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Learning from the History of Poor and Working-Class Women's Activism
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 577, Reforming Welfare, Redefining Poverty (Sep., 2001), pp. 118-130
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1049827
Page Count: 13
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The long but largely untold history of activism among poor and working-class women in the United States since before the twentieth century reveals that low-income women activists developed a class- and race-based gender consciousness that fueled their activism at three key sites: the point of production, the point of consumption, and the point of state intervention. While their issues and strategies have varied over time, at each site low-income women consistently became active to fulfill their community-defined gendered obligations-which included helping to improve the standard of living of their families and communities. For African American women, this meant fighting for racial as well as economic justice. The long record corrects historical distortions, offers inspiration, and provides lessons for the next round of welfare rights struggles in the twenty-first century.
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science © 2001 American Academy of Political and Social Science