A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the by Lisa Levenstein

By Lisa Levenstein

During this daring interpretation of U.S. background, Lisa Levenstein reframes hugely charged debates over the origins of continual African American poverty and the social guidelines and political struggles that resulted in the postwar city obstacle. A circulate with out Marches follows bad black ladies as they traveled from a few of Philadelphia's so much impoverished neighborhoods into its welfare places of work, courtrooms, public housing, faculties, and hospitals, laying declare to an exceptional array of presidency advantages and companies. Levenstein uncovers the restrictions that led ladies to public associations, emphasizing the significance not just of deindustrialization and racial discrimination but in addition of women's stories with intercourse discrimination, insufficient public schooling, baby rearing, household violence, and persistent disease. Women's claims on public associations introduced quite a number new assets into terrible African American groups. With those assets got here new constraints, as public officers often answered to women's efforts through restricting merits and trying to keep an eye on their own lives. Scathing public narratives approximately women's "dependency" and their kid's "illegitimacy" positioned African American girls and public associations on the heart of the transforming into competition to black migration and civil rights in northern U.S. towns. Countering stereotypes that experience lengthy plagued public debate, A circulate with out Marches bargains a brand new paradigm for figuring out postwar U.S. historical past.

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Extra resources for A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia (The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture)

Sample text

Neither position accounted for African Americans’ strong presence in welfare programs. ∞≠ They frequently faced di≈culties finding jobs not because they were born in the South but because of their relatively low educational levels, racial discrimination, and the diminishing numbers of entry-level jobs in the city. ∞∞ In 1960, 65 percent of adc recipients were born outside Philadelphia, a figure to be expected in a city that was a frequent destination for southern migrants. However, most of them had lived in the city for more than five years.

Neighbors sat on their steps, and children were disciplined collectively by mothers who punished anyone they caught misbehaving on their blocks. Mrs. Elkins lived in a ‘‘wreck’’ of a building in the area of West Philadelphia that African Americans called ‘‘the bottom’’ because of its location below 52nd Street. ‘‘The bottom,’’ Mrs. Elkins explained, accurately described the physical condition of the neighborhood. ≤≠ However, in the postwar period, African Americans lived in increasingly racially segregated neighborhoods and began to predominate among those who lived in dilapidated and crowded conditions.

Sanderson confronted. Both women had steady jobs—Mrs. Elkins even had a good one—yet they still faced severe poverty. For Mrs. Elkins, a marital separation sparked by domestic violence led her to forfeit almost all of her material possessions. Once she became poor, the expenses that accompanied her responsibility for her children made it extremely di≈cult to save the money she needed to improve her circumstances. Mrs. Sanderson spent her entire life in poverty, the result of her lack of education, limited employment prospects, health problems, and the burdens she faced raising a child by herself.

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