Maurice Isserman on Michael Harrington, “The Other American”
History for the Future
HFTF celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Other America: Poverty in the United States, by Michael Harrington, with an interview with Harrington’s biographer, Maurice Isserman. After publishing The Other America and before his untimely death in 1989, Michael Harrington was the U.S.’s leading democratic socialist and served as a political and social conscience to the country during the turbulent years of the 1970s and 1980s. Isserman is a professor of American history at Hamilton College and author of The Other American: The Life of Michael Harrington. On the show he discusses Michael Harrington’s “discovery” of poverty in the early 1960s, the legacy of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and the enduring significance of The Other America. He concludes by answering the question, “What would Michael Harrington say if he were alive today?”
Be sure to check out Isserman’s recent article in Dissent magazine, titled “50 Years later: Poverty and The Other America.” Also, Maurice recently participated in a great conference at the College of the Holy Cross (which Michael Harrington attended) on the “The Other America, Then and Now.” Many of the lectures, including Maurice’s and one by William Julius Wilson, can be streamed on the conference’s website.
To Listen to the Interview and Access More Resources