Visiting Youngstown

“I’m at work most of the day, and I’m so tired at night that I just go to bed as soon as I’ve eaten supper. I have ideas of what a home ought to be, all right, but the way things are now I just eat and sleep here.” – Jim Barr, steelworker, 1910

A couple of days ago I went to Youngstown, Ohio, for a meeting with John Russo, co-founder and co-director (along with Sherry Lee Linkon) of the Center for Working-Class Studies at Youngstown State University. I discovered Russo and Linkon through their co-authored book Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown. (I have yet to review the book here, though I intend to. Suffice it to say it is one of the most successful academic works in the country.) After the meeting I spent a couple of hours wandering and wondering about the city. Below is a photo gallery with a few shots using my very amateurish iPhone. I’ve included some interesting bits of history along in the photo captions.

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4 thoughts on “Visiting Youngstown

  1. hyphenman

    Good morning Rana,

    My travels in Asia during the ’70s greatly influenced this South-Eastern Ohio country boy’s concepts of poverty, power and politics. How did you feel viewing what most in Northeastern Ohio view as terrible poverty and devastation when seen through the lens of your own travels?

    Do all you can to make today a good day,


    1. rbkhoury Post author

      Good morning Jeff,

      That’s a great question. I can relate to your change of perception after living outside the US. I also lived in Asia for one year (Singapore) and the Middle East (Syria) for another. Broadly, I would make two observations.

      First, poverty elsewhere is more severe, systemic and structural. This reinforces the idea of relativity, wherein one poverty is worse than another poverty. But sometimes even where poverty is relatively worse – like Syria – one finds other aspects of life that mitigate the pain, such as large families, which we don’t have to the same degree here.

      Second, parts of Asia are modernizing and advancing at such a pace that the relativity of wealth is actually turned around on us. While the standard of living across Asia is on the rise – even if they are quantitatively not as wealthy as Americans – our standards of living seem to be declining. And having traveled extensively, I have noticed that we are not entirely cognizant of this transformation.

      More could be said and I’d like to hear you or other say it!


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