Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group

Overview

Seeds of Change goes beyond the headlines of the last presidential campaign to describe what really happened in ACORN's massive voter registration drives, why it triggered an unrelenting attack by Fox News and the Republican Party and how it confronted its internal divisions and scandals.

Based on John Atlas's own eyewitness original reporting, as the only journalist to have access to ACORN's staff and board meetings, this book documents the critical transition from founder Wade...

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Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group

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Overview

Seeds of Change goes beyond the headlines of the last presidential campaign to describe what really happened in ACORN's massive voter registration drives, why it triggered an unrelenting attack by Fox News and the Republican Party and how it confronted its internal divisions and scandals.

Based on John Atlas's own eyewitness original reporting, as the only journalist to have access to ACORN's staff and board meetings, this book documents the critical transition from founder Wade Rathke, a white New Orleans radical, to Bertha Lewis, a Brooklyn African American activist, as well as future plans for a decentralized ACORN.

The book dispels the conservative myth that we can only help the poor through private soup kitchens and charity and the liberal myth that the solution rests simply with more government services. Seeds of Change not only provides a gripping look at ACORN's four decades of effective organizing but also offers a hopeful analysis of the potential for a revival of real American democracy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826517067
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


John Atlas, a longtime public interest lawyer, writer, and organizer, is a founder and current president of the National Housing Institute, which publishes Shelterforce. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The Huffington Post, The Star Ledger, The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Tikkun, The Nation, Dissent, New Jersey Reporter, and Social Policy.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Preface xi

Introduction 1

1 Wade Rathke and the Roots of ACORN 9

2 Stepping onto a Larger Stage 19

3 ACORN's Model T 29

4 The Innovation of Electoral Politics 37

5 Organizing a Union in the 'Hood 47

6 Partnering with the Enemy 58

7 Urban Homesteading 73

8 Political Ground Shifts 80

9 New York: A New Model 88

10 A Living Wage 99

11 Never Borrow Money Needlessly: ACORN and the Subprime Crisis 118

12 ACORN's Family Party 132

13 Atlantic Yards, the Nets, and the Battle of Brooklyn 138

14 Then, Overnight, It Is Washed Away 156

15 A Rich Gumbo 178

16 The Right to Vote 205

17 Growing Pains 219

18 The Prostitute and the Assault 236

Epilogue: A Progressive Social Movement 251

Appendix A Finding and Developing Leaders 259

Appendix B Running Voter-Registration Campaigns 265

Acknowledgments 267

Notes 269

Bibliography 307

Index 325

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