"Dan's War on Poverty" tells the story of Dan Allen, a crusading priest who fought for the poor, and how he and a small group of his volunteers changed their community. Father Allen created the Neighbor for Neighbor program in the 1960s to offer unquestioning help for the needy and social-justice education for those who came to help. His idea was that a neighbor for helping a neighbor in need. A person who received help one day would be helping others the next day. Dan and his volunteers fearlessly took on the most serious problems of the day,
"Dan's War on Poverty" tells the story of Dan Allen, a crusading priest who fought for the poor, and how he and a small group of his volunteers changed their community. Father Allen created the Neighbor for Neighbor program in the 1960s to offer unquestioning help for the needy and social-justice education for those who came to help. His idea was that a neighbor for helping a neighbor in need. A person who received help one day would be helping others the next day. Dan and his volunteers fearlessly took on the most serious problems of the day, including racial prejudice, hunger, illness, transportation, public services, housing, and many others and, in that process, discovered self respect and inspiration. In the process, they created lasting institutions such as the Northeastern Oklahoma Food Bank and Tulsa's acclaimed voluntary school desegregation program. Dan died in 1995, but his legacy continues, in the people and institutions he changed. "Dan's War on Poverty" is a book of stories -- true parables -- of Dan and his volunteers -- ordinary people who did extraordinary things on behalf of the common good.
"Dan's War on Poverty" doesn't just tell you what [Dan] Allen did for Tulsa's poor. It shows you. The nonfiction book uses the words of Allen and those who knew him -- and who ultimately became the heart of the nonprofit organization Allen created -- to tell the story of poverty in Tulsa from the 1960s to the 1980s....Patton's book [is] more than a mere biography but one that practically takes readers back in time as Neighbor for Neighbor tackled these problems.
Patton is a well-known journalist who writes with the spare style of the life-long newspaper reporter she is. She finds a great story and just gets out of the way and lets it tell itself....as a Catholic priest sent to Tulsa to help unite four northside churches, two black, two white,Dan jumped in and declared a personal war on poverty. Behind his desk (when he had a desk, since he many times gave [his desk] away), was a simple banner that said it all, "Give a Damn"....
Tulsa People Magazine
Patton's written history is spellbinding because she lived it and reported it.... She explains school desegregation so lovingly and expertly, the reader will gain insight and compassion for white and black citizens who volunteered to risk personal harm to smooth the transition order from the Supreme Court.... Eventually, magnet schools became the unified, humane integration system in Tulsa and the national model for community leadership....Read "Dan's War on Poverty" for its superb storytelling.
Urban Tulsa Weekly
Grassroots Justice: New book details Tulsa in the '60s, a crusading priest, and the patchwork quilt of community that holds us together....Father Allen was an icon whose campaign against poverty created buzz amid the civil rights struggles of the 1960s....In Patton's poetic prose, she describes those early NFN days...[and] the way Allen and NFN's volunteers viewed their community. 'They worked together to do what would seem impossible,' Patton said. Small-scale activism, she said, has power....
The Current Magazine
"Dan's War on Poverty" by Ann Patton is an inspiring tale about the poor people of North Tulsa and a Catholic priest, Father Dan Allen, who inspired his community to step in and do something.... Father Dan's struggle for justice inspired his cohorts then, and now, and through the book can inspire us again to rail against social injustice....Patton has written a tremendous book [that] will awaken a part of you that may be dormant and change the way you look at your neighbor.
Ann Patton wrote about Dan Allen and his work when she was a Tulsa World reporter in the 1970s. She is a Tulsa-based writer and consultant who has worked on and written about urban affairs and social justice issues for more than 40 years. More information about Ann is available on her website at AnnPatton.net.