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Child Care in Black and WhiteWorking Parents and the History of Orphanages$
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Jessie B. Ramey

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036903

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036903.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Fathering Orphans

Fathering Orphans

Gender and Institutional Child Care

Chapter:
(p.102) Chapter Four Fathering Orphans
Source:
Child Care in Black and White
Author(s):

Jessie B. Ramey

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036903.003.0005

This chapter begins with the James Caldwell story, which brings the experience of fathers into sharp relief—a significant, and all but forgotten, aspect of orphanage history—as well as the broader history of child care, in the United States. While many orphanage children had living fathers, the institutional managers constructed “orphans” as fatherless, perpetuating a gendered and racialized logic of dependency. Yet for those men using the orphanages as a form of child care, their experiences as widowers differed from those of solo women with children. Furthermore, the experiences of African American and white working-class men were also quite different. Ultimately, the orphanages help reveal the extent to which each group of men was involved with the care of their children, as well as the connection between their breadwinning role and family life.

Keywords:   James Caldwell story, fathers, orphanage history, child care, institutional managers, dependency, African American men, white working-class, working-class men

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