Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace Essay

Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace Essay

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Today's world is filled with both great tragedy and abundant joy. In a densely populated metropolis like New York City, on a quick walk down a street you encounter homeless people walking among the most prosperous. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten the prosperous person will trudge straight past the one in need without a second thought. A serious problem arises when this happens continually. The problem worsens when you enter a different neighborhood and the well-to-do are far from sight. Many neighborhoods are inhabited only by the most hopeless of poverty - ridden people while others downtown or across the park do not care, or are glad to be separated from them. Such is the problem in New York City today and in Mott Haven in Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace. I have lived in New York City all my life and I had no idea that these problems were going on so close to home. If I live about three miles away from Mott Haven and I am not aware of the situation there, then who is?

Chapter 1 of Amazing Grace opens with a startling fact. It tells the reader that when one boards the Number 6 train from Manhattan to the South Bronx on East 59th Street "you are in the seventh richest congressional district in the nation." When you get off the train on Brook Avenue just eighteen minutes later "you are in the poorest." Brook Avenue is in Mott Haven, which has a population of 48,000. They make up the neediest people in the South Bronx. The average household income is $7,600; thirty-five percent of the people who live there are children. The neighborhood's focal point seems to be St. Ann's Church. Considering that these people are the poorest of the poor they have an amazing abundance of faith. Crack-cocaine and heroin addiction run rampant, ...


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...out and reacts to the despicable conditions in Mott Haven, nothing will be done. In order to speak out the public must be informed. Perhaps this can be accomplished by an outspoken member of the Mott Haven Community. Maybe even Mrs. Washington's son or Cliffie's mother.If they would contact one of the popular newsmagazines I am convinced that at least one of them would take interest. Until I started reading the book I was totally unaware of Mott Haven. I think the nation would be astonished to learn of the conditions there. If there is any compassion in the world at all I think the nation would force the government to act by speaking out. If Guiliani will not do anything maybe and hopefully some of the powerful players in Washington will. Not just city wide, but nationwide interest, must be raised. Then and only then do I think there is a possibility for improvement.

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