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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Chapter 1 - America Discovers Poverty One fine morning in the mid-1960s, unable to ignore for a moment longer the relentless drumbeat of the civil rights movement, the insulated and comfortable citizenry of the richest, most powerful country in the world awoke to discover injustice and suffering in their midst. Quite suddenly, and for a very brief period of time, the human face of poverty became the subject of choice for the national magazines that both shaped and reflected the popular cul- ture of the day. On coffee tables all across America appeared grainy black-and-white images of the distended bellies of children living in the Mississippi Delta, of soot-streaked faces staring vacantly at the camera from the front porches of Appalachian shacks, and of listless inner-city children in diapers clutching bottles on the cracked linoleum floors they shared with the neighborhood rats. In the 1960s, a decade in which publicly financed kindergarten was optional and the explosion in child care and preschool still barely on the horizon, most children of poverty encountered the educational system for the first time around the age of six. Unlike their middle-class competitors, these children were coming to school hungry—but no one was serving breakfast, and there really was no such thing as a free lunch, not even in school. Most of these children had spent their critical early years without ever having seen 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL