Making a New Federal Program

Model Cities, 1964–68
  • Edward C. Banfield


During the evening of the first full day of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency—at 7:40 P.M. on November 23,1963, to be precise—Walter Heller, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, came to tell him that three days before his assassination President Kennedy had approved a suggestion that the council and the Bureau of the Budget develop a program to alleviate poverty. They were thinking, Heller said, in terms of pilot projects to be tried in a few cities. The president was enthusiastic, but he wanted something “big and bold.” A program for just a few cities could never be propelled through Congress and, in any case, it would be regarded as another example of “tokenism” by black leaders whose growing anger was a matter of concern to him. A few weeks later, in his first State of the Union Address, he declared “unconditional war on poverty in America.” The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was created almost at once.


Task Force Urban Renewal Federal Program Citizen Participation Model City 
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  1. Policy and Politics in America: Six Case Studies, ed. Alan P. Sindler (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1973), 124–158. Copyright 1973 by Edward C. Ban field.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward C. Banfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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