The preceding chapters might create the impression that the general prosperity enjoyed throughout America reached into all homes and families. But if migration to suburbs was a sign of affluence, the city neighborhoods and the people left behind soon showed the many faces of poverty. Poverty was abundantly evident in rural America as well, particularly in Appalachian regions of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Although industries had moved from the North to the South, particularly in textile and furniture manufacturing, it was the prospect of paying lower wages that lured them, so increases in living standards were slow in coming. Most African Americans who earlier had migrated from the South to what they saw as the promised land in northern cities found poverty rather than promise there. Slums and derelict housing projects populated almost exclusively by blacks became common in major cities, and racial discrimination posed barriers as formidable as those existing in the South.
The Other America
Some economists and social activists who had kept an eye on the conditions faced daily by America's poor proposed strategies for economic development to ameliorate them, but action did not come quickly. President Kennedy's slight margin of victory in 1960 would have hobbled any major reform efforts he might have proposed, and his conservative instincts probably discouraged him from recommending ambitious plans anyway. His measures to stimulate the economy had some positive effects, as the gross national product (GNP) grew at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent between 1961 and 1964, compared to the 3.2 annual
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Publication information: Book title: Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990:Decades of Discord. Contributors: Myron A. Marty - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 43.