Labor historian to talk about grassroots struggle against poverty

MIDDLEBURY — Labor historian Annelise Orleck will recount the struggle for welfare rights by Las Vegas women in the 1970s in a talk at Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. Her talk, “What if Poor Women Ran the World?” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.
Orleck will tell the story of nine African American union maids in Las Vegas who challenged welfare cuts and built a long-lasting, vibrant anti-poverty program run by poor mothers.
Orleck is a professor of history at Dartmouth College, where she teaches U.S. political history, women’s history and the history of race, ethnicity and immigration, and Jewish studies. She is author of “Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working Class Politics in the United States”and “Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty.”She is co-editor of “The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right.”

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