One Man's Account of His Life in Poverty

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(Flickr user michael_stahl/flickr)

Kelvin Whitehurst, is 28 years old, lives in Nashville, Tenn., and has lived most of his life in and out of poverty. He believes it was the lack of drive to succeed during his school years that contributed to most of his life living under the poverty line. That lack of motivation, he says, came from not having anyone show him the right way, which he did not recieve when he was a child living in foster care.


Kelvin Whitehurst

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [2]

Diane from Boston, Ma

I grew up in the neighborhood portrayed in the HBO seriesThe Wire--inner city Baltimore. Part of the culture of poverty was a deep sense of hopelessness -life would never change for us. We had a desperation which caused us to live for the day since the future would not be any different. No one to teach us how to delay gratification to achieve a long term goal. I did not think I would live beyond my 20's. Why not engage in criminal behavior, have babies, eat lots of food, become obese. Who is going to care? I was bused out to the suburbs in high school because of high academic testing scores. That is where I saw houses with windows on all sides, met kids who did not know desperation, walked on sidewalks where I was not in danger. I escaped after seeing this other side. I worked full time and went to school full time. Obtained a bachelor's degree then a master's degree. I am (still) a caucasian woman, 60 years old who lives in a house with windows on all sides. I was lucky-I saw another side that channeled my desperation into determination and hope that I too could live like those other people.

Oct. 19 2010 07:03 AM
Candida Fink from New Rochelle NY

An important, typically undexamined, root of persistent poverty is unrecognized and untreated mental illness and learning problems. You mentioned access to healthcare and education as core issues and these particular threads in those narratives play far more of a role than people realize. The concept that everyone can just "pull themselves of by the bootsraps" is a common, trite and false assertion - many people struggle with unseen mental health and learning needs that prevent utilizing the current resources out there - without less stigma, more awareness and more acccess to effective supports, these powerful forces will continue to keep people in poverty.

Oct. 19 2010 06:35 AM

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