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Abstract

Despite the riots, radical movements and demands for community controls of the 1960's, social scientists and social workers have noted the perserverance of many non-radical, traditional institutions in ghetto neighborhoods. Some of these institutions, like settlement houses, still advance the ideas of hard work, hoensty, competition, and individual achievement which are at the heart of the American dream. These institutions were often around long before the War on Poverty and appear likely to last long after its end. They, therefore, seem to be a reliable potential source of aid for many ghetto residents. The question at the heart of this paper is whether there is any contradiction between the more or less permanent place of social welfare institutions in a ghetto community and the goal of changing and improving that same neighborhood. How have these traditional organizations been able to survive during a period of heightened social consciousness and political action? What accommodations, if any,have they had to make? and what does this perserverance indicate about the political culture in the ghetto and the possibility of significant, even radical, change? Our answer to these issues will come from looking at the ideology, staff, budget, and Board of Trustees of one social welfare institution in New York: The Boys' Club.

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