| || |
IN WESTERN CULTURE: THRU A CENTURY OF POVERTY, DESPAIR, ADDICTION AND INSIDE THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT’S
Valley of poverty: The desperate pictures of rural America that show 1930s-style depression actually lasted until the SIXTIES
60% of families fell below poverty level with the average family income of $841 a third lower than national average. These bleak pictures appear to show America in the grip of the 1920s Great Depression. The reality is that they were taken in the 1960s, in a lonely valley in Eastern Kentucky long forgotten by affluent America. For generations, poets and musicians like Patsy Cline were inspired by the beauty of a land that covers 13 states and where towns are called 'Lovely,' 'Beauty' and 'Kingdom Come.' But the harsh reality, as these pictures taken by John Dominis show, was that the people of Appalachia sustained themselves on a bare government subsistence, were ridden with diseases and lived in shacks.
An Appalachian mother clutches her sleeping child while staring into the distance as her other children play around her
Father and son work on the railway track to earn money to feed their family. 60 per cent of families in Appalachian Kentucky were living below the poverty line
The average Appalachian family income of $841 was more than a third lower than the national average. Here a mother looks anxiously as her children eat dinner
The wet climate of the Appalachian Mountains caused rot to set into their wooden homes and made repairs virtually impossible because the old wood couldn't support new wood.
As a result families would watch their homes gradually fall into a state of dilapidation.
At the time Robert F. Kennedy travelled to Appalachia to shine a light on a part of the country that desperately needed help and appeared to have fallen by the wayside as America's economy steamrolled into the 70s. Almost 60 per cent of families in Appalachian Kentucky fell below the poverty level with the average family income of $841 per year coming in at more than a third lower than the national average.
Appalachia stretches from northern Alabama to southern Pennsylvania. In the late 19th century, expansion of the country's railroads brought an increased demand for coal.
Mining operations opened up in huge numbers across Appalachia and hundreds of thousands of workers flooded into the region from across the United States and overseas.
An Appalachian man leans against a shelf clutching a cup. The men had little work after the region's mining industry collapsed
A woman hanging out her family's washing during the harsh winter in eastern Kentucky
Dominis’ photos appeared as a 12-page feature in a 1964 issue of LIFE magazine, titled 'The Valley of Poverty'
Both lumbering and coal mining industries flourished during this period and along with it came decent salaries and living standards.
By the 1960s, however, logging companies decided to move elsewhere having become frustrated at the poor infrastructure in the region, while competition from oil and gas companies led to a sharp decline in mining operations.
Men were left without jobs and children grew up with no prospects.
Dominis’ photos appeared as a 12-page feature in a 1964, issue of LIFE, titled 'The Valley of Poverty'. It was one of the very first in-depth critiques on President Lyndon Johnson’s 'war on poverty.'
A woman and her family trudging across a rickety suspension bridge over a sewage-polluted stream towards their two-room shack with its two outhouses in this poverty-stricken area of Appalachia
The wet climate of the Appalachian Mountains caused rot to set into the wooden homes (pictured) and made repairs virtually impossible because the old wood couldn't support new wood
A young boy being washed in a metal tub by his mother
The article that accompanied the pictures said: 'Their homes are shacks without plumbing or sanitation.
'Their landscape is a man-made desolation of corrugated hills and hollows laced with polluted streams.
'The people, themselves often disease-ridden and unschooled, are without jobs and even without hope. Government relief and handouts of surplus food have sustained them on a bare subsistence level for so many years that idleness and relief are now their accepted way of life.'
Appalachia stretches from northern Alabama to southern Pennsylvania. In the late 19th century, expansion of the country's railroads brought an increased demand for coal to fuel the trains. Entire communities became dependent on the industry which disappeared as fast as it arrived
In the original LIFE article in 1964, words that accompanied the pictures included: 'Their homes are shacks without plumbing or sanitation. Their landscape is a man-made desolation of corrugated hills and hollows laced with polluted streams'
A man being baptised in a stream in Appalachia. He can be seen covering his mouth as the water was heavily polluted
Throughout the region drinking water was toxic and families were often forced to live with congenital issues caused by the coal and strip mining in the area
As a result of its bleak history, Appalachia has given rise to a sterotype which was played on by early 20th century writers and to this day endures.
The isolation, temperament, and traditions have often led Appalachia to be portrayed as a culturally backwards region famous for moon shining and uneducated inhabitants prone to unpredictable acts of violence.
A mother caring for her daugther (left) and a child with its bottle in the poverty-stricken region of Appalachia
Children looking scruffy but relatively happy outside their home (left), while a mothers feeds her baby by a roaring fire as her husband looks on (right)
Children learning at an Appalachian school in the 1960s
'Stirring' photos depict the 1950s lives of slave descendants living on a remote island cut off from the U.S. mainland
These black-and-white photographs show the residents of a long-isolated island off the east coast of the United States.
Inhabited by the descendants of slaves, Daufuskie Island is just three miles from the U.S. mainland, but the island has no bridge and had no electricity until the 1950s.
The pictures were taken by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the wife of the late tennis player Arthur Ashe, during visits to the island between 1977 and 1981.
This is one of the photos taken by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe on visits to the long-isolated Daufuskie Island
The 'time capsule' of 61 photographs has now been donated to the Smithsonian Institution
The isolated island, which does not have a bridge to the mainland, had no electricity until 1953 and telephones came to the island in 1972
The ‘time capsule’ of 61 photographs has now been donated to the Smithsonian Institution, where they will sit in the African-American history museum.
At the time the photographs were taken, 84 Gullah/Geechee people lived in isolation on Daufuskie Island near Savannah, Georgia, and Hilton Head, South Carolina.
The island had a co-op store, a two-room schoolhouse and a church, and inhabitants supported themselves by catching oysters and growing cotton. Ms Moutoussamy-Ashe said she observed a pure and simple life.
At first, she didn't pick up her camera because she wanted to get to know the people, and she developed a strong connection with them at a time before new development began to creep in.
‘My intent at 25 was to photograph what I saw as a dying culture, but at 62 now, I really see it was probably quite presumptuous of me to think that people wanted that,’ she said.
It was an honour, she said, to give these direct descendants of slaves a place in an African-American museum.
'A shrimper and his son' is one of the photographs included in the collection, taken between 1977 and 1981
The island, inhabited by the descendants of slaves, has no bridge to the mainland and did not have electricity until the 1950s. There were 84 people living on the island when Ms Moutoussamy-Ashe visited
This photograph shows a modern-day Daufuskie Island located just three miles off the U.S. mainland
THE ISOLATED ISLAND WHICH HAD NO ELECTRICITY UNTIL THE 1950s
Prior to the arrival of European explorers in the 16th century, native Indians lived on Daufuskie Island.
The island was occupied by Union soldiers during the civil war and freed slaves (Gullah people) then inhabited the island.
The isolated island, which does not have a bridge to the mainland, had no electricity until 1953 and telephones came to the island in 1972.
According to the island’s museum, the population shrank to below 100.
In the 1980s, land facing the Atlantic was purchased and development began on the island.
‘To give this just incredible, warm, giving, nurturing community of people recognition that they were able to thrive as long as they did, that to me is a testament to them and to our culture,’ she said.
Museum director Lonnie Bunch said the donation, from the Bank of America, builds on a growing collection of photographs in the museum's collection, which also includes early images of Frederick Douglass and the work of South African photographer Gordon Clark.
‘Daufuskie Island is one of those places that was almost a time capsule,’ Mr Bunch said.
‘It was very important to capture that. That's what these photographs do.’
Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America, purchased the Daufuskie Island collection in 2007, and the images have been exhibited at museums in New York, Atlanta, Houston, Charleston, South Carolina, and Los Angeles.
‘This is a very special culture, one that has kind of stayed intact, captured by Jeanne as it was in the '70s,' said Rena DeSisto, the bank's head of global arts and culture.
‘But what she's captured is what it also looked like in the 1870s.’
