Newcomers: Migration and Poverty Work in Chicago, 1956 to 1964
Just before the War on Poverty, social organizations and the City of Chicago attempted an ambitious program to address the challenges experienced by low-income “newcomers” to the city. Social workers and bureaucrats enlisted the latest in theoretical approaches to poverty, which included the notion that migrant success rested on cultural “adjustment.” This poverty policy both recognized and deemphasized race, with officials prioritizing the rural background of Chicago’s African American, Mexican, Puerto Rican, American Indian, and white southern and Appalachian migrants. This chapter focuses on the Uptown community, where middle-class and elite boosters attempted to enlist the city’s newcomer program in ongoing efforts to spur development in the neighborhood, via an idealized cultural diversity.
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