political energy, although exercised within the identify of bad humans, frequently did extra to learn middle-class householders. Bed-Stuy this day, formed by way of 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.
Not coincidentally, BCSP itself ceased to exist in 1957, when it lost the support of its parent organization, the Greater New York Fund. )56 To some extent, the council was a victim of its own success in dramatizing urban problems and demonstrating new approaches to solving them. The city government’s expansion of social-welfare programs, along with the Youth Board’s sponsorship of community action and antigang programs, represented a transitional moment in which the post–New Deal state was forging new relationships not only with grassroots groups but also with the voluntary sector.
J. 33 The hysteria reached fever pitch in 1955. That year, a Senate subcommittee on delinquency demanded that publishers of comic books stop portraying “depraved acts” that might inspire teen violence. In Albany, a group of state assemblymen from Brooklyn pushed through legislation banning zip guns. Also in 1955, the New York City Council voted to ban realistic-looking toy handguns, while a Brooklyn grand jury recommended that all teens be required to carry identification cards. Finally, it was in 1955 that Blackboard Jungle, a tale of New York City juvenile delinquents, hit theaters; meanwhile, Steven Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Laurents began collaborating on West Side Story.
Battle for Bed-Stuy: The Long War on Poverty in New York City by Michael Woodsworth