The island had a co-op store, a two-room schoolhouse and a church, and inhabitants supported themselves by catching oysters and growing cotton when these black-and-white photographs were taken
Daufuskie Island, pictured here in modern times, had fewer than 100 inhabitants when Ms Moutoussamy-Ashe visited
The bank has an art collection of about 10,000 works and lends items free of charge to museums for about ten to 12 shows a year.
The bank has been supporting the Smithsonian's black history museum since its earliest stages of development, Ms DeSisto said.
After years of planning, about 30 per cent of the museum building is now completed on the National Mall. Exhibits have been designed, and curators are narrowing down what will be put on display first.
The museum is also working to create about 130 media pieces, including video installations.
So far, $410 million has been raised for the $500 million project, with Congress contributing half the funds. Oprah Winfrey is the project's largest individual donor, contributing $13 million.
The Smithsonian's goal is to open the museum in November 2015. But trouble with water in an underground structure took additional time and could push the completion date into early 2016, Smithsonian officials have said.
The photographer said it was an honour to give these direct descendants of slaves a place in an African-American museum
This photograph shows the union baptist church as it stood between 1977 and 1981
The faces of poverty, despair and addiction inside 'New York's Red Light District' captured by an ex-Wall Street banker
The men and women Chris Arnade photographs are trapped.
They are prostitutes and pimps, drug dealers and addicts and nearly all of them wish they could get out of Hunts Point - an impoverished, desperate neighborhood in the Bronx called 'New York City's Red Light District.'
All of them want to get out or are trying to get out and find a better life, away from the drugs, violence and sex. But most cannot.
Haunting: This is Vanessa, 35, a homeless prostitute who has worked the streets of Hunts Point in the Bronx, New York. She is one of the few success stories from the neighborhood. She got out and is currently off heroin and trying to get clean
Dreams: Beauty, 21, says her johns tell her she's pretty enough to be a model. She says she has had nine pimps since she arrived in New York from Oklahoma - and many of them have been abusive.'I want to get out of this stuff, but I am scared. I guess I could stop at any time. Some of the guys tell me I could be a model,' Beauty, a 21-year-old homeless prostitute says. 'Money wise it's good, but otherwise, f*** Hunts Point. Maybe I can become an RN, or go into childcare.' Mr Arnade was a Wall Street banker with a passion for photography when he wandered into Hunts Point four years ago. It is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the city, situation inside the poorest Congressional district in the country. He began shooting photographs of the characters he found on the street and found that he could not tear himself away from his neighborhood.
Denial: Diana and John are crack cocaine addicts. The pair had six baggies of crack and methodically smoked all of them at once. Then, Diana proceeded to put on a wig and go out to work the streets. Despite this, she claims she's not a 'crackhead.'
Cast out: Michael, 35, has been living on the streets has a hustler for 20 years. His parents blamed him for being sexually abused when he was a child and he left home when he was 15
Eventually, his desire to document the neighborhood became an irresistible draw.
He quit his high-paying job at Citibank and now wanders the neighborhood with his camera full time.
Not all the stories he documents end badly. Not all the characters meet tragic ends.
Vanessa, a 35-year-old homeless prostitute, spiraled into the depths of heroin addiction after years of sexual abuse by family members. She spent ten years working the streets of Hunts Point.
Then, one day, she disappeared. After weeks of research, Mr Arnade found that she had gotten out - at least for now.
She has a boyfriend, now, and he takes care of her - giving her a place to live.
She's on methadone to kick her heroin addiction and seeing a drug counselor. And she's finally starting to look forward in her life - to a place past Hunts Point.
'I want to get my GED. My dream at this point is not to go back where I was. I would like to do some artwork, to help people, some charity work. Given where I have been, I can help them understand,' she told Mr Arnade.
Violence: Takeesha was pregnant when she was beaten by her boyfriend. She went back to him because 'he got some anger issues, but I live him.' When he threw her down the stairs, she lost the baby and she kicked him out
Back at it: Even though she lost the baby, Takeesha still works the streets as a prostitute. She needs to feed her addiction, she says. She is seen here before going out to look for johns
Relapse: Neecy was clean, she had found the Lord and was addicted only to cigarettes. Then she returned to Hunts Point to pass out some pamphlets about salvation to her old friends. Two weeks later she was back on the streets - homeless, shooting heroin and selling her body.
