In Praise of Inner Cities' Unsung Heroes

By Wetzstein, Cheryl | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 15, 1998 | Go to article overview

In Praise of Inner Cities' Unsung Heroes


Wetzstein, Cheryl, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Robert L. Woodson Sr. has worked with men and women who, against considerable odds, have fought and overcome poverty, crime and racial tensions in their low-income neighborhoods. But the veteran community activist has often been at a loss for words to describe the extraordinary achievements of these unsung heroes.

Now, in his new book, "The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today's Community Healers are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods," Mr. Woodson has finally found a suitable analogy: the biblical story of Joseph, the favored son of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and his wife, Rachel.

As recounted in Genesis, Joseph endured many acts of wickedness, beginning with his being sold into slavery by his own brothers.

But through his faith, Joseph successfully interpreted the dreams of the Egyptian pharaoh about a coming famine and was catapulted to a seat of power to prepare for the hard times. In time, Joseph saved both Egypt and his own people from starvation.

Inner-city heroes who rise above adversity armed with faith and a passion for goodness are "modern-day Josephs," Mr. Woodson writes in his new book.

These Josephs include ex-addicts Freddie and Ninfa Garcia, who run Victory Fellowship in San Antonio, Texas; community leader Carl Hardrick, who works with gangs in Hartford, Conn.; and Tyrone Parker, who works with D.C. gangs through the Alliance of Concerned Men.

These and hundreds of other Josephs deserve to be embraced and supported by "good pharaohs," such as foundations and caring individuals, Mr. Woodson says.

But it won't necessarily be easy for modern pharaohs to side with these Josephs, he warns.

Like the Egyptian pharaoh, modern-day pharaohs will have to "overcome class consciousness," he says, noting that Joseph's pharaoh had to overcome educational gaps, ethnic differences and political tensions when he placed his country's fate in the hands of a young Hebrew prisoner.

Would-be good pharaohs also have to rise above the advice of the "turf-guarding counselors" who work in their courts.

Many leaders of the civil rights establishment and poverty industry decry the plight of poor blacks but propose remedies that benefit themselves and their middle-class friends, he maintains.

Such black leaders were called "problem profiteers" years ago by legendary black educator Booker T. Washington, Mr. Woodson recalls in his book.

"Any time you have a class of people who thrive when the condition of those whom they are supposed to be serving deteriorates, there is something corrupt about that relationship," he adds in an interview this week at the offices of his 17-year-old National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Praise of Inner Cities' Unsung Heroes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.