Politics

50 years of the 'war on poverty'

Published 6:07 PM ET, Wed January 8, 2014
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U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visits a family in Inez, Kentucky, during a tour of poverty-stricken areas of the country in April 1964. Earlier that year, Johnson declared a "war on poverty" in his State of the Union address. He then worked with Congress to pass more than 200 pieces of legislation, which included early education programs and social safety nets such as Medicare and Medicaid. Bettmann/CORBIS
In 1971, a woman and child rest in their room at a New York City hotel for people living on welfare. Johnson's programs significantly reduced the poverty rate during his time in office, but it was still in the double digits (12.1%) when he left in 1969. Jill Freedman/Getty Images
Unemployed Americans stand in line at a New York welfare office in 1974. Economic crises gripped the country in the early '70s and, in many ways, dampened America's focus on the war on poverty. Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images
President Jimmy Carter, a man who rode into the White House as an anti-government Washington outsider, lessened the focus on the war on poverty. "Government cannot solve our problems," he said in his 1978 State of the Union address. AP
A woman in 1987 participates in a workforce program that trains and finds new jobs for people on welfare. Michael L. Abramson//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
During a 1991 commencement speech given by President George H. W. Bush at Yale University, attendees hold signs that read, "George, don't turn your back on urban poor." Like Carter, Bush was more concerned with other issues during his presidency. Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
A Medicaid recipient brings her daughter to a hospital in 1995. Medicaid, a federally run health program, was designed to provide coverage for low-income and disabled individuals. Steve Liss//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
In 2005, displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina rest inside a shelter set up at the Superdome in New Orleans. Advocacy groups estimate homelessness in the city more than doubled in the aftermath of the storm. The disaster fueled dialogue on poverty and race relations in America. Mario Tama/Getty Images
A mother unloads groceries purchased with food stamps in 2013. The federal food assistance program established by President Johnson in 1964 still helps many low-income Americans put food on the table today. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images