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Foundlings in Nineteenth-Century New York City
In the nineteenth century, foundlingschildren abandoned by their desperately poor, typically unmarried mothers, usually shortly after birthwere commonplace in European society. There were asylums in every major city to house abandoned babies, and writers made them the heroes of their fiction, most notably Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. In American cities before the Civil War the situation was different, with foundlings relegated to the poorhouse instead of institutions designed specifically for their care. By the eve of the Civil War, New York City in particular had an epidemic of foundlings on its hands due to the rapid and often interlinked phenomena of urban development, population growth, immigration, and mass poverty. Only then did the city's leaders begin to worry about the welfare and future of its abandoned children.
In Abandoned, Julie Miller offers a fascinating, frustrating, and often heartbreaking history of a once devastating, now forgotten social problem that wracked America's biggest metropolis, New York City. Filled with anecdotes and personal stories, Miller traces the shift in attitudes toward foundlings from ignorance, apathy, and sometimes pity for the children and their mothers to that of recognition of the problem as a sign of urban moral decline and in need of systematic intervention. Assistance came from public officials and religious reformers who constructed four institutions: the Nursery and Child's Hospital's foundling asylum, the New York Infant Asylum, the New York Foundling Asylum, and the public Infant Hospital, located on Randall's Island in the East River.
Ultimately, the foundling asylums were unable to significantly improve children's lives, and by the early twentieth century, three out of the four foundling asylums had closed, as adoption took the place of abandonment and foster care took the place of institutions. Today the word foundling has been largely forgotten. Fortunately, Abandoned rescues its history from obscurity.
Artistic Form and Social Critique in African American Culture
Immigrant Families in America
Immigrants and their American-born children represent about one quarter of the United States population. Drawing on rich, in-depth ethnographic research, the fascinating case studies in Across Generations examine the intricacies of relations between the generations in a broad range of immigrant groups—from Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa—and give a sense of what everyday life is like in immigrant families.
Moving beyond the cliché of the children of immigrants engaging in pitched battles against tradition-bound parents from the old country, these vivid essays offer a nuanced view that brings out the ties that bind the generations as well as the tensions that divide them. Tackling key issues like parental discipline, marriage choices, educational and occupational expectations, legal status, and transnational family ties, Across Generations brings crucial insights to our understanding of the United States as a nation of immigrants.
Contributors: Leisy Abrego, JoAnn D'Alisera, Joanna Dreby, Yen Le Espiritu, Greta Gilbertson, Nazli Kibria, Cecilia Menj'var, Jennifer E. Sykes, Mary C. Waters, and Min Zhou.
Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front
Addressing Dramatic Shifts in Equality Jurisprudence
Cure a nosebleed by holding a silver quarter on the back of the neck. Treat an earache with sweet oil drops. Wear plant roots to keep from catching colds. Within many African American families, these kinds of practices continue today, woven into the fabric of black culture, often communicated through women. Such folk practices shape the concepts about healing that are diffused throughout African American communities and are expressed in myriad ways, from faith healing to making a mojo.
Stephanie Y. Mitchem presents a fascinating study of African American healing. She sheds light on a variety of folk practices and traces their development from the time of slavery through the Great Migrations. She explores how they have continued into the present and their relationship with alternative medicines. Through conversations with black Americans, she demonstrates how herbs, charms, and rituals continue folk healing performances. Mitchem shows that these practices are not simply about healing; they are linked to expressions of faith, delineating aspects of a holistic epistemology and pointing to disjunctures between African American views of wellness and illness and those of the culture of institutional medicine.
In this lavishly illustrated volume, Sean Dennis Cashman surveys the history of civil rights in twentieth-century America. The book charts the principal course of civil rights against the dramatic backdrop of two world wars, the Great Depression, the affluent society of the postwar world, the cultural and social agitation of the 1960s, and the emergence of the new conservatism of the 1970s and 1980s.
Cashman describes the profound upheaval that African-Americans experienced as they moved from the outright racism of the South through the Great Migration northward from 1915, and sets the contribution of African-American leaders within their historical context: Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and many others. The work also describes the shift in emphasis in the movement from legal cases brought before the courts to mass protest movements and, later, the change in direction from civil rights to Black Power and, later, Pan-Africanism.
Far more than just a history of civil rights leaders, this book explains how the achievements of African-American writers, artists, singers, and athletes contributed to a wider understanding of the humanity and culture of black Americans. Cashman details, among others, the achievements of the Harlem Renaissance, the films of Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson, and the works of Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. Written in an engaging style, the text is accompanied by a wealth of illustrations, some well known, others in print for the first time.