Marion Post Walcott/Library of Congress

"Part of Florida home in wealthy residential section. Miami Beach, Fla." April 1939.

Profiles: Frank Luke

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 

Born 1935

It is as it is now, except now it’s much more expanded in that there were the haves, as in any city, and the have-nots. I understood that we were on the have-nots side even though, like I say, I didn’t feel deprived. I would often in my school days take a bus ride that would take me through the residential area that was really upscale, just to enjoy that feeling. Not really being envious, but recognizing that there was a real big difference — the way they lived and the way I lived.

My mother told that there was a 10-year period of recovery, and I think that they’re talking about it like that now. As far as similarities go, I can imagine that there was a whole lot of similarities about joblessness, about mortgages not being met, about the employment situation, about salaries and so forth. But in those days I don’t know if people were that sour about things and that angry. But that’s only my unscientific observation.

Interview by Michael Lawson

This profile was produced with help from sources in the Public Insight Network from American Public Media.

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.