Abandoned in the Heartland by Jennifer Hamer

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Urban poverty, along with all of its poignant manifestations, is moving from city centers to working-class and industrial suburbs in contemporary America. Nowhere is this more evident than in East St. Louis, Illinois. Once a thriving manufacturing and transportation center, East St. Louis is now known for its unemployment, crime, and collapsing infrastructure. Abandoned in the Heartland takes us into the lives of East St. Louis’s predominantly African American residents to find out what has happened since industry abandoned the city, and jobs, quality schools, and city services disappeared, leaving people isolated and imperiled. Jennifer Hamer introduces men who search for meaning and opportunity in dead-end jobs, women who often take on caretaking responsibilities until well into old age, and parents who have the impossible task of protecting their children in this dangerous, and literally toxic, environment. Illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs showing how the city has changed over time, this book, full of stories of courage and fortitude, offers a powerful vision of the transformed circumstances of life in one American suburb.

About Jennifer Hamer

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Jennifer F. Hamer is Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Kansas. She is the author of What It Means to Be Daddy: Fatherhood for Black Men Living Away from Their Children.
Published September 1, 2011 by University of California Press. 281 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

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