All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community
"All Our Kin" is the chronicle of a young white woman's sojourn into The Flats, an African-American ghetto community, to study the support system family and friends form when coping with poverty. Eschewing the traditional method of entry into the community used by anthropologists -- through authority figures and community leaders -- she approached the families herself by way of an acquaintance from school, becoming one of the first sociologists to explore the black kinship network from the inside. The result was a landmark study that debunked the misconception that poor families were unstable and disorganized. On the contrary, her study showed that families in The Flats adapted to their poverty conditions by forming large, resilient, lifelong support networks based on friendship and family that were very powerful, highly structured and surprisingly complex.
Universally considered the best analysis of family and kinship in a ghetto black community ever published, "All Our Kin" is also an indictment of a social system that reinforces welfare dependency and chronic unemployment. As today's political debate over welfare reform heats up, its message has become more important than ever.
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The first scene takes place on the front porch of a house which Georgia and her
three children share with Georgia's middle- aged Aunt Ethel and Ethel's boyfriend
. Just before the incident occurred, Georgia and Ethel had fought over the
division of housework and the utility bills. Aunt Ethel was angered at Georgia's
lack of respect and her unwillingness to support her with the AFDC benefits
Georgia received for her children. Georgia was willing to pay the rent but insisted
that Ethel's ...
Ruby's grandmother took care of Ruby and her brothers, and Ruby's mother
worked and cooked and cleaned for her father. 7-16 The household now
comprised of Ruby, her grandmother, her grandmother's new husband, Ruby's
maternal aunt and her boyfriend, Ruby's maternal uncle, and Ruby's younger
sister. At age sixteen Ruby gave birth to a daughter. 17 Ruby's grandmother died.
Ruby had a second child. Ruby remained living with her maternal aunt, her aunt's
boyfriend, her ...
Then she and her two daughters joined her mother, her mother's "husband," and
her six half-siblings. Ruby had a miscarriage. J9i Ruby left town and moved to out
-of-state with her boyfriend. She left her daughters with her mother. She remained
there one year, then her mother insisted that she return home and take her
children. 20 Ruby and her daughters moved into a large house rented by her
mother's sister and her mother's brother. It was located next door to her mother's
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All Our Kin: Strategies For Survival In A Black Community
Carol B. Stack,B Stack
Limited preview - 2008