To Right These Wrongs

The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America

By Robert R. Korstad, James L. Leloudis

With Photographs by Billy E. Barnes

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Approx. 448 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

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When Governor Terry Sanford established the North Carolina Fund in 1963, he saw it as a way to provide a better life for the "tens of thousands whose family income is so low that daily subsistence is always in doubt." Illustrated with evocative photographs by Billy Barnes, To Right These Wrongs offers a lively account of this pioneering effort in America's War on Poverty.

Robert Korstad and James Leloudis describe how the Fund's initial successes grew out of its reliance on private philanthropy and federal dollars and its commitment to the democratic mobilization of the poor. Both were calculated tactics designed to outflank conservative state lawmakers and entrenched local interests that nourished Jim Crow, perpetuated one-party politics, and protected an economy built on cheap labor. By late 1968, when the Fund closed its doors, a resurgent politics of race had gained the advantage, led by a Republican Party that had reorganized itself around opposition to civil rights and aid to the poor.

The North Carolina Fund came up short in its battle against poverty, but its story continues to be a source of inspiration and instruction for new generations of Americans.


"The definitive story of the philanthropic North Carolina Fund."--Carolina Arts & Sciences

"To Right These Wrongs chronicles the mixed results of the Fund's efforts. . . . [and] shows in detail how some poor people made specific and substantial progress."--The Chapel Hill News

"Korstad and Leloudis's history is exceptionally well researched and documented. Their writing style is precise and analytical, and their prose is often soaring and surprisingly inspirational. . . . An invaluable contribution that should be widely studied and discussed."--Poverty & Public Policy

"Vividly records a superior achievement of the Terry Sanford years. . . . A must read if you want to learn about the cruelties of poverty while at the same time witnessing the struggle of people fighting against it."--McCormick Messenger

"A fascinating account of an inspiring, short-lived chapter in recent US history. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"As might be expected from a collaboration between two highly accomplished historians, To Right These Wrongs is diligently researched and eloquently written. . . . The strength of this book lies . . . in the personal stories of impoverished people seeking political empowerment and the basic requirements of a decent life-style."--North Carolina Historical Review