Sickened: Jennifer, 21, says she is disgusted by her work as a prostitute - but she doesn't know what else to do. She's homeless and addicted to drugs. After years of sex abuse by her foster families, she is not sure how else to live
Hangover: Egypt is 'dope sick' and needs a fix. Her addiction to heroin means that her body revolts against her if she doesn't get at least one hit a day. 'Everything hurts. I wake up, I throw up and poop all day,' she says
Defending herself: Brenda, 45, said she once stabbed her husband, the father of her two children, when he beat her. She says it was the only thing she could do to stop the abuse. Now, working the street, she says she won't let any johns abuse her
Disease: Sonia, 46, says her addiction rules everything about her. She sells her body for sex and immediately uses the money to buy crack. She says her addiction is a disease. 'If I had all the money in the world, I would buy all the crack in the world'
Loathing: Michael (left) and Pam (right) live in a small crawlspace under the expressway that runs through Hunts Point. Pam says she is addicted to the money that working the streets brings her because she is addicted to drugs. She 'hates' the sex, though, she says
Led into evil: Camille, 27, had only been in Hunts Point one month when this picture was taken. She starting using heroin when she was 23 after he boyfriend introduced her to it. She isn't sure how she ended up in Hunts Point, but she says it's 'hell'
Sick: Tiffany is HIV-positive and she is still working the streets. She said she started having sex for money at age 12 after years of sexual abuse. The father of her children gave her the virus, she says. She wants to go back to her native South Carolina, but she doesn't know how to leave the bad life of Hunts Point
Thankful: Jennifer said she cleaned up for Thanksgiving. She was on the street working extra hard so she would have money to make Thanksgiving dinner for her family
Guilty of theft and larceny: The Edwardian women forced to pose in police mugshots with chalkboards proclaiming their crimes
We may think of Edwardian women as being demure and withdrawn, but these astonishing mugshots show that this was far from being the case.
They depict 12 women who were arrested in 1903 and 1904 and subsequently brought before North Shields Police Court.
The vintage images are an important reminder that nostalgia about the past is not always accurate - and that previous ages were just as violent and unsettled as our own.
Mugshots: Mabel Smith, who was arrested for larceny in September 1903, in a picture released by Tyne & Wear Archives
Haunting: Susan Joice, who was arrested for larceny in August 1903, glowers at the police camera
Respectable: Susannah Adamson is surprisingly well-dressed for an alleged thief in her mugshot
All the female criminals were living in the North-East of England more than 100 years ago when they were picked up by police for attempting to steal other people's property.
The 12 were all accused of either theft or larceny, a closely related crime which was abolished in England in 1969.
Most of the women appear surprisingly well-dressed, kitted out in formal-looking dresses as well as hats.
Young: Charlotte Adamson looks no older than 19 in her mugshot after being arrested for larceny
Contrast: Mary Scott (aka Wilson) was a middle-aged woman when she was arrested in December 1903
Hats: Annie Anderson shows how women's fashions have changed in the 110 years since her arrest
Susannah Adamson, who was arrested for larceny in February 1904, seems particularly respectable in her elaborate outfit and feathered hat.
But other, like Catherine O'Brien, are covered in rough shaws which would have denoted poverty.
The women cover a wide range of ages, from those who are practically girls to criminals well into middle age.
Charlotte Branney and Mary A. Butts looked like teenagers when they were arrested for larceny, but Mary Scott (aka Wilson) appears to be at least 50 years old.
Upset: Sarah Patterson was accused of being a thief by police in North Shields in 1904
Poverty: Catherine O'Brien's rough shawl suggests that she would have been comparably poor
Change: Alice Caush was another resident of North Shields, a traditional fishing town which was transformed by the Industrial Revolution into a centre of shipbuilding
The evocative mugshots come from the Tyne & Wear Archives, which has posted them online as part of its ongoing mission to share images of historic interest.
They were found in an album of photographs from North Shields Police Court, cataloguing those who had committed crime in the area.
The images 'have really struck a chord with people', according to a spokesman for the archives, who said that the haunting mugshots had captivated members of the public.
