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Alumna Karen M. Hawkins writes history of the war on poverty in Eastern North Carolina

 |  Ingrid Hoffius

We are proud to announce that N.C. State alumna Karen M. Hawkins (BA ’05, MA ’07) has written a groundbreaking new study, Everybody’s Problem: The War on Poverty in Eastern North Carolina, on the impact and successes of the antipoverty efforts in Eastern North Carolina between 1963 and 1980. Published by the University Press of Florida, the book demonstrates that “While many scholars have argued that confrontation and protest were the most effective ways for the poor to empower themselves during the social change of the 1960s…moderate leadership and biracial cooperation were sometimes just as forceful.  Everybody’s Problem shows these values at play in the nation’s first rural-based Community Action Agency to receive federal funding as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.” Using previously untapped primary sources such as oral interviews with antipoverty workers and local citizens, records from the U.S. Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, and documents from the North Carolina Fund, the book “adds to the story of the factors that helped lower poverty rates and advance economic development during the 1960s and beyond.”

Karen Hawkins (formerly Karen Medlin) earned her B.A. and M.A. in History with honors at N.C. State between 2001 and 2007 where she also ran track and cross country for the Wolfpack for four years. Hawkins first began researching into Eastern North Carolina as part of her master’s thesis on the civil rights movement in New Bern, directed by Dr. Blair L.M. Kelley. Hawkins expanded her research into the relationship between civil rights and antipoverty efforts in the area as a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (class of 2012). Everybody’s Problem is a revised version of her completed dissertation, directed by Thomas F. Jackson.

Hawkins is currently teaching AP US History, AP Research, and American History I at Voyager Academy High School in Durham.

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