Reviews & Discussions

Reviews & Discussions

The State of Things, WUNC Radio, September 29, 2010

Robert Korstad, James Leloudis, Rubye Gattis, and Howard Fuller join host Frank Stasio on the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Fund to discuss poverty, past and present. Listen on-line.

Review by Edward Schmitt, American Historical Review, Vol. 17, (December 2012)

“The War on Poverty has received significant scholarly attention of late. The focal point has been the effectiveness of grassroots empowerment authorized by the principle of ‘maximum feasible participation’ of the poor. The result has been a much more detailed portrait of the War on Poverty where recent scholars contend that it mattered most–at the local level. This book . . . stands a the head of its class among these recent studies. . . . Nuanced, even-handed, and well written, it is essential reading for students of social change in recent American history.” Read the full review.

Review by Kim Phillips-Fein, Journal of Southern History, Vol. 78 (February 2012)

“In this powerful social history of the fund, Robert R. Korstad and James L. Leloudis argue that over the five years of its existence the North Carolina Fund was the ‘advance guard’ of the federal War on Poverty, both anticipating and mirroring the national trajectory of antipoverty efforts in the 1960s. . . . Most moving are the portraits of the many activists who worked with the North Carolina Fund. Through close analysis of a single institution, Korstad and Leloudis evoke the moral imperatives that guided these young people, especially their growing belief that poverty was fundamentally political in nature.” Read the full review.

Review by Michael Honey, Southern Cultures, Vol. 18, Spring 2012

“With poverty and unemployment at levels unprecedented since the Great Depression, as wages of those with jobs stagnate, as the federal government spends trillions for war and gives tax and bailout subsidies to the ultra-rich, we should be asking ourselves how it got to be this way and what we can do about it. To Right These Wrongs provides many of the answers. Robert Korstad and James Leloudis, two superb scholars, have spent years researching and teaching about the causes and cures for poverty. They have produced a work that is richly informative, immensely inspiring, and deeply disturbing.” Read the full review.

Student History Day Project, 2011

Middle-school student Adam Wagner produced this documentary on the North Carolina Fund. The film includes interviews with Fund veterans Ann Atwater, Billy Barnes, Howard Fuller, and Rubye Gattis.

North Carolina Fund from Carrie Wagner on Vimeo.

Review by Mike Smith, UNC School of Government, June 2011

Mike Smith is Dean of the University of North Carolina’s School of Government. In a recent blog posting, he reflected on the relevance of the Fund’s story to issues of poverty and governance today. Here’s an excerpt:

“This book is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about the dynamics of race in North Carolina, especially in the context of community and economic development. It raises uncomfortable questions about the role of government in addressing racial discrimination and poverty. I found myself thinking constantly about the most appropriate role for the School [of Government] in trying to help resolve these issues. What are the limits on the School’s involvement in developing and promoting public policy? How should we approach community and economic development today? What is the role of civic education in helping people understand the importance of involvement in the political process? The book raises many thought-provoking questions for our work and I highly recommend it.”

Read the full essay on Mike’s Blog.

Review by Alec Fazackerkey Hickmott, Southern Historian, Vol. 31, Spring 2011

“Detailed, vividly narrated and replete with numerous photographs of the Fund’s work, To Right These Wrongs will no doubt be viewed as important contribution to the growing literature on the 1960s that emphasizes struggles beyond the traditionally understood parameters of the Civil Rights Movement. But perhaps most importantly, Korstad and Leloudis offer a powerful rebuttal to persistent ideas about the ‘culture of poverty’ that continue to dominate contemporary understandings of both economic and racial inequality in both the South and the United States.”

Review by Susan Youngblood Ashmore, Journal of American History, Vol. 98, June 2011

“[T]he deep research into the three community action programs, and the clear analysis that links poverty to white supremacy and the southern political economy make this study valuable for scholars interested in the Great Society, the modern South, and social movements of the 1960s. The clear prose, the beautiful photographs, and the accompanying digital video disc, Change Comes Knocking: The Story of the North Carolina Fund, make this work accessible to a wide audience.”

Susan Hardy, “Change Comes Knocking,” Endeavors: The Magazine of Research and Creativity at UNC-Chapel Hill, Spring 2011

“The North Carolina Fund was like nothing any other state had tried before.” Read the full review.

Taylor Sisk, “One Community at a Time,” Duke Magazine (March/April 2011)

“Nearly a half century after its launch by Governor Terry Sanford, the North Carolina Fund, an ambitious antipoverty initiative, still provides a template for fighting economic inequities.” Read the full story.

Kim Weaver Spurr, “To Right These Wrongs:  UNC-Duke Project Addresses N.C. Poverty,” Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine (Spring 2011)

This story showcases our Moral Challenges of Poverty and Inequality project and year-long seminar for undergraduates at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Click the image to read about the exciting work our students have been doing.

Review by Jess Usher, North Carolina Historical Review, LXXXVIII (January 2011)

“[T]he story of the North Carolina Fund serves as a reminder that widespread poverty still exists, and serves as a ‘source of inspiration and instruction for a new generation of Americans charting their own ways of combating poverty.'” Read the full review.

Review by Clare Hammonds, Left History, Vol. 15, Number 1 (2010)

“The radical approach of the Fund meant that by 1968 when it shut its doors, the work had begun to come under severe attack from businesses and politicians who complained bitterly about the seemingly partisan nature of the effort. A major strength of the book is its ability to show the interplay between the local, state and national contexts as this political drama unfolded. The authors adeptly demonstrate how national debates came into play with conservative powers in the state and the stark reality of poverty and racial tension on the ground. While the Fund ultimately failed to realize its grand anti-poverty goals, its work created a network of community agencies that still exists in North Carolina. Moreover, the story and lessons of the Fund make this an important book for those interested in understanding the process of social change, and the power and corresponding threat posed by organizing the poor to demand the nation fulfill its democratic promise.” Read the full review.

Review by Jim Seroka, Poverty & Public Policy, Vol. 2, Issue 3 (2010)

“Korstad and Leloudis’s history is exceptionally well researched and documented.  Their writing style is precise and analytical, and their prose is often soaring and surprisingly inspirational. . . . For those who want to understand better the 1960s in the South, for those who want to avoid repeating the tactical and strategic errors of past attempts at social reform, and for those who envision a new movement to overcome the legacy of poverty and inequality, To Right These Wrongs makes an invaluable contribution that should be widely studied and discussed.” Read the full review.