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Poverty During The 60-80s Essay, Research Paper

Many social changes that were addressed in the 1960s are still the issues being confronted today. The ’60s were a decade of social and political upheaval. In spite of all the turmoil, there were some positive results: the civil rights revolution, John F. Kennedy’s bold vision of a new frontier, and the breathtaking advances in space, helped bring about progress and prosperity. However, much was negative: student and anti war-protest movements, political assassinations, and ghetto riots excited American people and resulted in lack of respect for authority and the law. The decade ended under the shadow of the Vietnam war, which deeply divided Americans and their allies and damaged the countries self confidence of purpose. Even if people weren’t alive during the ’60s, the terms “tune in, turn on, drop out” meant something significant. All of the social issues are reflected in society: the civil rights movement, the student movement, space exploration, the environment, and the sexual revolution.

The momentum of the previous decade’s civil rights gained recognition, by Dr. King and carried over into the ’60s. For most blacks they were still barred form jobs and public places. This push along with television nationwide, the average, neutral American became civil rights supporters. About this same time, the term “black power” was coming into use. It meant racial pride for blacks. From the black power movement came the student movement that influenced the decade as no group had before. The motto of the time was “don’t trust anyone over 30″. Tell it like it is, conveyed a real mistrust of what they considered adult deviousness. This movement allowed young adults to be heard. A new voice was heard. Students wanted to address the national problems of war race, and poverty. As a result, the universities lost its neutrality. Students created a new U.S institution: the political university. Along with movement the U.S. gave birth to the young that experimented with music, clothes, drugs, and a “counter-culture” lifestyle. In ‘67, hippies preached altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy, and nonviolence. They were associated with beads, blossoms, and bells, strobe lights, ear shattering music, and erotic slogans. The wanted to profess “flower power” and love. The cities in an attempt to build a society outside the norm, the use of illicit drugs played a major role.

With social change taking place at every turn, lets focus on the problem of poverty in that time. As political as racism is poverty began to be seen in all walks of life, especially in the inner city, and amongst black women. The resurgence of poverty, became a focal point, with the questions of how and why. The caused were always speculated, but race and gender became the answer. While looking at the problem of poverty, race and class were also addressed. According to statisticians, minorities such as African Americans, and Hispanics, were likely than others to land in a state of chronic poverty and welfare. Minorities’ abuse of the welfare system and dependency has come to be known as the underclass.

Since the early nineteen sixties, the makeup of households started to change. With free love and drugs in urban communities, pregnancy became apparent. As pregnancy became more apparent so did the makeup of households. Single parent households in urban cities, such as Washington DC. and Bronx county NY, single mothers were the majority of families. Single parents have become more prevalent in every state, increasing in cities, suburbs, rural areas, and among all racial groups. Most of the United States is full of fatherless children. The majority of the neighborhoods in urban areas are 48 percent of families without fathers to actively participate. Black children make-up the majority of all kids in fatherless neighborhoods. In fact, more than tree-fourths (77 percent) of all children in the 873 neighborhoods in neighborhoods are black, while just 13 percent are white. Most of Americas 4.5 million children living in fatherless neighborhoods were living in poverty. This factor allows many to see how life in a black single parent household tends to leave children left out. Studies show that the change in the size and composition of poverty and underclass neighborhoods are growing for minorities. Oscar Lewis introduced the idea of “cultural poverty” which states that poor people pass on poverty as a legacy. The years began to change but attitudes didn’t. Detrimental effects to families marked the seventies as well as the eighties. The once family oriented society has turned into a divorced crazed class of people that left responsibility to the woman. This attitude made things easier for men to walk away from responsibilities, which in turn added women and children to the welfare system. This system pushes men away, which keeps people in poverty.

Poverty in urban cities has been perpetuated by the abuses that people for some reason or another allow. Women allow men to make children and not burden the responsibility. Men push women to the system because of lack of jobs and making more children. The era of Reaganomics also played a major role in poverty in America. With cuts in almost all-social programs the people that were effected were the ones who had to use the assistance.


1 Feiner, Susan F., Race and Gender in the American Economy, Englewood Cliffs; NJ,(Prentice Hall 1994).

2. Kelter, Jon.,Rural Planning and Development in the United States, (Random House,1987).

3.Huang, Charles, Urban Ecology: The Underclass in New York, August 93.

4 O’Hare, William., American Demographics: Life Without Fathers, July 95.

5 Burtless, Grady., The Brookings Review: Worsening American Inequality is world trade.

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