The War on Poverty

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"This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort.

It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime."

And so began the "War on Poverty," declared by Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 State of the Union Address. This unit addresses the progress and pitfalls of the War on Poverty, past and present. What initiatives worked? Which ones didn't? Are we winning or are we losing the "War on Poverty"?

Unit 6 - War On Poverty Overview (PDF)

Unit 6 - War On Poverty PowerPoint Slides (PDF)



Video Clips

Suggested/Selected Resources: Books & Films

  • To Right These Wrongs (Robert Korstad and James Leloudis)
  • The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980 (Lisa Gayle Hazirjian)
  • Launching the War on Poverty: An Oral History (Michael L. Gillette)
  • The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty (Jill S. Quadagno)
  • Appalachian Legacy: Economic Opportunity after the War on Poverty (James P Ziliak)
  • Changes Comes Knocking: The Story of the North Carolina Fund (Film)
  • America’s War on Poverty (TV Mini-Series)
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