Individual Presentation or Panel Title

Within the Margins of the Margins: A Qualitative Study into the Lives of Black Single Mothers Experiencing Generational Poverty

Abstract

Robinson (1968), more than forty years ago, recognized the need to address the position of poor Black women in the US, to gather and analyze their perspective, to learn from what they share: “It is time to speak to the whole question of the position of poor black women in this society and in this historical period of revolution and counterrevolution.” In 2015, it is still time. My study is designed to answer a similar question: “Who are Black mothers experiencing generational, as opposed to situational, poverty?"

Generational poverty is commonly described as occurring in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty. Studying women experiencing generation poverty instead of situational poverty lends itself to an analysis of longstanding, oppressive ideologies such as racism, capitalism (leading to capitalistic exploitation), and sexism. Hattery and Smith assert, “Poverty is the most important and pressing issue facing African American families” (2007, p. 206). According to a 2014 documentary, 72%: The single mother phenomena in the African American community, nearly 72% of African American children are born out of wedlock and are being raised by single mothers. Resultantly, single motherhood coupled with poverty is the reality for an increasing numbers of Black women. What we learn from the experiences of our sisters in poverty, facing racist, sexist, and capitalist oppression is instructive to those of us who seek to dismantle all forms of oppression.

If Hurston’s simile, that “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see,” is an accurate description of the impoverished Black woman’s status, then it is time to learn more about this overburdened woman, her world, and her place in the world. To this end, the study has four broad focus areas relevant to the field of curriculum studies: identity, work, place, and experiences.

Presentation Description

Using Black feminist and intersectional theoretical frameworks, this study focuses on the realities of single, Black mothers who experience generational poverty. It seeks to illuminate how their lives are impacted by racist, capitalist, and sexist structures.

Location

Magnolia Room C

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 11th, 3:30 PM Jun 11th, 4:45 PM

Within the Margins of the Margins: A Qualitative Study into the Lives of Black Single Mothers Experiencing Generational Poverty

Magnolia Room C

Robinson (1968), more than forty years ago, recognized the need to address the position of poor Black women in the US, to gather and analyze their perspective, to learn from what they share: “It is time to speak to the whole question of the position of poor black women in this society and in this historical period of revolution and counterrevolution.” In 2015, it is still time. My study is designed to answer a similar question: “Who are Black mothers experiencing generational, as opposed to situational, poverty?"

Generational poverty is commonly described as occurring in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty. Studying women experiencing generation poverty instead of situational poverty lends itself to an analysis of longstanding, oppressive ideologies such as racism, capitalism (leading to capitalistic exploitation), and sexism. Hattery and Smith assert, “Poverty is the most important and pressing issue facing African American families” (2007, p. 206). According to a 2014 documentary, 72%: The single mother phenomena in the African American community, nearly 72% of African American children are born out of wedlock and are being raised by single mothers. Resultantly, single motherhood coupled with poverty is the reality for an increasing numbers of Black women. What we learn from the experiences of our sisters in poverty, facing racist, sexist, and capitalist oppression is instructive to those of us who seek to dismantle all forms of oppression.

If Hurston’s simile, that “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see,” is an accurate description of the impoverished Black woman’s status, then it is time to learn more about this overburdened woman, her world, and her place in the world. To this end, the study has four broad focus areas relevant to the field of curriculum studies: identity, work, place, and experiences.