August 28, 2012
By Charles Kenny There is something viscerally repulsive about slums: the stench of open sewers, the choking smoke of smoldering trash heaps, the pools of fetid drinking water filmed with rainbow chemical spills. It makes poverty in the countryside seem almost Arcadian by comparison. The rural poor may lack nutrition, health care, education, and infrastructure; still, they do the backbreaking work of tending farms in settings that not only are more bucolic, but also represent the condition of most of humanity for most of history.
March 25, 1991 |
Before the City of New Orleans and other passenger trains got the disappearing railroad blues, the Illinois Central was, for hundreds of thousands of rural blacks, a steel highway to the promised land. They left from small depots in the Deep South and arrived at Chicago's cavernous 12th Street Station. There they turned a few miles south toward what became the largest concentration of black Americans. Now comes The Promised Land, Nicholas Lemann's riveting report on the Mississippi-to-Chicago component of the northward migration of 6.5 million blacks, one of the world's largest and swiftest migrations.
December 10, 2001 |
As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Brian Strom has met his share of smart, educated, ambitious, dedicated people. But, the Penn Valley resident had never met a Rhodes Scholar. Now, he and his wife, Lani, are the proud parents of one. Their daughter, Shayna Strom, a senior at Yale University and 1998 graduate of the private Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, was one of 32 U.S. college students selected as a Rhodes Scholars yesterday, the scholarship trust announced.
January 3, 1992
HAVEN'T WE HEARD THIS STORY SOMEWHERE BEFORE? Stowe Village, a public housing project at the north end of Hartford, is a four-block hellhole of rundown three- and four-story brick apartment buildings, concrete, graffiti and yellow grass. The project is home to some 600 families, about 4,000 people altogether. Only one out of three men has a job. . . . "We have our own Soweto," says (Hartford City Manager Gene) Shipman. . . . "We look at black townships in South Africa and become outraged, but you need go no farther than 20 blocks from downtown Hartford to see the same kind of living conditions.
June 27, 2007 |
Elijah Anderson, one of the nation?s most influential scholars in the field of urban inequality, will become professor of sociology at Yale University on July 1, university officials said Wednesday. "Professor Anderson is the most respected and accomplished sociologist of the black urban community," said Yale Provost Andrew D. Hamilton. "We are thrilled that the leading expert in an area of such social and political importance will be conducting his research and teaching at Yale. " Anderson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was the author of the classic work "A Place on the Corner: A Study of Black Street Corner Men. " Anderson has won numerous awards and written and edited numerous articles, books, book chapters and reports on the black experience, including the introduction to the republication of "The Philadelphia Negro," by W.E.B.
December 30, 1990 |
In the midst of the recent storm over an editorial we ran discussing the new contraceptive Norplant, I got a letter from attorney Mark Squires, a former student of mine at Temple University. Squires, as is his custom, got right to the point. Over the years, he wrote, he had enjoyed needling me for my "knee-jerk liberalism," and he was now "greatly amused by your being portrayed as a racist pig. " I don't know why I appreciated that letter so much. Perhaps it was because I was glad somebody was enjoying the episode.
August 3, 2006 |
In the hysteria of the crime wave of 2006, officials are tripping over themselves searching for immediate solutions to an intractable problem. Nothing - save our unwillingness to do anything that might hamper the free flow of arms - is sacred. In the meantime, the homicide rate is rising faster than the temperature. A siege mentality has taken hold and we edge toward police-state tactics. Now we want to let police frisk parolees at any time, even if there is no probable cause.
January 24, 1990
Robert W. O'Donnell, the new speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, now faces one of the most intricate challenges imaginable for a politician. Fortunately, he has demonstrated in his rise to the speakership that he may be artful enough to bring it off. The challenge is this: to find a way to bridge the ever-widening gap between the amount of money the state legislature feels it can afford to pay for social service programs it has mandated in Philadelphia (and other cities)
March 13, 2009 |
The good stuff about Mark Webber's Explicit Ills : Although a major theme is urban poverty, his Philadelphia indie manages mostly to dodge film cliches. The boy and his single mom, the enterprising African American couple, the hipster and the art student - they ramble and shamble through some of the city's derelict streets like real people, not (political) cartoons. The conversations on the bus, the exchanges at the corner, have a refreshing naturalness about them. And there's a graceful, oddball humor, cutting nicely against the grain of Webber's more strident socioeconomic message.
December 5, 2005 |
Arecent op-ed about the deadly youth violence in certain sections of Philadelphia reminded the writer of William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies. " Perhaps a better analogy is to the Anthony Burgess classic "A Clockwork Orange" - a disturbing vision of a future society where drug-addled teen gangs, adrift by day in an impersonal society in which they have no stake, rule the streets at night with shockingly ruthless "ultraviolence. " In certain sections of Philadelphia, that future is now. Retailers near a South Philadelphia area where some of this deadly youth violence is concentrated lament that the area turns into a danger zone when the sun sets.