Lee Russell/Library of Congress

Young girls play in Lafayette, La., October 1938.

Profiles: Amelia Jackson

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 


Photo by Bob Spencer

Amelia Jackson


Born 1927
Deland, Fla.

Lived in Rich Springs, S.C., and moved to Washington, D.C., in the late 1930s. 

We didn’t have to worry about food or anything because everybody down South was neighborly like and everybody shared. When they killed hogs, they shared the meat. The white people down there, we didn’t know anything about that down there because their children played with us down there.

The women did beautiful sewing for children. They shared meats when they killed hogs and different things. We all shared like it was a big family.

I couldn’t have things like some of the children had, like Girl Scout things and all. Mother had to get the older ones, and I had to be last. I just thank God that I made it so far. 

Interview by Michael Lawson


What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.


Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

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Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.