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State Board of Charities of New York: Reports 1878-1884

n the early years of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, representatives of the states in attendance were invited to share reports on their experiences, problem areas and achievement in connection with the charities and institutions in their respective states. Below are reports from the New York representative at the conferences held from 1978 to 1884. Continue Reading »

Duty Of The States Toward Their Insane Poor: 1874

Presentation by Dr. J. B. Chapin of the Willard Asylum for the insane on “The Duty of the States toward their Insane Poor.”Continue Reading »

Brief History of Government Charity in New York (1603 – 1900)

This entry describes the history of legislative actions taken by the New York State Government for the poor in New York State from 1603 to 1900. Derived from the research of Linda S. Stuhler. Continue Reading »

Poor House Conditions: Albany County, New York – 1864

In 1824 the New York State legislature enacted the “County Poorhouse Act,” a measure that called for one or more poorhouses to be built or established in each county. Thenceforth, all recipients of public assistance were to be sent to that institution. All expenses for building and maintaining the poorhouse(s) and supporting its inmates were to be defrayed by the county out of tax funds. The Act also created a new body of relief officials: County Superintendents of the Poor.Continue Reading »

Home Missionary Society of Philadelphia

While some children required long-term placement, assistance was often temporary. One worker describes a case below which particularly displays the “uplift” mentality of the Society:

“After a meeting, I called on a widow with four children. She is sick. To secure daily bread, her boy, twelve years of age, sells papers. He called to see me, asking for a situation in the city, whereby he might help his mother. I knew a man of business who wanted a boy, took him with me and secured the place. He has been with him three weeks, and gives such good satisfaction that his wages have been raised, and he is promised permanent employment with a knowledge of the trade. When the mother had sufficiently recovered she came to thank me for the interest I had taken in her son. In this case it was not the money given which called forth her gratitude, but the fact that I had helped the family to help themselves.”Continue Reading »

Hamilton-Madison House: Reaching the Hard Core of Poverty

This entry was copied from the original document. It is both a history of settlement work on the Lower East Side of New York City and an excellent example of community organization in a racially diverse neighborhood. This proposal was written in the first year that Community Action grants were being awarded as part of the War on Poverty.Continue Reading »

Long, Huey

As the Great Depression worsened, Long made impassioned speeches in the Senate charging a few powerful families with hoarding the nation’s wealth. He urged Congress to address the inequality that he believed to be the source of the mass suffering. How was a recovery possible when twelve men owned more wealth than 120 million people?….In 1934 Long unveiled a program of reforms he labeled “Share Our Wealth” designed to redistribute the nation’s wealth more fairly by capping personal fortunes at $50 million (later lowered to $5 – $8 million) and distributing the rest through government programs aimed at providing opportunity and a decent standard of living to all Americans. Long believed the programs he initiated in Louisiana were effective in lifting people out of poverty, and he wanted to implement this philosophy nationally.Continue Reading »

The Plan to End Poverty in California (EPIC)

The nomination of an avowed socialist to head the Democratic party ticket was more than the California establishment could tolerate. Sinclair’s radical candidacy was opposed by just about every establishment force in California. The media virtually demonized Sinclair through a concerted propaganda campaign based largely on smears and falsehoods. Sinclair’s candidacy also set off a bitter political battle both within the Democratic party and with many groups who were opposed to various aspects of the EPIC plan. Sinclair was denounced as a “Red” and “crackpot” and the Democratic establishment sought to derail his candidacy. Despite all of this, Upton Sinclair was very nearly elected Governor of California in 1934.Continue Reading »

Caring for Paupers (1881)

The class which suffers at all our almshouses is the class for whom almshouses are presumed to be maintained, the unfortunate and self-respecting poor. A more horrible existence than a modest woman must endure at very many of our almshouses it is impossible to imagine. She lives amid unclean disorder and constant bickering; she is always hearing oaths and vile talk, the ravings of madmen and the uncouth gibberings of idiots; she is always seeing scarred and blotched faces and distorted limbs, hideous shapes such as one encounters in the narrow streets of Italian towns, but which, here, we hide in our almshouses. She is exposed to a hundred petty wrongs; Mrs. Jens’s case, already described, may give the reader an inkling of their nature. Often she is treated with absolute cruelty; in some almshouses she cannot protect herself from the grossest insults.Continue Reading »

Family Life Of The Negro In The Small Town– 1926

Even the briefest account of the family life of the Negro must include a consideration of the history back of the present Negro family. This history naturally divides itself into three periods: Africa, slavery, and freedom. While the African period, it must be remembered, does not claim our attention because an unbroken social tradition still affects the present formation of the Negro family -although traces of the African tradition were detected in marriage ceremonies near the opening of the present century —it is necessary to call attention to this period because of subsequent events. In Africa the Negro lived under regulated sex relations which were adapted to his social and physical environment. It was through the destruction in America of these institutionalized sex relations that slavery was able to bring about complete subordination. Continue Reading »

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