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Welfare Warriors

  • By: A. Fiona Pearson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Welfare warriors is a term generally attributed to participants of welfare rights movements in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. These grassroots movements—overwhelmingly led by and composed of low-income women of color—were vastly influential in their attempts to mobilize welfare recipients and address problems with governmental programs serving parents and children.

Responding to changes in the social perception and delivery of social welfare programs, activists sought to increase both the access to and level of benefits accorded to low-income families and sought to reframe the moralizing language of debate, which tended to stigmatize welfare mothers. The National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), founded in 1967, was formed to coordinate the efforts of local welfare rights organizations that had emerged in the 1950s and early 1960s. ...

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