1966 CBS News Special “The Tenement” Shows Drive to Keep Blacks Poor and Disenfranchised (video)


I found this video very interesting and informative when it comes to where we are as a black community today. It’s not that I didn’t know all of this but I was extremely young when it was happening. It’s both painful and educational to see how we were severely misled as a community.

Black people in the 60s had nothing but church. Long before the mega-churches and the massive grants were given to churches they were usually small buildings that brought together Black people who were desperately trying to maintain a sense of sanity. What is very interesting, is how CBS does this show like they are visiting a Zoo, it’s hard to decipher if this was supposed to be exploitive or informative perhaps both. At the end of the day, it’s a good thing they did it.

Scene from “The Tenement” 1966, CBS TV

What is generally upsetting is how many of the black people who have given up on having any hopes and dreams for the future. Projects were available but only if the Black woman got rid of her husband. This was the epiitome of discrimination and racism. Black men could not find jobs and then were asked to abandon their families so that the system could take care of his kids and wife.

These people were so misled and misinformed and they had no resources or education. They had to send their kids to school hungry because they didn’t have food and the black men who were now without families AND work hung on the corners and drank all day. Some would say this would start much earlier when they were boys preparing them for the prison pipeline to do free labor for the same companies that refused to hire them when they were free.

Considering in prison they got meals and a place to live it’s easy to see how many black men preferred it over being on the streets. This is a great video to better understand what we have always been up against and how blessed some of us are who dared to dream and who were able to escape this.

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