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Gittleman, M. (1971-72). The Devil has Slippery Shoes. Polly Greenberg. New York: Macmillan Co., 1969. 704.. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(4):642-643.

(1971-72). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(4):642-643

The Devil has Slippery Shoes. Polly Greenberg. New York: Macmillan Co., 1969. 704.

Review by:
Martin Gittleman

This volume recaptures that time when so many of us felt it readily feasible to translate dreams into reality and to heal social pathology by action. The book tells the story of the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM), the Office of Economic Opportunity-financed Head Start project designed to provide day care centers for the children of Mississippi.

Conceived just after the emotional “Freedom Summer” of 1964, the CDGM had a host of enemies and almost no friends. The Mississippi power structure was not about to allow another group of “carpetbaggers” and agitators to establish a foothold in the state. Those in the black community who were involved in organizing and changing the system were suspicious that, at best, CDGM was a co-option effort on the part of the OEO. Many felt that it would, by offering new careers for the poor, direct the energies of some of the most gifted and dedicated workers of the still developing freedom movement to the longer task of compensatory education.

Polly Greenberg, who was involved in the planning of CDGM from its inception, has written a successful, exciting chronicle of the project. Her narrative of the political storms which buffeted CDGM is reminiscent of the Machiavellian intrigues at this time when we hear so much about the failure of compensatory education. The author provides us with a dramatic and penetrating analysis of why this failure occurred.

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