“Some white Milwaukeeans still referred to the North Side as “the core,” as they did in the 1960s, and if they ventured into it, they saw street after street of sagging duplexes, fading murals, twenty-four-hour day cares, and corner stores with wic accepted here signs. Once America’s eleventh-largest city, Milwaukee’s population had fallen below 600,000, down from over 740,000 in 1960. It showed. Abandoned properties and weedy lots where houses once stood dotted the North Side. A typical residential street had a few single-family homes owned by older folks who tended gardens and hung American flags, more duplexes or four-family apartment buildings with chipping paint and bedsheet curtains rented to struggling families, and vacant plots and empty houses with boards drilled over their doors and windows.”
—Evicted: Poverty and Profit in America (2016)
by Matthew Desmond:
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in America (2016) by Matthew Desmond: It follows the lives and struggles of eight families in Milwaukee, who have the misfortune to have insufficient money in a nation that now worships money. Equally important in the telling is that the book follows these eight families during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, known widely as The Great Recession, caused by the same predatory banking practices prevalent today. This book is written with the insights of an academic, equally matched with the heart of a novelist. Even if you are a hard-core arch-capitalist, an adherent and a true believer in neo-liberalism, you will find this book both moving and troubling. Your hardened truths will be shaken to the core. Housing should not be a privilege for the fortunate few, but a right. It would be if America was a just nation; but there is hope, that it will be walking on this path of righteousness and freedom, if America adopts an “Economic Justice Bill of Rights” (see here). This book won won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction; it also won a number of other awards. Matthew Desmond teaches sociology at Princeton University.
Photo Credit: ©2019. Perry J. Greenbaum