Author

Saul Alinsky cover

photo credits: CC-BY-SA-4.0

Saul Alinsky

American community organizer and writer

1909   -   1972

country of citizenship: United States of America
educated at: University of Chicago
occupation: activist, writer, sociologist, trade unionist
award received: Pacem in Terris Award

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing. He is often noted for his book Rules for Radicals (1971). In the course of nearly four decades of political organizing, Alinsky received much criticism, but he also gained praise from many public figures. His organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across the United States. In the 1950s, he began turning his attention to improving conditions in the black ghettos, beginning with Chicago's and later traveling to ghettos in California, Michigan, New York City, and a dozen other "trouble spots". In the 1960s, his ideas were adapted by some U.S. college students and other young counterculture-era organizers, who used them as part of their strategies for organizing on campus and beyond. In 1970, Time magazine wrote that "It is not too much to argue that American democracy is being altered by Alinsky's ideas." Conservative author William F. Buckley Jr. said in 1966 that Alinsky was "very close to being an organizational genius".
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