Friday, June 22, 2012

New Release: Fox, "Three Worlds of Relief"

Readers interested in race, citizenship, immigration, social welfare policy, and the on-the-ground implementation of New Deal reform will want to check out this new release from Princeton University Press: Three Worlds of Relief: Race, Immigration, and the American Welfare State from the Progressive Era to the New Deal, by sociologist Cybelle Fox (University of California, Berkeley). Here's the Press's description:
Three Worlds of Relief examines the role of race and immigration in the development of the American social welfare system by comparing how blacks, Mexicans, and European immigrants were treated by welfare policies during the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Taking readers from the turn of the twentieth century to the dark days of the Depression, Cybelle Fox finds that, despite rampant nativism, European immigrants received generous access to social welfare programs. The communities in which they lived invested heavily in relief. Social workers protected them from snooping immigration agents, and ensured that noncitizenship and illegal status did not prevent them from receiving the assistance they needed. But that same helping hand was not extended to Mexicans and blacks. Fox reveals, for example, how blacks were relegated to racist and degrading public assistance programs, while Mexicans who asked for assistance were deported with the help of the very social workers they turned to for aid.
Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Fox paints a riveting portrait of how race, labor, and politics combined to create three starkly different worlds of relief. She debunks the myth that white America's immigrant ancestors pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, unlike immigrants and minorities today. Three Worlds of Relief challenges us to reconsider not only the historical record but also the implications of our past on contemporary debates about race, immigration, and the American welfare state.
Cybelle Fox (credit)
And a few blurbs.
"Three Worlds of Relief is theoretically important, empirically rich, and a major contribution to scholarship on race, immigration, and welfare policy. Fox brings together the experiences of Mexicans, white immigrants, and African Americans into a single account, in the process enriching current knowledge of each group's history in the United States and illuminating how these histories fed into government policy. Three Worlds of Relief is an outstanding work of scholarship. Fox traces the distinct paths of blacks, Mexicans, and white immigrants as they were incorporated into the American welfare state in the key decades culminating in the New Deal. Her argument is fresh and original, her research meticulous, and her prose elegant. Three Worlds of Relief is an intellectual tour de force that sets a new scholarly agenda"--Desmond King, author of Separate and Unequal: African Americans and the U.S. Federal Government
"Cybelle Fox's Three Worlds of Relief demonstrates that U.S. social policies in their formative years provided disparate treatment by race and ethnicity. Political, labor-market, and racial contexts advantaged European immigrants and disadvantaged African Americans and Mexican immigrants. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the origins of the uneven U.S. welfare state, its race and ethnic politics, and political dilemmas today."--Edwin Amenta, University of California, Irvine
Chapter 1 and the TOC are available here.

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