Paul Carter/Library of Congress

Workers having lunch in Newport News Homesteads in Virginia, September 1936.

Profiles: Queen Moore

Saturday, December 24th, 2011 


Photo by Bob Spencer

Queen Moore


Born 1920
Brookneal, Va.

During the Depression, her father worked building a road in Brookneal. 

He worked hard and they paid him 25 cents an hour. We didn’t starve or anything we didn’t get what we wanted all the time, but we had love for one another. There were eight of us children. My grandmother moved in with us after my grandfather died. It got a little better after a while.

I was raised up on a farm. My daddy used to raise tobacco. It got so bad people didn’t want to pay you for what you raised. So my mother went to New York and got a job to support us. My daddy worked on the farm but wasn’t getting too much money, though.

Ain’t thought nothing about any money because we didn’t have any. If you don’t have something, it’s not going to bother you if you don’t know anything about it.

What you didn’t have, you had to do without and make ends meet the best way you can. I learned a whole lot by not having anything.

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.