Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

This book is an intervention. It adds Black career women to the research on professional women who “opt-out” of the professional labor force (Belkin 2003) and engages a conversation that to date has omitted Black women. By investigating the ways in which Black career women conceptualize their decision to be...

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Introduction: Black Career Women and Strategic Mothering

Black Career Women and Strategic Mothering

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pp. 1-28

“Every time my Dad would call to say ‘hi,’ he would ask me when I was going back to work,” said Denise, a thirty-year- old Black woman and married mother of two.1 “It was like a running joke, but it wasn’t funny. I knew what he was really saying was, ‘why are you still sitting at home with a baby?’” While Denise...

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1. The Role of Black Women in Black Family Survival Strategies

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pp. 29-52

When Cory’s oldest daughter was born, she was working in the marketing department of a large multinational corporation, which required her to travel every week. She took three months off for maternity leave and then went back to work. Many of her coworkers expected that she would not return because...

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2. Black Professional Women, Careers, and Family “Choice”

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pp. 53-86

Much of the work and family conflict debate has been rooted in the assumed contradiction of professional women’s “return” to the traditional family ideal after all the gains that have allowed women to “have it all.” When an intersectional analysis is applied we learn that Black women have always been in the...

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3. “Just in Case He Acts Crazy." Strategic Mothering and the Collective Memory of Black Marriage and Family

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pp. 87-120

Charlotte, whom I met through one of the moms at the Monroe School, poignantly described one challenge facing Black career women, raised to be ambitious, when they modify their relationship with work: “My mom always taught me to be able to take care of myself just in case he acts crazy.” Charlotte and I...

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4. Enculturating the Black Professional Class

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pp. 121-148

Just before high school graduation season, in May 2006, in the midtown area of Atlanta, one teen was killed, one was in the hospital, and three were behind bars after being charged with aggravated assault and armed robbery with a firearm.1 The teens attacked an African American marine veteran while he was walking...

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5. Black Career Women, the Black Community, and the Neo-­Politic

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pp. 149-172

“What do you mean by middle class?” was the response Cory gave me when I began my interviews with her. I was still refining my interview questions. I knew I wanted to investigate how Black career women saw their own class position, and accordingly one of my first questions during that initial interview, at...

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Conclusion. Strategic Mothering, Black Families, and the Consequences of Neoliberalism

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pp. 173-183

In the same way that Black women have always worked, there have always been some Black women who were in a position, or created a way, to stay at home. Since slavery, Black women have looked for ways to sustain and maintain their families; they particularly sought to ensure the survival and success of their children...

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Epilogue. Whatever Happened To...

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pp. 184-190

Whenever I present the data collected here, the audience inevitably wants to know what has happened to the women and their families. Have they gone back to work? Are the couples still together? What’s going on with their kids? These questions arise because everyone is clear that family decisions are not static...

Appendix

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pp. 191-194

Notes

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pp. 195-206

References

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pp. 207-226

Index

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pp. 227-230

About the Author

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pp. 231-232