The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare

The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare

The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare

The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare

Excerpt

Since the summer of 1961, Newburgh, New York, its welfare program, and its irrepressible City Manager, Joseph McDowell Mitchell, have been the subject of articles, cartoons, and editorials in publications ranging in size from The Montana Citizen to Life, and in political viewpoint from the right-wing National Review to the liberal The Nation. Religious magazines such as the Roman Catholic Commonweal and the Protestant Christian Century have added their voices to the discussion. Overseas, the controversy was aired in such diverse journals as The Manchester Guardian and The London Sunday Express. The National Broadcasting Company filmed an award-winning "White Paper" documentary on the city and its welfare issue, and CBS broadcast a similar program. For a time in the early sixties, it appeared as though the newsmen in Newburgh outnumbered the welfare recipients.

Now the battle has quieted. The squads of out-of-town reporters and the television crews have left. City Manager Mitchell, too, has left the community. And yet, for many, Newburgh remains a symbol. Only, people disagree on what that symbol represents.

Newburgh became a rallying cry for those who regard present welfare programs as weakening the moral fiber . . .

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