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Storming Caesar's Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It was a spring day on the Las Vegas strip in 1971 when Ruby Duncan, a former cotton picker turned hotel maid, the mother of seven, led a procession. Followed by an angry army of welfare mothers, they stormed the casino hotel Caesars Palace to protest Nevadas decision to terminate their benefits. The demonstrations went on for weeks, garnering the protesters and their cause national attention. Las Vegas felt the pinch; tourism was cut by half. Ultimately, a federal judge ruled to reinstate benefits. It was a victory for welfare rights advocates across the country.

In Storming Caesars Palace, historian Annelise Orleck tells the compelling story of how a group of welfare mothers and their supporters built one of this countrys most successful antipoverty programs. Declaring that we can do it and do it better these women proved that poor mothers are the real experts on poverty. In 1972 they founded Operation Life, which was responsible for all kinds of firsts for the poor in Las Vegas--the first library, medical center, daycare center, job training, and senior citizen housing. By the late 1970s, Operation Life was bringing millions of dollars into the community each year. And these women were influential in Washington, D.C.--respected and listened to by the likes of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter.

Ultimately, in the 1980s, Ruby Duncan and her band of reformers lost their funding with the countrys move toward conservatism. But the story of their incredible struggles and triumphs still stands as an important lesson about what can be achieved when those on welfare chart their own course.

Synopsis:

In Storming Caesars Palace, historian Annelise Orleck tells the compelling story of how a group of welfare mothers built one of this country's most successful antipoverty programs. Declaring "We can do it and do it better," these women proved that poor mothers are the real experts on poverty. In 1972 they founded Operation Life, which was responsible for many firsts for the poor in Las Vegas-the first library, medical center, daycare center, job training, and senior citizen housing. By the late 1970s, Operation Life was bringing millions of dollars into the community. These women became influential in Washington, DC-respected and listened to by political heavyweights such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. Though they lost their funding with the country's move toward conservatism in the 1980s, their struggles and phenomenal triumphs still stand as a critical lesson about what can be achieved when those on welfare chart their own course.

About the Author

Annelise Orleck is associate professor of history and women's and gender studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Common Sense and a Little Fire and Soviet Jewish Americans and coeditor of The Politics of Motherhood. Orleck lives in Thetford Center, Vermont, with her partner and their two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807050316
Author:
Orleck, Annelise
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Location:
Boston
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Poor
Subject:
Women social reformers
Subject:
Duncan, Ruby
Subject:
Welfare rights movement - Nevada - Las Vegas
Subject:
General History
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
August 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
376
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x .95 in 1.25 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Poverty
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General

Storming Caesar's Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty New Trade Paper
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Product details 376 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807050316 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Storming Caesars Palace, historian Annelise Orleck tells the compelling story of how a group of welfare mothers built one of this country's most successful antipoverty programs. Declaring "We can do it and do it better," these women proved that poor mothers are the real experts on poverty. In 1972 they founded Operation Life, which was responsible for many firsts for the poor in Las Vegas-the first library, medical center, daycare center, job training, and senior citizen housing. By the late 1970s, Operation Life was bringing millions of dollars into the community. These women became influential in Washington, DC-respected and listened to by political heavyweights such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. Though they lost their funding with the country's move toward conservatism in the 1980s, their struggles and phenomenal triumphs still stand as a critical lesson about what can be achieved when those on welfare chart their own course.
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