Tom Roeser was unhappy about the decline of his town, Carpentersville, IL. So he decided to do something about it. Roeser bought some foreclosed properties, renovated them, and then rented them out for below market value.
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
Anyone who wishes to understand American society must be aware that explanations focusing on the cultural traits of inner-city residents are likely to draw far more attention from policy makers and the general public than structural explanations will. It is an unavoidable fact that Americans tend to de-emphasize the structural origins and social significance of poverty and welfare ... If, in America, you can grow up to be anything you want to be, then any destiny—even poverty—can be viewed through the lens of personal achievement or failure. William Julius Wilson on the political and academic failure to recognize structural causes of inner-city poverty. Wilson interviewed in conjunction with the article. [more inside]
The Urban Archipelago. "It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map."
The Spook Who Sat By The Door, a movie pitched and marketed as blaxploitation, was a low budget political science fiction thriller about black revolution in urban black America based upon the novel written by Sam Greenlee. It was withdrawn two weeks after its release in 1973, ostensibly at the behest of the FBI. Some remember it fondly, while others revile it in recollection. Thirty-one years later, it has been released on DVD. Sam Greenlee's an interesting man--another book of his, Baghdad Blues, is evidently an autobiographical novel based upon his first hand experience of the 1958 Baath coup in Iraq. Side notes: Researching this post led me to the intriguing Chicken Bones. And here is Elvis Mitchell's take on The Marginalization of Black Action Films.