Biting the Hand That Feeds Them: Organizing Women on Welfare at the Grass Roots Level

By Jacqueline Pope | Go to book overview

6
Summary, Findings, and Recommendations

We never received welfare--that word means well-being and security. All we ever got was handouts, given in the most degrading inhumane way possible. 1

In Brooklyn during the 1960s,a group of women receiving public assistance challenged traditional views of poverty and demanded structural changes in the institution of social welfare. During a four-year period, they mobilized thousands of recipients in the struggle for special grants and welfare rights. Furthermore, the women established and administered a social change vehicle: the Brooklyn Welfare Action Council. The only organization managed by welfare clients, it became the largest of its kind in New York State, and its members constituted more than one-third of the National Welfare Rights Organization.

Brooklyn's welfare rights movement essentially followed the pattern of most lower economic class protests. Lacking large numbers of influential, wealthy supporters or acceptance by the majority society, it lasted just a few years. As with similar organizations, B-WAC's momentum was impossible to main-

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Biting the Hand That Feeds Them: Organizing Women on Welfare at the Grass Roots Level
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Notes ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - The Background 1
  • Notes 7
  • 2 - The Nature of America's and New York City's Welfare Systems 9
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - Activists and Resources of a Movement 33
  • Notes 63
  • 4 - Organized Recipients Begin Challenging Social Institutions 67
  • Notes 80
  • 5 - The Brooklyn Welfare Action Council: Forty-Six Welfare Rights Member Groups 83
  • Notes 126
  • 6 - Summary, Findings, and Recommendations 131
  • Notes 144
  • Bibliography 147
  • Index 157
  • About the Author 162
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