Category: Poverty

Women at a memorial outside the Gold Spa in Atlanta, where three Korean women were shot and killed on Tuesday. Credit: Chang W. Lee - "The New York Times"

The Deep American Roots of the Atlanta Shooting

Among the first things I did upon learning about the shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area was to check in with a former massage parlor worker I met in 2019. At the time, I was reporting an article about a prostitution raid at a Florida massage parlor.

Dwayne Pendergraph, a former plant worker, at his home in McMinnville, October 20, 2013. Photo By David M. Barreda

Losing Sparta

Last August, more than a year after the Philips lighting fixture plant in Sparta, Tennessee, closed its doors, Bo McCurry and Ricky Lack stepped out of Lack’s beat-up Ford Ranger and walked up the sloping, tree-lined drive to the plant’s padlocked gates. It was the first time either one had been back since the closure.

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“Don’t Forget Your Court Date”

How text messages and other technology can give legal support to the poor. It has been three years since the Great Recession ended, but the nation’s courthouses are still swamped with eviction cases, foreclosures, and debt collection suits. If overdue bills and late rent were

Fleeing the Fight: Displaced in Afghanistan

Thousands of Afghans have fled the death and destruction of southern Afghanistan by abandoning their ancestral homes. They are now displaced, living in a sewage-soaked camp in Kabul, having forsaken their land for survival and their family’s future. Among a maze of mud walls, shielded by leaking

Hispanic Workers Health Needs are Overwhelming Southern Poultry Towns

Everyone’s time is set to four thirty in the afternoon in Siler City, North Carolina. It’s the hour when everyone comes home. Children come home from school and toss their backpacks on the floor. Parents come home from the chicken plants and leave their black

Hispanic Poultry Workers Live in New Southern Slums

Everyone in Siler City, NC, knows about North Chatham Avenue. They know the street the way one knows a dark secret. Both whites and blacks shake their heads at its mention. Even though the town feels shame about the dilapidated homes that line North Chatham,

A woman walks on the U.S. side of the border as smoke pours over the wall from Nogales, Sonora. The smoke smelled of burning plastic. Photos by Jeffry D. Scott

Bridging Troubled Waters in Ambos Nogales

In the hillside shantytowns of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, people get drinking water from trucks and store it in barrels salvaged from the dump or nearby factories. They have no choice. The city’s crumbling, 50-year-old water distribution system doesn’t extend to where they live. Even most

Bruce C. Vladeck, the outgoing administrator of the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration.

The Medical Gold Rush for Poor Patients

Just a few short months ago, a New York medical insurance plan called AssureCare, Inc. hoped to reap hearty profits caring for thousands of society’s poorest people. Bankrolled by a Florida entrepreneur with a $480 million personal fortune, the HMO seemed likely to snatch up

Marian Wright Edelman (far right) cuts the ribbon opening the Head Start center named for her in rural Hurtsboro, Alabama. Also at the festivities at the refurbished school building were Jerry Roden, Jr., executive director of the Alabama Council on Human Relations, Hurtsboro Mayor Mary K. Tapley, and Head Start program director Nancy Spears.

Head Start: Helping Alabama’s Poor Survive

Question: Which of these activities involves Head Start? A woman sets as her goal obtaining a commercial bus driver’s license, succeeds, and then aims at a new target- taking the test for her high school equivalency diploma. A child sees commitment to service in adults

Clara and Elery Corson 1983. Husband and wife.

Time And Time Again: Poverty In A Maine Village

Photographers enter people’s lives for periods as short as minutes or as long as weeks. Constrained by deadlines and journalism’s compressed time, the assignment ends and we leave. We never stay, we rarely know what becomes of the people we photograph. Editors may permit an

The Jamaica Progressive League attracted more than 300 people in a new voter/citizens drive held a Guayanan retaurant in Brooklyn's Flatbush section this March. Would-be citizens paid $120 each for photographs, fingerprints and notarized registration forms. The first citizens will be sworn in this summer. Photo by Rachel L. Cobb

Brooklyn’s Anti-Poverty Workers: Caribbean Immigrants

Family values, religion and community renewal are among the pillars of conservative ideology, and rallying-points of Republican legislators who tend to represent districts that are rural, white and affluent. In Democratic Brooklyn, particularly the mainly black, mainly poor neighborhood called Fort Greene, the Republican Personal

This huge sawdust pile behind this West Athens saw mill shows the prosperity reached in the late 19th century. Photo courtesy of the Athens Historical Society

The Timber Industry and the Felling of West Athens, Maine

Everett York leans back and rests his massive weight on a worn Lazy Boy recliner that belongs indoors but looks right at home amidst the miscellaneous junk, cars and car parts that litter his trailer’s yard. Close by, his wife, Rena, reclines on the rickety

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Fringe Banking

Banks don’t want her business. So when Pacquin Davis needed to cash her welfare check one recent Tuesday evening, she went to the Shopper’s Market around the corner from her apartment in an Atlanta public housing complex. The grocer charged her $3 to cash the

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The Costly “Banks” That Welcome The Poor

Ask Jack Daugherty how many pawn shops he owns in the United States, and he has to put down the phone for a minute to check. “It’s kinda a moving target,” he apologizes. “I have to ask somebody every week.” The correct answer: 225. For

Rent America is one of the several rent-to-own stores in Roanoke, Virginia. Photo by APF Fellow Michael Hudson

“Rent-to-Own”: The Slick Cousin of Paying on Time

Some people call Larry Sutton “The Reverend of Rent To-Own.” Sutton preaches the blessings of the rent-to-own business with the enthusiasm of a true believer. He owns a growing number of Champion Rent-to-own stores in Florida and Georgia: more than 20 so far. They offer

James Hogan’s problems started in 1989 when he borrowed and then paid $6,200 to a home-repair contractor in Atlanta to fix his roof and do other work. His attorney says an independent appraiser later asses the value of the work at $3,474. Fleet Finance tried to evict Hogan from his home. Photo by APF Fellow Michael Hudson

Loan Scams

Some days it seems like the phone at Annie Ruth Bennett’s house in southwest Atlanta won’t ever stop ringing. The callers want to sell her storm windows, debt–consolidation loans, burial plots. Her attorney says it’s all a scheme: They want to steal a piece of