By Jennifer Hamer
Read Online or Download Abandoned in the Heartland: Work, Family, and Living in East St. Louis PDF
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Extra info for Abandoned in the Heartland: Work, Family, and Living in East St. Louis
Bureau of the Census report for 1960, 66 percent of the nonwhite population were employed as operatives and laborers and in service occupations compared with 48 percent of the total population. Over one-half of black households earned less than three thousand dollars per year, and among those unemployed, about 80 percent earned less than two thousand dollars the year prior to the report. For white families in the city, the rates were 32 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Black family members who remained in the workforce were more likely to be employed in St.
Louis is actually a suburb, not an inner city, the conventional insights pile up in unconventional ways. East St. Louisans depend on automobiles to make their personal and work lives function, just like other suburbanites—except that here, uniquely, car convenience confronts numerous economic and social barriers. With the decline of hard industry, East St. Louisans seek jobs in the new service economy, just like other suburbanites—except that few jobs within reach of their education levels, much less their limited transportation access, have viable futures.
Communities and families suffer as well. Cities experience a loss of revenue that leaves them unable to support basic infrastructures adequately. Municipal buildings crumble. Public facilities such as libraries, zoos, and parks receive reduced attention in city and county budgets, threatening the city’s cultural and recreational environment. Pothole repairs are neglected or abridged for other community needs. Police and fire departments must reduce their personnel, equipment maintenance, and purchases, threatening the safety and protection of citizens.