Book

Abandoned in the Heartland

Jennifer Hamer

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780520269316
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950177 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520269316.001.0001
Abandoned in the Heartland

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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, and 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. This book 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. It 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, the book, full of stories of courage and fortitude, offers a vision of the transformed circumstances of life in one American suburb.

Keywords: urban poverty; working-class suburbs; industrial suburbs; East St. Louis; Illinois; unemployment; crime; infrastructure; African American

Book.  262 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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Table of Contents

Prologue in Abandoned in the Heartland

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In America's Heartland in Abandoned in the Heartland

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Hustling, Clean and Dirty in Abandoned in the Heartland

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“Gotta Protect My Own” in Abandoned in the Heartland

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The Cost of Abandonment in Abandoned in the Heartland

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Epilogue in Abandoned in the Heartland

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