New Book: Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Vagrants and Vagabonds Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic (2019). Overview below:
The riveting story of control over the mobility of poor migrants, and how their movements shaped current perceptions of class and status in the United States
Vagrants. Vagabonds. Hoboes. Identified by myriad names, the homeless and geographically mobile have been with us since the earliest periods of recorded history. In the early days of the United States, these poor migrants – consisting of everyone from work-seekers to runaway slaves – populated the roads and streets of major cities and towns. These individuals were a part of a social class whose geographical movements broke settlement laws, penal codes, and welfare policies. This book documents their travels and experiences across the Atlantic world, excavating their life stories from the records of criminal justice systems and relief organizations.
Vagrants and Vagabonds examines the subsistence activities of the mobile poor, from migration to wage labor to petty theft, and how local and state municipal authorities criminalized these activities, prompting extensive punishment. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan examines the intertwined legal constructions, experiences, and responses to these so-called “vagrants,” arguing that we can glean important insights about poverty and class in this period by paying careful attention to mobility. This book charts why and how the itinerant poor were subject to imprisonment and forced migration, and considers the relationship between race and the right to movement and residence in the antebellum US. Ultimately, Vagrants and Vagabonds argues that poor migrants, the laws designed to curtail their movements, and the people charged with managing them, were central to shaping everything from the role of the state to contemporary conceptions of community to class and labor status, the spread of disease, and punishment in the early American republic.
Posted in Children, Economic Mobility, Economics, Employment, Family, Human Rights, Inequality, Jobs, Measuring Poverty, Minimum Wage, News Coverage of Poverty, Socio-Economic Rights
Posted in Children, Economic Mobility, Economics, Family, Health, Inequality, Jobs, Measuring Poverty, Minimum Wage, News Coverage of Poverty, Race, Socio-Economic Rights
News Coverage of Poverty: Kriston Capps, What the Supreme Court Said About the 2020 Census Citizenship Question, CityLab.com, Apr. 23, 2019.
New Article: Indraneel Chakraborty, et. al, Returns to Community Lending, available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3353786. Abstract below:
For forty years, at a large scale, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has encouraged U.S. banks to lend to lower income neighborhoods. We estimate costs and benefits of providing incentives to privately-owned banks to reduce poverty. Regarding costs, to comply with CRA, rather than lend more overall, banks perfectly substitute away from small business lending to other income groups. Regarding benefits, 0.5% of the population is lifted out of poverty per year through the CRA small-business lending channel. The incidence of the act is on smaller banks who lend more and face higher loan losses. Large banks show no effects.
News Coverage of Poverty: Kelsey Piper, India’s poor don’t want money — they want health care, Vox.com, Apr. 12, 2019.
News Coverage of Labor: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Democrats want to ban mandatory arbitration at work. Senate Republicans are listening, Vox.com, Apr. 3, 2019.
Millions of workers can’t sue their employers, and they probably don’t know it. About 60 million American workers have given up their right to go to court just to earn a paycheck.
New Book: Thomas J. Ward, Out in the Rural: A Mississippi Health Center and Its War on Poverty (2016). Overview below:
Ward (Black Physicians in the Jim Crow South), chair of the history department at Spring Hill College (Ala.), celebrates the nation’s first rural community health center and its groundbreaking mission to provide medical care and be “an instrument of social change” in the impoverished Mississippi Delta region. In this densely packed chronicle, Ward covers the growth of the Tufts-Delta Health Center from a small health clinic in 1967—opening amid skepticism from both black and white communities—to its unique role as a medical center and organizer of programs addressing rampant malnutrition, poor maternal and child healthcare, unsafe drinking water and sewage disposal, and hunger. Woven throughout are vivid portraits of the clinic’s founders, including H. Jack Geiger, the “father of community health”; community organizer John Hatch; environmental services director Andrew James; and farm expert L.C. Dorsey. Ward argues that the center’s true measure of success is its enduring legacy as one of the first of “more than 1,200 community health centers in the U.S.” Ward shows that “in both practical and symbolic terms, the Tufts-Delta Health Center was a radical assault on both the medical and social status quo”—and that story is as urgent today as it was a half century ago.