The Welfare Right Movement as a propaganda started in England as an advocacy in behalf of the paupers. It is among the features of the Unemployed Workers Movement in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. In the United States, it is a period of successful protests of poor people during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. It is considered as one of the most powerful movements that catch the attention of the national spotlight in the mid-1960. It is commonly known to be the movement of poor black women that yearns to assert their political and economic rights.
They seek to shape their welfare policy and demand a space at the table. Not only that it is a powerful and well-acclaimed movement, it is also one of the successful in the history of the United States. This movement, in general, has changed the idea of social policy that urged the government to focus on their responsibility on economic justice. Furthermore, the government was moved to provide welfare recipients with legal protections (Nadasen xiv).
At the onset, the welfare rights movements had its peak when it has about 30, 000 to 100, 000 followers. Even with this, it is also considered as one of the least studied political movements in the history of the United States. As a matter of fact, it received little attention in the academic arena. It is only recently that historians have begun to write about the movement, but during the time of the movement only a few books are about it namely The National Welfare Rights Movements by Guida West and Poor People’s Movements by Fox Piven (Nadasen xiv).
In general, it is a movement where women came together and form a group within themselves which gain the support of churches, social services, agencies and civil rights organizations. They carried out campaigns that advocated better treatment for caseworkers, and reforms on the administration of welfare. They also demand higher monthly benefits and grants for a better standard of living among the people. What the movement did was to create advisory boards, submitted recommendations to welfare official, and sent representatives in conference and legislative bodies.
In this way, the movement had a vast publicity in the media that made it more popular during that time despite this limited scholarly attention it had (Nadasen xv). According to Nadasen, because there are a few scholarly works on the movement, the most valuable and credible information about the movement is the archives which are composed of daily accounts and activities of the activists and reformers. There written records include participant’s stories, women’s complaints, and historical accounts that would make us understand and see what the whereabouts of the Americans during that time.
In particular, the press in its part has also contributed to the bits and pieces of how modern people have known about the welfare rights movements. For instance, the New York Times articles regarding the movements focused mainly on the city activities like rallies and convention of reformists. The press characterized the advocacy as a movement that organized the country’s poor people into a full force of protests against Federal, state, and municipal bureaucracies.
There are about 100 representatives from 23 cities which would lead and trigger a nationwide demonstration so that the present situation of the poor would be dramatized and be known to the general public. These representation ranges from different civil groups to church advocates which includes Dr. George A. Wiley as a director of the Poverty Wiley and Martin Luther King (Handler 20). Moreover, there are civil rights lawyers whose main concern is to advocate the campaign for a speedy trial on cases already in courts for 12 years regarding the concerns on racial desegregation in Southern community’s schools.
Among the members of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc would be Jack Greenberg says that the target of the find is to reopen about 175 lawsuits and win them in courts. Not only is the educational welfare of children that is the main concern of the fund, also they advocate the equal rights of the Blacks in terms of hospital admissions, employment, and housing. Greenberg has also expressed their desire pursue court remedy in terms of house discrimination against Negroes inhabitants (Rights Unit Plans New School Suits 14). There were also