Idealism on Trial

Part of the Clinical Sociology: Research and Practice book series (CSRP)


The St. Nicholas Welfare Center stood in the heart of Harlem. Located in a multistory brick office building on 125th Street, it had a well-worn, kind of grimy atmosphere, with grey metal desks and institutional green walls. Inside, it was not a place of joy; on one floor, plodding and perpetually glum caseworkers sat mostly bent over piles of case folders, and on another milling and quarrelsome clients impatiently awaited their turn to be interviewed. The sounds and sights outside were those of a poor section of the city. Most of 125th Street was a shopping strip where inexpensive furniture stores jostled for limited business with shoe outlets and small-scale groceries. On the surrounding side streets solid tenements were crowded with large families and grim-faced transients. In front of them, brownstone stoops led down to asphalt roadways lined with automobiles and sidewalks that hosted a sporadic pedestrian traffic.


Methadone Clinic Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Heroin Craving State Vocational Rehabilitation Ferry Boat 
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Notes and References

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    For an overview of the welfare system see Cozic, C. (1997). Welfare Reform. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press. For an assessment of some of its difficulties see: Gordon, L. (1994). Pittied But Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare. New York: Free Press. One of the best critiques of the 60s is found in Magnet, M. (1993). The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties Legacy to the Underclass. New York: William Morrow, while a chilling review of the decade’s darker side is on view in Collier, P. & Horowitz, D. (1996). Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the’ 60s. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
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    One of the pioneers of this treatment was Marie Nyswander, whose story is told in Hentoff, N. (1968). A Doctor Among the Addicts. New York: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
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© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

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