Listening to Joseph: How Today's Community Healers Can Revive Our Streets and Neighborhoods

Robert L. Woodson, Author
Robert L. Woodson, Author Free Press $20 (176p) ISBN 978-0-684-82742-1
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The name in the title refers to the biblical Joseph, whom the Egyptian king turned to for interpretation of his dreams. It is Woodson's thesis that antipoverty and antidiscrimination measures have failed to alleviate black poverty, vanquish drug addiction and violence and end racial discrimination because public and private organizations are dominated by those who profit from them, providing jobs and careers for thousands, many of whom have no contact with or regard for those they serve. He cites studies, for example, showing that more than 40% of blacks oppose welfare, busing and antidiscrimination measures, although the NAACP leadership supports them. Founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation ""genius"" award, Woodson questions whether the high rate of black unemployment is due to poor education, though he argues that the same schooling also produces many successful black entrepreneurs. The solution to many black problems, he asserts, lies within the black community, which contains the proper leaders--some of whom know intimately the conditions, often from having lived the lives of addicts and criminals but who now have a mission to heal. This provocative thesis is forcefully presented. (Jan.)
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