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Abandoned in the HeartlandWork, Family, and Living in East St. Louis$
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Jennifer Hamer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520269316

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520269316.001.0001

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Work and Meaning in a Jobless Suburb

Work and Meaning in a Jobless Suburb

(p.76) Chapter Three Work and Meaning in a Jobless Suburb
Abandoned in the Heartland

Jennifer F. Hamer

University of California Press

Contrary to popular belief, many black men and women want to work and actually do. Most black men and women do the work that is hardly noticed. Joblessness, underemployment, and poverty wages have been the hallmark of inner-city neighborhoods, not the suburbs. Unemployment rates in East St. Louis were strikingly high well before the high profile of massive layoffs. The East St. Louisans were clear and articulate about how their basic life circumstances affected decisions pertaining to jobs and work. East St. Louis was declared a federal Empowerment Zone in 1998. Whether low-income communities benefited on the whole from Empowerment Zone initiatives was questionable. People in East St. Louis want good jobs and the good life these are expected to bring.

Keywords:   joblessness, underemployment, poverty wages, unemployment, East St. Louis, work, Empowerment Zone

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