Institute Staff Contribute to Recently Published “The War on Poverty”

The Winter Institute’s Academic Service programmatic pillar does remarkable work. Academic Service recently helped reimagine UM’s orientation to include a more honest, comprehensive look at the University’s history. Our academic director, Dr. Jennifer Stollman, has trained thousands of faculty, students, and administrators on both the UM campus and a growing list of other colleges and universities to help them discuss difference productively.

Academic Service also has a scholastic component–including a civic/community engagement minor set to launch in 2015!–and produces scholarship from within. A recent exploration of U.S. antipoverty tactics, “The War on Poverty: A Retrospective,” edited by Dr. Kyle Farmbry, of Rutgers University’s Center for Urban and Public Service, includes a chapter written by Dr. Susan Glisson, Institute executive director, and Dr. Stollman.

In their chapter, titled “‘The Movement’s Broadway’: Race, Poverty, Education, and Healthcare in the State of Mississippi,” they focus on the many poverty- and advocacy-related misconceptions surrounding our state.

Throughout the book’s 300 pages, researchers and practitioners examine poverty’s intersection, in the 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on it, with other social issues, including health care, education, and criminal justice.

Drs. Glisson and Stollman discuss the intersection of class and race with respect to educational and health disparities. Dr. Stollman says that, as Mississippi residents, they endeavored to “dispel the continued myth that Mississippi and its health and educational disparities are anomalous with respect to the nation.” They put forth our state in the chapter as a potential “laboratory for progressive policies and community building whose interventions could transform the state and ripple out to the nation at large.”

Much writing about Mississippi’s reliable last-place standing in U.S. well-being metrics ignores some of the great work already being done on the ground. “We wanted to advance practitioners’ and academics’ concept of Mississippi,” Dr. Stollman said, “with respect to some of the excellent work conducted by non-profits and activists in the state.”

Reviewers bestow high praise on “The War on Poverty.” A professor from Syracuse writes, “I strongly recommend this volume as one of the best of its kind.” Another, from California State University, in San Bernardino: “a realistic picture of poverty and inequality with a broad but skillful, evenhanded brush for all to see and experience. The story, told in the compelling language of academic research, and augmented with the practical experience of passionate practitioners who work in this world on a daily basis, causes one to wonder how we went so wrong.”

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