Storming Caesar's Palace by Annelise Orleck
How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty

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The inspirational and little-known story of welfare mothers in Las Vegas, America's Sin City, who crafted an original response to poverty-from the ground up
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 Annelise Orleck

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ANNELISE ORLECK is associate professor of history and women's studies at Dartmouth College.
 
Published July 1, 2005 by Beacon Press. 377 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Orleck’s leading character is the powerful matriarch Ruby Duncan, who eventually advised Jimmy Carter on welfare and jobs programs, but she sees all the mothers of Operation Life as “poster women for a new model of welfare reform—from the bottom up.” She argues that the history of Operation Life ...

Jun 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Storming Caesar's Palace: How...

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