Innocent: But mugshots of women like Mary A. Butts are a reminder that Edwardian stereotypes are not always accurate
Evocative: The haunting collection has apparently struck a chord with the public
Dark: The images were released by the Tyne & Wear Archives because of their unique nature
At the turn of the century North Shields, which is eight miles east of Newcastle, was an important fishing town and shipyard.
It was also crucial to the industry of the North-East, leading to widespread urban poverty which might explain some of the crime documented in these photographs.
The girls of Storyville: Haunting pictures from New Orleans' red-light district reveal how prostitutes lived 100 years ago
From luxurious palaces to decaying shacks, a series of intimate black and white photographs taken in 1912 reveal how New Orleans' prostitutes lived more than a century ago.
With his sunjects in varying states of undress, photographer E. J. Bellocq took dozens of portraits inside the brothels of Storyville - the only legalized red-light district in North America, until it was shut down in 1917.
The haunting images show madams in their finest lace and fur, with several prostitutes completely nude or lounging about playing cards, reclining amongst pillows, or having a drink.
Haunting history: A series of intimate black and white photographs taken in 1912 by E.J. Bellocq reveal how prostitutes in New Orleans' red-light district of Storyville lived more than a century ago
Storyville was a restricted red-light district that covered 16 blocks in its entirety, situated next to New Orleans's famous French Quarter.
Set up to limit prostitution to one area of the New Orleans, the authorities were able to successfully monitor and regulate the practice.
Visitors - mainly U.S. Navy Marines - could purchase a 'blue book' that alphabetically listed the names, addresses and races of more than 700 prostitutes; giving house descriptions, prices, particular services, and the 'stock' each brothel offered.
Down time: From luxurious palaces to decaying shacks, the images show several prostitutes lounging about playing cards, reclining amongst pillows, or having a drink
Poker players: Bellocq, who dies in 1949, took dozens of portraits inside the brothels of Storyville - the only legalized red-light district in North America, until it was shut down in 1917
Red-light district: Storyville covered 16 blocks in its entirety, and was set up to limit prostitution to one area of New Orleans, so the authorities could monitor and regulate the practice
After 20 years of operation, from 1897 to 1917, the U.S. Army and Navy demanded that Storyville be closed down, with the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, labeling the district as a 'bad influence.'
The New Orleans city government strongly opposed closing the legal district. After Storyville was shut down, underground houses of prostitution were subsequently set up around the city.
Decadent: Some of the images show the districts madams in their finest lace and fur
Looking in: No information is known about the subjects of Bellocq's Storyville photographs, who posed anonymously
Portraits: After they were discovered in the late Sixties, the Storyville images were first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1970
E.J. Bellocq: The photographer's Storyville portraits are his only work that is known to have survived
No information is known about the subjects of Bellocq's Storyville photographs, who posed anonymously.
More than fifty years had passed before the images were discovered in the late Sixties, by a young photographer named Lee Friedlander who had purchased and developed a collection of the late Bellocq's glass plates.
The Storyville images were then shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1970.
According to Susan Sontag's introduction in Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville, the New Orleans native, who died in 1949, was 'more or less unknown before that.'
He was mostly known locally as an amateur photographer, before making a living taking photographic records of landmarks, ships and machinery for local companies.
Bellocq's Storyville portraits are his only personal work that is known to have survived.
Sontag wrote: 'His mysterious, hauntingly beautiful portraits reached a wide audience, and Bellocq became a celebrated figure in the history of photography.'
California tops list of states with the highest mortgage debt - as residents owe an average of $313,749 EACH
Citizens in the state of California carry the most mortgage debt than any other state in the United States, it has been revealed.
In California, mortgage debt per person is $313,749, and credit card debt is at $6,434 per person, a report by Credit Karma and published in 24/7 Wall St reveals. The median house income is $57,708.
Other states that made the top ten list of mortgage stress are Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Debt disaster: A 'bank foreclosure sale' sign is posted in front of townhomes in Los Angeles, California. In December alone, one in every 252 homes was foreclosed upon
While most of the residents of the states with the highest mortgage debt have been able to support the massive mortgages despite the fact that their homes have lost significant value, California is a different story, said 24/7 Wall St.
