This report was a personal initiative to get White House officials to acknowledge the importance of racial equality in addition to the already existent civil rights. It grabbed President Johnsons attention and formed the basis of his lecture at Howard University. Due to the heated debate that it sparked after hitting the public domain in August 1965, the president had no choice but to disown it. The Vietnam War was also a major contributing factor to the presidents actions.
The first chapter talks about The Negro Revolution. The Negroes resisted the harsh treatment directed against them by the merciless slave masters. They were fighting for their full freedom so that they could also have equal share of the national cake. Racial discrimination was their common enemy; they wanted all races to be assimilated peacefully in the United States. This revolution brought major changes in the political and administrative arena (Geary, 2017).
The political environment experienced three major events. First, mass movements were formed across the country, in close associations with trade unions and religious groups, to fight for the writes of black people. Second, calls for Negro equality received a boost from the federal government under the Johnson and Kennedy administrations. Finally, the presidential elections of 1964 rubber-stamped the commitment to the Negroid movement.
Just like political milestones, the administrative changes were also threefold. First of all, the Presidents Committee on Equal Employment Opportuinity was established. The federal government, under the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, commenced a nation-wide effort to counter the economic imbalance witnessed between the Negro and the other races in the country. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was the second boost to the fight against poverty. Third, the discrimination faced by the Negroes was abolished by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The second chapter talks about the Negro family as the basis for the widespread damage to the social fabric of this community. The exploitation experienced during the three centuries of slavery had a great contribution to this. Until the basic foundation of the society is fixed, any efforts to fight discrimination, injustice and poverty, will achieve little outcome. Family is the primary socializing unit where children learn how they are expected to act as adults.
By referring to data from several studies carried out among the Negro, Moynihan report gave a disturbing trend in the Negro family as compared to the white families. First, Negroes living in urban areas recorded 25% dissolution. Second, out of all the births recorded, 25% were not legitimate. Third, females head 25% percent of Negro families. All of these contributed to an alarming increase in welfare dependence. The welfare funds were created to support unemployed women and children. Given the fact that the Negroes judged a man by the size of his pay check, jobless men were undermined by their wives (Geary, 2017). This led some men to abandon their families, leaving them no choice but to enlist for social welfare support.
Chapter four tries to find out where the challenges faced by the Negroes came from. It reports that American slavery was the worst of all slavery systems in the world. When compared to Brazil, slaves in America were suppressed to the core. They could not enjoy even the basic necessities of life. Because of this, the Negroes were left behind as other races and civilizations were developing. Eventually external and internal pressure led to the abolishment of slavery.
Even after liberation, life of the Negro remained miserable because there was inequality in the distribution of resources. The males were seen as a threat and therefore highly discriminated; there were so many things and areas they could not access. On the other hand, females were allowed access because they posed little or even no threat at all. This was deleterious to the male ego and personality. The father figure among Negroes deteriorated further because of this. This discrimination against the male Negroes extended to the work place and schools. It reached a point where mothers preferred educating their daughters because they had a greater chance at getting scholarships, and jobs after school (Geary, 2017).
Most of the males felt frustrated and indulged in activities that could take their minds away from the reality on the ground. Some disappeared never to be seen again. Others got in to drugs and other criminal activities. The end result for those who chose such paths was either death or prison. The children were raised in the absence of a father figure, making it loose its meaning and relevance.
Chapter four talks about the cycle of problems the Negroes faced after surviving the inhumane treatment during slavery. The major problem was faced at the family level where the roles of the wife and husbands were reversed. During the years, male had been discriminated against at the work places, schools and many other places. Cumulative effects of these led to the low power of husbands in the Negro families. Matters were made worse when girls were preferred over boys for schooling as reported by Whitney Young, Historically, in the matriarchal Negro society, mothers made sure that if one of their children had a chance for higher education the daughter was the one to pursue it. Due to unemployment and poverty, the society had to adjust by reversing traditional roles.
Chapter five of the report is about calls made to the national government to address the problem (Geary, 2017). The policy of the Country was to give the Negroes equal chances of success and to grant them citizenship. The Negro family was at the center of all these efforts.
The Welfare and Politics of Poverty Documentary
The welfare fund was created in the 1930s to take care of destitute widows and orphaned children. Over the years it has grown into billion-dollar fund hence attracting all sorts of crafty means of accessing it. Some women used falsified identities to access the benefits. This got the attention of the media in the 1990s. This heated up debates about the need for this fund; the republicans calling for its abolishment. They proposed that the money be diverted into creating jobs so that these people could earn it and contribute to the economy. President Bill Clinton signed the Bill abolishing this fund in 1996. Two years later, most of the women who had been under social welfare found jobs and were able to take care of their families. However, economic recession made the situation worse; many of them could not pay their mortgages and were thrown out of their homes. The number of homeless families is rising and poverty is widespread. Twenty years later, many people think it was a big mistake to abolish the social welfare fund.
Gavins, R. (n.d.). Moynihan Report. The Cambridge Guide to African American History, 197-198. doi:10.1017/cbo9781316216453.214
Geary, D. (2017, October 31). The Moynihan Report. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/the-moynihan-report-an-annotated-edition/404632/
Weiner, L. Y., & Orleck, A. (2006). Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty. The History Teacher, 39(4), 547. doi:10.2307/30037087
Welfare and the Politics of Poverty [Video file]. (2016, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.retroreport.org/video/welfare-and-the-politics-of-poverty/
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