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A City for ChildrenWomen, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland, 1850-1950$
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Marta Gutman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226311289

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226156156.001.0001

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Childhood on the Color Line in West Oakland:

Childhood on the Color Line in West Oakland:

Day Nurseries during the Interwar Years

(p.291) Nine Childhood on the Color Line in West Oakland
A City for Children

Marta Gutman

University of Chicago Press

The Sisters of the Holy Family and Northern Federation of California Colored Women’s Clubs answered the demand for childcare by repurposing houses in West Oakland. Welfare officials were wary of any intervention that made it easier for a mother to work outside her home, and white supremacists could not be put out of mind in the 1920s, with the Ku Klux Klan organizing nearby. Colored clubwomen, from the Beth Eden congregation, angered at the whites-only policy in children’s institutions, crossed the color line to locate the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery next to the St. Vincent’s Day Home, the segregated Catholic day care center. With clubwomen committed to racial uplift during the Great Migration, intra-racial conflict exploded about the politics of respectability in the home, especially as it fell into disrepair. The building was cleared and the property given to St. Vincent’s Day Home, enlarged and racially integrated.

Keywords:   Sisters of the Holy Family, Northern Federation of California Colored Women’s Clubs, childcare, Ku Klux Klan, Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, St. Vincent’s Day Home, Great Migration, intra-racial conflict, politics of respectability

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