Books That Inspire 2011

The Other America: Poverty in the United States
Michael Harrington

My first class at OU in 1967 was a sociology class with Professor George Henderson. Even though he was brand new to OU and university teaching, Dr. Henderson was a confident, charismatic teacher with a strong social conscience.

The first book Dr. Henderson assigned was The Other America where Michael Harrington convincingly described a world where vast numbers of urban poor remained invisible within all levels of the political system and affluent commuters breezed over and through hidden pockets of poverty.

Harrington's 1962 book was a powerful agenda-setting force for the "Great Society" anti-poverty programs that would be enacted during my time at OU. The Other America greatly influenced my perspective on poverty in America and continues to influence me today.

Joe Foote
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication