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To Right These WrongsThe North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America$
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Robert R. Korstad and James L. Leloudis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833797

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895740_korstad

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An Army of the Poor

An Army of the Poor

Chapter:
(p.165) 4 An Army of the Poor
Source:
To Right These Wrongs
Author(s):

Robert R. Korstad

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807895740_korstad.8

This chapter describes how community organizing was also very much on the minds of policymakers in Washington by 1965. The Economic Opportunity Act, which Lyndon Johnson signed into law on August 20, 1964, included in Title II a requirement that federally supported community action programs (CAPs) provide for the “maximum feasible participation of the residents of the areas and the members of the groups” that they sought to serve. That mandate echoed guidelines that the North Carolina Fund had spelled out a year earlier in its call for CAP proposals from local communities. Initially, such requirements seemed to pose no obvious threat to established power. They simply asked middle-class Americans to consider the concerns and outlook of their less fortunate neighbors. As federal officials, local activists, and the poor themselves sought to give meaning to “participation” and “understanding,” they moved the antipoverty battle onto terrain that was more openly political.

Keywords:   community organizing, policymakers, Washington, Economic Opportunity Act, Lyndon Johnson

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