New Bedford’s Jennie Horne Was a ‘Foot Soldier’ in the War on Poverty
New Bedford's Jennie Watkins Horne has been called a "foot soldier" in the War on Poverty launched in 1964, with the passage of President Lyndon B. Johnson's anti-poverty agenda, often referred to as the War on Poverty and the Great Society.
Horne (1920-1998) was born in Dartmouth. She attended Dartmouth Public Schools and graduated from Dartmouth High School.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast pays tribute to Jennie Watkins Horne and her service to the New Bedford community during some challenging times in the city.
Historicwomensouthcoast.org says Horne "met her husband, Army Lieutenant Lewis C. Horne, Sr. while working for the United Services Organization (USO) at Camp Miles Standish in Plymouth."
Horne accompanied her husband to Europe, where she helped organize youth programs for U.S. Army and German children. The pair eventually settled in New Bedford, where they raised three children.
The site says Jennie began her social services career with New Bedford's anti-poverty agency Organized New Bedford Opportunity And Resource Development (ONBOARD).
"Jennie rose up to be a contract worker and then director of the West Central Community Center, where she initiated several programs to aid the disadvantaged," the site says.
Horne was also employed by Model Cities, a federal urban assistance program where she was "involved in public school reorganization, public housing development, and improvements in relations between police and the community." Model Cities eventually became the federal Community Block Grants Program.
Horne also served under several administrations as a member of the Mayor's Citizen Advisory Committee and was a member of the Martha Briggs Educational Club and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
After moving to Atlanta in 1995 to be near her children, Jennie Watkins Horne passed away on June 30, 1998, in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Her funeral was at the United Baptiste Church in New Bedford.
Horne, a foot soldier in the War on Poverty, and another shining light in the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast series.