Document Type


Publication Date



This Article analyzes the historical, cultural and legal treatments and representations of poor black women from Progressive Era philanthropic aid to early "work-to-welfare" reform protocol. When black women serve as the case study for a larger examination of social policy issues we see that welfare was rarely meant to remedy the structural crunch of poverty. Working class black women have been at the center of the construction of the poor and serve as the designation to determine which people deserve to be compensated for being poor.

Furthermore, the Author discusses both the ramifications and rationale of why the government never designated black women as "deserving" poor and the implications of constructed images in the post-reconstruction period, the New Deal Era, the 1960s AFDC agenda, and 1980s welfare to work reform.

Recommended Citation

6 Modern American 4 (2010)