I was just reading through a list of famous people who grew up in the lower-class areas of South Philadelphia. The list starts in the beginning of the 20th century. There are sculptors, boxers, a Broadway conductor, jazz musicians, and even one of the Three Stooges. Then it completely drops out. Very few famous people come from that area now. The most recent "famous" person was Vincent Scarza, who organized the "Live Aid" concert in 1985.
Why is that?
What fundamental change occurred in South Philadelphia or America for this to happen?
I have a nagging feeling that this has something to do with the GI Bill, the growing professionalization of America, the advent of television, and the lack of economic growth in South Philadelphia.
Has higher education caused such an influx of white suburban middle-class professionals that it's more difficult for ethnic urban communities to become something? Is this part of the downside of the creative class?
I'm told that before a degree was required for journalism, any paper boy selling newspapers on the street could rise to become a top reporter, and then maybe a novelist. Have we completely destroyed this natural opportunity for advancement by our insistence on higher education?
Ideas? Let me know what you think.