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Eradication of Poverty Still A Dream Unfulfilled



One of the most permanent aspects of our economic system is the existence of poverty. The poor have been with us since the founding of this country and expanded as the nation grew. It is the nemesis of a capitalist system and could ultimately be its Achilles Heel. 

Over the decades, many leaders, including presidents and civil rights leaders, have attempted to address poverty. But none of these programs have been successful. In 2021, 11.6%, or 37.9 million Americans, lived in poverty. Of that number, 19% were Black, and only Native Americans/Alaska Natives had a higher percentage at 24.3%. 

The first major attempt to curb poverty was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal which ran from 1933 to the outbreak of World War II. It was during the depression years, when America was on the verge of a possible revolution, led by those who were starving, that President Roosevelt stepped in and, with the assistance of a Democratic-controlled Congress, passed the unemployment compensation, welfare, social security, and minimum wage acts. However, his programs served more as a band-aid to a much larger PROBLEM. Even with these programs, the poor were still among us.

The next major attempt to address the problem of poverty was a combination of the work of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and civil rights leaders, specifically Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the famous 1963 March on Washington D.C.,  A. Phillip Randolph and Dr. King reached an agreement that the march would stress both the need to integrate, but also the importance of providing the poor and underclass job opportunities to climb out of poverty. It led to the 1964 passage of the Economic Opportunity Act. In his speech to the United States Congress, President Johnson told the Senators and members of the House of Representatives that “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty but to cure it and, above all, prevent it.” 

However, the escalation of the Vietnam War diverted President Johnson’s attention from the war on poverty to the war in a country thousands of miles from our shores. It led to a breakup of the unusual alliance between Dr. King and the President. As more money was poured into the war in Vietnam, it diminished the resources for the war against poverty. 

In his April 4, 1967, speech at Riverside Church in New York, King took aim at Johnson when he said, “There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago, there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as there was a real promise of hope for the poor…through the poverty programs. Then came the buildup in Vietnam…and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor.”

The following year, Dr. King went to work organizing what would become known as the “Poor People’s Campaign.” Before his assassination, he planned to erect a tent city on the National Mall to bring national attention to the plight of the poor and away from the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to successfully carry out that mission for those millions of people suffering from poverty. Since 56 years ago, more emphasis has been placed on blaming the poor for their plight than solving it. Under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan, who dismantled the Office of Economic Opportunity, the blame for their plight was placed on the poor, especially Black Americans. Reagan coined the term “Welfare Queen” with the subtle implication that all Black women recipients were buying Cadillacs with welfare checks. It was especially an attack from the more conservative Republican Party, suggesting that welfare recipients were just too lazy to get a job and there were sufficient opportunities for them to work. The additional argument from conservatives, who oppose welfare and other programs designed to bring some financial relief to the poor, is that it creates a dependency on government assistance among the poor. For some reason, their attacks were never directed at the poor white population, probably because they needed their vote as part of their coalition to win office.

As the country moves into a new phase of divided government in Washington D. C. and a tendency to return as many federal programs as possible to the more conservative states, the plight of the poor will continue. Dr. King’s dream of a time when this country would achieve equality of the races may be true when it comes to eliminating segregated facilities, but it is still nothing more than a dream when it addresses the problem of poverty in America.


Downtown SA Lights Up for the Holidays



Downtown San Antonio will sparkle this holiday season with an array of lights and holiday events. 

Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most historic and charming walkways, five blocks of Houston Street will buzz with twinkling lights, decorations, entertainers, and vendors from Nov. 24 and runs through January 2. 

 Additionally, on Nov. 24, kick off the holiday festivities with the Annual H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Travis Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include live entertainment, food trucks, letters to Santa, giveaways, holiday crafts, a special visit from Santa, and a movie screening of “The Grinch.” The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 

Get front-row seats to the 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade, which offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk starting at 6 pm at the Tobin Center. This year’s theme, “Holiday Stories,” will kick off the San Antonio tradition. Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. Seating ranges from $15 to $40. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.

The Rotary Ice Rink, presented by Valero, will also return this fall at Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Since 2019, nearly 200,000 people have enjoyed the rink and surrounding festivities. For more information, including hours of operation, pricing, and specials, visit (

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Black Life Texas

Carver Annual Fundraiser Dec. 2



The Carver Development Board presents the Cavalcade of the Stars on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Center. 

This annual fundraiser benefits the Carver’s School for Visual & Performing Arts’ Artist Residency/Master Class Program, summer camps, Youth Matinee Series, and supports the education programs of the Carver Community Cultural Center. The title fundraiser is Valero.

The night will start with a reception and silent auction at 5:30 pm. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm, and the show begins at 8 pm featuring Kiland Kyham, also known as Mr. Houston. Kyham is a gifted and powerful author, singer, and songwriter. He has performed and produced with such music legends as Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Johnathon Butler, and Smokey Robinson. He has written over 400 song jingles and has produced numerous projects. 

For over 75 years, The Carver Community Cultural Center (“The Carver”) has served as the San Antonio Eastside’s foremost gathering place of cultural exchange and performance arts. It was originally erected in 1918 as a community center for African-Americans. By the 1930s, the building was repurposed as the Colored Library and renamed the Carver Library and Auditorium in honor of Dr. George Washington Carver. From the 1940s through the Civil Rights Era, prominent African-American entertainers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong played at the Carver. 

Individual tickets for the Cavalcade of the Stars are $250 or $2,500 per table. For more information, visit (

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Black Life Texas

Free Native American Festival at the Briscoe



Highlighting the continued vibrancy and artistic traditions of Native American communities – and the local tribes who helped shape San Antonio – the Briscoe Western Art Museum invites everyone to enjoy its annual Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 am to 4 pm. 

The event is free and includes admission to the Briscoe, making it a perfect way to celebrate the vital role Native Americans played in shaping the West while enjoying art and artifacts that highlight Native American history.

The community festival features live performances, storytelling, artist demonstrations, pottery and carving, as well as Native American-inspired food, including REZR’vation Only, a food truck featuring Native American-inspired cuisine that is owned and operated by a registered member of the Navajo Nation. The event starts with a Native American spiritual blessing, followed by a ceremonial drum circle that invites everyone to join. 

The annual event is named in honor of the Payaya people, who were indigenous to the San Antonio area. “Yanaguana” was the word they used to describe what is now known as the San Antonio River. The festival has been held annually since the museum opened, with 2020’s event taking place virtually. 

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