Beginning today the Monitor is devoting a major portion of space to the causes and effects of poverty among black Americans living in the inner city. Two reporters, one black and one white, spent more than three months in four low-income black communities: New York's Harlem, Watts in Los Angeles, Washington, and Detroit, and a photographer traveled with them for much of that time. They interviewed scores of black Americans in and out of the inner city, as well as black and white professionals, social workers, scholars, and policymakers.
Our special gratitude goes to Janet, who is the subject of the lead-off story, and all the other individuals who allowed their lives to be portrayed.
The aim of the series, ``Exiles Among Us: Poor and Black in America,'' is to increase the reader's understanding of the plight of inner-city blacks; to examine the causes of relentless poverty and its effects: crime, teen pregnancy, illiteracy, family breakdown; and to highlight some ideas and programs that point toward possible solutions.
Today's four-page installment begins on Page 1; it will be followed by eight-page sections next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each installment has been broken into several short segments for ease of reading, but the series should be read as a whole to gain a proper perspective.
An effort such as this will not please all black or all white readers. Some will feel that too much detail on the negative side of black inner-city life has been included; others that the portrait of that life is not bleak enough. But the men, women, and children our readers will meet in these pages are very real. They face problems that should be the concern of every American.