In 2006, California had the most expensive homes in the country, with a median home value of $532,000. By 2010, that value had declined by $164,000 — more than 30 percent.
The effects of this massive decline in home prices had wide-reaching effects on the state economy. Unemployment in California is now the second-highest in the country, and 14.5 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
The average mortgage debt per person of $313,749 has been too much for thousands of residents. In December alone, one in every 252 homes was foreclosed upon, according to the report.
Most of the states on the list published on 24/7 Wall St have extremely high mortgage debt because of the size of their initial mortgages.
States where citizens carry the most mortgage debt
States such as Connecticut and Massachusetts, which have among the highest median home values in the U.S., also have among the highest mortgage debt.
Hawaii, which has the second-highest average mortgage debt per person, has the highest median home value of $525,400.
Many of the states on the list also experienced the steepest declines in home value during the recession.
Help: Housing activists hold signs as they stage a demonstration in front of a home on the verge of being foreclosed in San Francisco in November last year
Home prices in seven of the states with the highest mortgage debt declined during the recession.
In states like California and Nevada, properties lost more than 30 percent of their value. Even in states like New Jersey and Maryland, which fared relatively well during the recession, homes lost between 7 percent and 10 percent of their value.
Sharp declines in home values, coupled with high mortgage debt, should translate to financial disaster. However, while home values dropped more than 7 percent in Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey — states where mortgage debt is the highest — foreclosure rates stayed low.
Meanwhile, states with the lowest median home value and relatively high mortgage debt tend to have the highest foreclosure rates. Illinois, Michigan and Florida all have median home values below the national average and relatively high mortgage debt compared to housing prices in the state.
Nearly HALF of U.S. households live just one crisis from poverty
Nearly half of U.S. households are just one piece of bad luck - such as a job redundancy or a medical emergency - from poverty, it has emerged.
A staggering 43 per cent are 'liquid-asset poor', meaning that they are above the breadline, but don't have the savings to weather an emergency.
It means around 130 million people across the country are just one crisis away from the poverty line - and would fall beneath it within three months.
On the edge: 43 per cent of U.S. households do not have enough savings to last three months following a crisis, such as a medical emergency or redundancy
In addition, 27 per cent of American households are asset poor, the report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development found.
Along with still-high unemployment and few wage rises, the findings are yet another suggestion that the country is struggling to get back on its feet following the recession.
'Growing numbers of families have almost no savings or other assets to see them through if they lose their jobs or face a medical crisis,' said Andrea Levere, president of the advocacy group.'Without savings, few will be able to build a more economically secure future, including buying a home, saving for their children’s college educations or building a retirement nest egg.'
Speaking to the Huffington Post, the CED's Jennifer Brooks added: 'The resources that people have - they are using up those resources,'
'They're living off their savings. They're at the end of their rope.'
Shocking statistic: It means around 130 million Americans - many who are unaware of their precarious situation - are just one crisis away from the breadline
She added: 'A family that loses its job, that was maybe solidly middle class, in a state where they have restrictive asset tests, is going to have to liquidate all their assets, all their savings for the future' in order to qualify for benefits.
THE GROWTH OF POVERTY
The report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development found:
But the group warned that many of the liquid-asset poor are unaware of how delicate their situation is because they are still receiving paychecks.
'They don't necessarily realise how close people can be to one interruption to income or one interruption to health benefits,' said David Rothstein from Policy Matters Ohio, a non-profit group.
'They're one paycheck away from being in debt.'
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Rothstein said people often turn to payday lenders to cover an unexpected payout - but it can be a slippery slope.
'People say things like, it's just one mechanical problem with their car,' said Rothstein. Before they know it, he said, 'every other week, they're back at the payday lending shop'.
Recent studies have found many Americans are unprepared for emergencies due to the high cost of medical treatment and the drop in the value of house prices.
The report added that there are measures that could help liquid asset poverty, such as making greater assistance available to first-time home buyers.
Currently, 15 per cent of Americans - around 46 million people - are at or below the poverty line.