AMERICA'S WAR ON POVERTY: MY BROTHER'S KEEPER (TV)

Summary

Part five of this five-part documentary series about America's fight against poverty. This program examines the debates and protests that led up to redefining the rights of the poor and restructuring the welfare program of the 1960s. The following people comment on the roles of the state and the federal government in lending assistance to those in need: Jack Goldberg, the Welfare Commissioner of New York City; Timothy Sampson, a staff member of the National Welfare Rights Organization (N.W.R.O.) in Washington, D.C; Bob Jorgan, the Deputy Welfare Commissioner of New York City; Guida West, a member of Friends of Welfare Rights; Johnnie Tillmon, the chairman of N.W.R.O; Jacqueline Pope, a member of N.W.R.O. in Brooklyn; Nitza Vera, Daughter of Welfare Recipient in New York City; Terry Lucas Szpak, a member of N.W.R.O. in Boston; Roxanne Jones, a member of N.W.R.O. in Philadelphia; Hulbert James, staff member of the N.W.R.O. in Washington, D.C; George Wiley, the executive director of N.W.R.O; Faith Evans, a staff member of the N.W.R.O. in Washington, D.C; Anthony Basilio, Welfare Case Supervisor II in New York City; CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr; Washington Post reporter Nick Kotz; Dr. Martin Anderson, a chief aide to the domestic policy advisor; John D. Ehrlichman, an aide to President Richard M. Nixon; White House Fellow Doris Kearns Goodwin; the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Robert Finch; and Marian Wright, a member of the board of directors of the Child Development Group of Mississippi. These individuals comment on the following topics, among others: the common argument that the poor are too dependent on government assistance; the increase in welfare enrollment in the 1960s; the formation of the N.W.R.O; the importance of dealing wit the real economic problems facing the poor so that welfare will not be needed; opinions about welfare in the 1960s; the treatment of minorities and the poor in the 1960s; the need for more work and training opportunities for the poverty stricken; the often detrimental help of caseworkers; the bureaucracy of the system; the effect the system has on the lives of children; mothers on welfare who have fought for respect; the original purpose of welfare; welfare as a way of life; the fight to restructure welfare into a salary form of disbursement of funds; parenting as an important job; the changing role of the federal government in welfare issues; feelings about reforming the system; the effect of the war in Vietnam on the progress of the welfare system; the role of President Nixon's director of Urban Affairs Council, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in helping the N.W.R.O. make conact with Robert Finch; the creation of New Federalism; N.W.R.O.'s fight for guaranteed income; the concept of the working poor; public reaction to the debates over welfare; President Lyndon B. Johnson's feeling about what he accomplished in office and how it was being destroyed after he completed his term as President; the difficulty in getting a job when one is poor and has children; the politics of N.W.R.O. concerning the Vietnam War; the results of the experiment that involved middle-class families attempting to live on the limited funds offered to the poor for one week; the N.W.R.O. takeover of Finch's office; the reasons why N.W.R.O. protesters began to lose their public support; N.W.R.O.'s fight with the Senate over a plan that welfare recipients could not accept, the flat grant; the changes made in the lives of poverty-stricken women who fought for welfare reform and the need for sustained work on welare policies. Also included is footage of the following: poor people of all races; the Reverend Martin Luther King, J., speaking about guaranteed income for the poor; President Johnson announcing that he would not seek another term in office; marches held by mothers on welfare; Beulah Sanders, the vice chairwoman of the N.W.R.O. speaking out; George Wiley at a protest; President Franklin D. Roosevelt discussing Social Security and the New Deal; President Nixon speaking about the economic policies for the poverty-stricken families of the United States; Richard Cloward, a sociologist from Columbia University, commenting on political forces of the times; caseworkers "sitting-in" at a welfare center; protests against the "flat grant"; mothers being dragged off by the police; Jack Goldberg, the Welfare Comissioner of New York City, commenting on the need for federal aid; New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay commenting on the need for a uniform federalized system; Robert Finch, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare talking about the welfare constituency; Johnnie Tillman attending a meeting with Finch; Daniel Patrick Moynihan commenting on President Nixon's wish to make America work; President Nixon announcing his welfare plan: the Family Assistant System; welfare reform leader George Wiley commenting on the amount of money being offered to the poor; Donald Rumsfeld, the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity talking about the restructuring of his department; women offering their opinions on how the children of welfare mothers should be treated; Jessie Jackson, the president of Operation PUSH, commenting on the programs for the poor; middle-class women living like the poor; these women expressing how they felt during the week they spent living as mothers on welfare; Senator Russell Long (D-La.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, commenting on the state of the welfare system; Whitney M. Young, Jr., the executive director of the National Urban League examining who receives government aide; Roxanne Jones, a member of the N.W.R.O. in Philadelphia, at the protest in front of Finch's office building; N.W.R.O. protesters being booked by the police; and Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.) of the Senate Finance Committee at a special hearing created to allow welfare recipients opine about the flat grant.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1996.

Details

  • NETWORK: PBS
  • DATE: January 18, 1995 Wednesdasy 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:42
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:45467
  • GENRE: Public Affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - News/Talk
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1995
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Henry Hampton … Executive Producer
    • Leslie D. Farrell … Producer, Director, Writer
    • Lulie Haddad … Associate Producer
    • Terry Kay Rockefeller … Series Producer
    • John Grybowski … Researcher
    • Hillary Dann … Researcher
    • Deborah Richardson … Researcher
    • Brian Keane … Music by
    • Lynne Thigpen … Narrator
    • Martin Anderson
    • Anthony Basilo
    • John D. Ehrlichman
    • Faith Evans
    • Robert Finch
    • Jack Goldberg
    • Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Hulbert James
    • Roxanne Jones
    • Bob Jorgan
    • Nick Kotz
    • Jacqueline Pope
    • Timothy Sampson
    • Daniel Schorr
    • Terry Lucas Szpak
    • Johnnie Tillmon
    • Nitza Vera
    • Guida West
    • George Wiley
    • Marian Wright
    • Richard Cloward
    • Robert Finch
    • Jack Goldberg
    • Jesse Jackson
    • Lyndon B. Johnson
    • Roxanne Jones
    • Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • John V. Lindsay
    • Russell Long
    • Eugene McCarthy
    • Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    • Richard M. Nixon
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • Donald Rumsfeld
    • Beulah Sanders
    • Whitney M. Young, Jr.
    • Flat Grant
    • National Welfare Rights Organization