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Entry Category: Poverty - Starting with P


Pellagra is a form of malnutrition caused by a severe deficiency of niacin (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3) in the diet. The disease affected thousands of Arkansans and other Southerners in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Symptoms of pellagra can include lack of energy, outbreaks of red splotches on the skin, diarrhea, and—in extreme cases—depression, dementia, and even death. Pellagra is not contagious, and the condition can be reversed. The lethargic appearance of pellagra victims was also a symptom of two other diseases widely found in the South at the time, hookworm and malaria. These three contributed to the false stereotype of Southerners at this time as lazy. Pellagra was first recognized as a disease in 1762 …


aka: Poor Farms
The use of the poorhouse came to the United States during the nineteenth century and was based on a model used in England during the Industrial Revolution. A poorhouse was meant to be a place to which people could be sent if they were not able to support themselves financially. It was believed that these institutions would be a cheaper alternative to the “outdoor relief” (relief requested from a community) that a community sometimes provided. Although this may not have been the case, the poorhouse was a significant institution in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, providing relief to the poor prior to the establishment of welfare systems. The aiding of a pauper by another person in the community was …


In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the national average of individuals living in poverty was 13.2 percent. At 17.3 percent, Arkansas tied for second among states with the highest poverty rates. The two states with the highest poverty rates are adjacent to Arkansas: Mississippi was the highest with 21.2 percent, and Louisiana second highest at 17.3 percent. They were followed by West Virginia at 17 percent and Kentucky, which tied Arkansas with 17.3 percent. Seven of the top ten impoverished states were in the South. Historical Background The story of poverty in the South is the story of economic development and social changes over time. Patterns of poverty in Arkansas have developed and fluctuated over time in relation …

Pugh, Johnnie B.

Johnnie Pugh, a pioneer in community organizing, advocacy, and activism, was instrumental in building one of the first multiracial social organizations in Arkansas. Pugh was also an Arkansan New Party pioneer, city director, nurse, and businesswoman. Johnnie Beatrice Newton was born on October 1, 1926, in Snyder (Ashley County) to Moses (Mote) Newton and Odessa Newton. She began living with her aunt, Mannie Phillips, at an early age to attend school and church in Mount Olive (Ashley County). As the school did not exceed the ninth grade, she returned to Hamburg (Ashley County) and worked in the fields. She also helped to deliver babies in Bradley County while practicing midwifery and worked in private home cleaning. In December 1948, she …