Article Title

Organizing the Poor




One area of interest in poverty in Urban America has focused attention on the urban poor and their participation. A major consideration about the problem has been the view that poverty is a pervasive condition and that it can be a determinint of behavior. The notion of a "culture of poverty" and a "welfare syndrome" was an expression of this viewpoint indicating poverty is a way of life. A second viewpoint suggests the urban poor are victims of urban society and are therefore restricted from meaningful participation.2 This viewpoint is in contrast to a "culture of poverty", but it does indicate that poor people are confronted with a number of obstacles in maintaining themselves in society. Given the social and economic constraints on the poor, such as lack of income and opportunities, it should come as no surprise if they can't compete with other segments of society. The cross pressures on the poor make it difficult for them to involve themselves in societal structures in a traditional manner. Although it might not resemble a traditional model, the form of participation that developW among poor people might occur through a process that is compatible with the people who share common problems. In this research, we will provide a case study of how one group of poor black people mobilized themselves around common problems and observe the nature of their participation.