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Child Care in Black and WhiteWorking Parents and the History of Orphanages$
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Jessie B. Ramey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036903

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036903.001.0001

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Raising Orphans

Raising Orphans

The Child Care Dilemma of Families in Crisis

Chapter:
(p.32) Chapter Two Raising Orphans
Source:
Child Care in Black and White
Author(s):

Jessie B. Ramey

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036903.003.0003

This chapter analyzes how poor families' own demands helped shape the institutional landscape of child welfare in turn-of-the century Pittsburgh, as they made choices based on religious preferences as well as location and reputation. Significantly, racial prejudice limited African American families' choices and led the black community to found its own child care institutions in this period. A demographic analysis of these families who chose orphanage care for their children reveals the often multiple, overlapping crises they faced—from the loss of a spouse to disrupted support networks and inadequate housing. As parents attempted to combine wage labor and child care responsibilities, they used orphanages as a strategy for family survival.

Keywords:   poor families, child welfare, religious preferences, racial prejudice, African American families, black community, wage labor

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