Annelise Orleck is a professor of history, Jewish studies, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States (1995); The Soviet Jewish Americans (1999); Storming Caesar's Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty (2005); and Rethinking American Women's Activism (2014). She is also a coeditor of The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right (1997), with Alexis Jetter and Diana Taylor, and The War on Poverty, 1969-1980: A New Grassroots History (2011), with Lisa Gayle Hazirjian. Her newest book is entitled "We Are All Fast Food Workers Now": The Global Uprising against Poverty Wages (2018).
This lecture examines the impact of the federal War on Poverty from the bottom up, tracing local activism from Las Vegas to New York, from Los Angeles to Florida. It challenges the notion that the War on Poverty ended in 1968 and traces lasting impacts in terms of housing, medical care, political participation and reproductive justice. Orleck takes a gendered argument, analyzing how much of the narrative about the War on Poverty as a failure was rooted in a sense of dismay over the disproportionate participation of poor women.