In her study of the welfare rights movement, Premilla Nadasen breaks new ground by tracing the history of a distinctive brand of feminism that emerged in the 1960s. Comprising almost exclusively single mothers on welfare, the welfare rights movement sought to organize the poor to make demands upon the system and in the process create a more humane welfare program. By recovering the voices of movement women and their experiences as mothers, racial minorities, welfare recipients, tenants, consumers, community members, feminists and activists, this book demonstrates how race, class, gender, and other identities continually reshape and redefine one another.
Praise for Welfare Warriors:
“Nadasen has written the definitive history of the welfare rights movement that, for a brief moment, turned welfare into a program that helped rather than punished poor women. Carefully researched and fully documented, Welfare Warriors reveals the largely untold story of how poor and working class women came together to fight for a decent life. By exploring the working class black feminism that emerged, Nadasen’s account also broadens and deepens our understanding of feminism.”
–-Mimi Abramovitz, Professor of Social Policy at Hunter School of Social Work and the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of Regulating the Lives of Women and Under Attack and Fighti
“Armed with their own brand of feminism in the 1960s and 70s, Premilla Nadasen’s Welfare Warriors fought militantly and relentlessly against racism, sexism and dehumanizing poverty. They fought their battles in the halls of Congress, the streets of urban communities, and inside the progressive movement itself. Even when they were not victorious, these black women activists were never victims, but rather powerful, complex and committed agents for change. This compelling and compassionate study, meticulously researched and passionately argued, is a must-read for anyone interested in social change politics, feminism or the black freedom movement.”
–-Barbara Ransby, Professor of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement.