The Brooklyn Welfare Action Council (B-WAC) was a grass roots cooperative established in 1967 by women of color (ages 27-55) who received public assistance. Its purpose was to obtain social and economic benefits for its members through the promotion of changes within the system. By the time B- WAC disbanded in 1973, it had achieved the development of indigenous leaders who could preside over community institutions founded during the years of its existence.
As members of a nationwide effort--the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO)--activists labored to solidify the dignity of and to secure some measure of power for people on society's economic bottom. However, the Brooklyn contingent distinguished itself by being the sole welfare rights group that was controlled by and addressed the needs of welfare recipients.
Employing a historical approach, I chronicled the welfare recipients' activities, analyzed their strategies, and examined B-WAC's weaknesses and strengths. Personal interviews figured prominently in the research. A total of 39 former