"Dan's War on Poverty: A Grassroots Crusade for Social Justice"

Jun 14, 2012

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Tulsa-based writer, consultant, and activist Ann Patton, who's just published a biography of the late (and legendary) Father Dan Allen, a Catholic priest turned social activist who worked incessantly (and memorably) to combat poverty and promote equality in Tulsa in the 1960s and beyond. Father Dan is probably best known for creating the Tulsa-area social service agency, Neighbor for Neighbor, which still exists today. Patton's book is called "Dan's War on Poverty: A Grassroots Crusade for Social Justice" --- it's a biography that recounts the story not only of Father Dan, but of many of those whom he inspired, and of their efforts on behalf of the poorest of the poor in this community. As Patton tells us on today's program, although Father Dan died in 1995, his legacy continues to this day; the quest to serve the poor, and to advocate for their rights as individuals as well as citizens, is now being carried out, locally, by countless disciples of Dan Allen. He and Neighbor for Neighbor --- his signature organization; indeed, his pioneering, citywide mission --- changed Northeastern Oklahoma in profound ways. And that change, thankfully, is still going on. (You can learn more about Ann Patton and her new book here.)