Gender and Society 11 (6):773-795 (1997)

The prevalence of poor health among young disadvantaged Black mothers and their children has prompted a revival of maternal activism among Black middle-class urban women. A study of the California-based “Birthing Project,” founded in 1988, reveals that such activism is best understood as a modern-day version of Black activist mothering practiced by African American clubwomen from the time of slavery to the early 1940s. This article demonstrates the legacy of “normative empathy” as a significant motivator for middle-class maternal activism and as a basis for a middle-class critique of Black mothering among the disadvantaged.
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DOI 10.1177/089124397011006004
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