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The Rust Belt as a Cultural Bellwether

The Rust Belt’s been more central to the American experience than we give it credit. Whether it’s eighties TV families or today’s global pop stars, this diverse region has its finger on the pulse of our ever-evolving national story.

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What People in the Rust Belt Did When Their World Was Ending

What People in the Rust Belt Did When Their World Was Ending

Here, people came together as their worlds collapsed. What the rest of the country can learn from the Rust Belt’s history.

In Camden, New Jersey, families saw a lot of tragedy. Buildings that were once cathedrals of manufacturing stood abandoned, as if shelled out in a war. The city was part of a diverse region the rest of the country clumped together and dismissed as the Rust Belt. It was a decline decades in the making, a slow burn that made our crisis even more invisible. Yet something about disasters—perhaps that shared sense of fate and responsibility—makes...