By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s kinfolk of 4 may don't have any money source of revenue except she donated plasma two times every week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago frequently don't have any meals yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Extra info for $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
If welfare’s chief nemesis, Ronald Reagan, had failed, who possibly stood a chance? David Ellwood was comfortable in his role as Harvard professor. He had sharp blue eyes, a scruffy beard, and a slight wave to his hair when it needed a trim. He was the smart kid who came to Harvard for college and never left, landing his first job as a professor there right after graduate school. The son of an influential Minnesota physician (who is credited with inventing the concept of the health maintenance organization, or HMO), Ellwood was raised to be a shaper of policy.
Four bright white napkins embellished with the same embroidery as the tablecloth have been carefully folded and placed in large crystal goblets. It is hard to imagine a more elegant table at which to share a meal. Yet here it sits—never used, never disturbed—accompanied by a single chair. This table harks back to a different era, a better time in the life of Susan’s family, when owning this house in this part of Chicago signaled the achievement of middle-class African American respectability. Before the economic anchors of this far South Side neighborhood closed down—the steel yards in the 1960s, the historic Pullman railway car company by the early 1980s, and the mammoth Sherwin-Williams paint factory in 1995—Roseland was a community with decent-paying, stable jobs.
After moving in with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend began coming on to Modonna. Meanwhile, the foster child Modonna’s mother had taken in—and now doted on—began taunting Brianna, ridiculing her over her late-to-develop figure, her “nappy hair,” and the fact that she didn’t have a home. Finally, Brianna broke. After a particularly vicious verbal attack by the girl, Brianna grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter and threatened to cut her own throat. The incident was deemed a suicide attempt, and Brianna was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and remained there for nearly a month.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer