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Power to the PoorBlack-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974$
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Gordon K. Mantler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780807838518

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469608068_Mantler

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The “Rediscovery” of Poverty

The “Rediscovery” of Poverty

(p.15) 1 The “Rediscovery” of Poverty
Power to the Poor

Gordon K. Mantler

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Michael Harrington, a one-time member of the Catholic Worker movement in New York City before converting to socialism in the 1950s. He became “the man who discovered poverty” in what is one of the most enduring creation myths in modern American history. A poignant piece of social criticism that became a bestseller and political and cultural touchstone, The Other America was read by some of the most powerful people in the nation, even President John F. Kennedy, the story goes. Believing that poverty indeed could be eliminated, federal officials and liberal economists then set forth with what would become the War on Poverty, conceived under Kennedy's administration in 1963 and pursued, although never fully, by President Lyndon Johnson.

Keywords:   Michael Harrington, Catholic Worker movement, socialism, creation myths, President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson

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