Complaint to the Lord: Historical Perspectives on the African American Elderly

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Complaint to the Lord provides historical perspectives on the African American elderly. Based on the assumption that Black history and culture should inform old-age policy formulation, the book combines the macro-perspective of the community taking care of its own needy elderly with the micro-perspective of the examination of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons (HAICP), founded in Philadelphia in 1864 by Blacks and Quakers. At the root of the African American heritage was a supportive tradition that ...
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Overview

Complaint to the Lord provides historical perspectives on the African American elderly. Based on the assumption that Black history and culture should inform old-age policy formulation, the book combines the macro-perspective of the community taking care of its own needy elderly with the micro-perspective of the examination of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons (HAICP), founded in Philadelphia in 1864 by Blacks and Quakers. At the root of the African American heritage was a supportive tradition that sought in variety of ways to solve gerontological problems. The core of this tradition was mutual care, based on kinship and respect patterns derived from West Africa and nurtured in the crucible of slavery where a supportive cultural tradition developed in the slave community. Old-age Homes, western in origin, offered a refuge from the public almshouse, and, through time and usage, took on their own tradition in the African American community. Beneficial associations were also formal methods derived from the multifaceted tradition of taking care of the African American elderly. But unlike Homes for the aged, these societies had African roots and provided psychological and economic security through aid to families and held out the possibility of independence in one's own home. Hired in 1948 as administrator of the HAICP, Hobart Jackson discarded the custodial philosophy that old age was a time for reflection and that old people were to be cared for by those who knew what was best for them. During his more than three decades as administrator of the Home, Jackson brought the facility into the modern era in the ferment of a growing gerontology movement and saw the institution renamed the Stephen Smith Home in 1953 and receive its first White residents in 1954. Jackson used his position as a springboard to become the nation's chief advocate for the African American elderly, founding the National Caucus on Black Aged in 1970 on the grounds of the Home and becomi
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945636809
  • Publisher: Susquehanna University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 9
Acknowledgments 11
Timeline: Black Aging History 13
Introduction 19
1 "Massa ... you can't make me work no more": Old Age and Slavery 31
2 "What charity more pure and sweet": The Development of African American Old-Age Homes with Special Emphasis on the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons (HAICP) 59
3 "Better off than poor white people": The Beneficial Society, the HAICP, and the Black Elderly 87
4 "But she was white": Race, Gender, and Residency in the HAICP 110
5 "Complaint to the Lord": Social Structure in the HAICP 138
6 "The rugged path of faltering age": Health Care in the HAICP 163
7 Hobart Jackson: The Father of Black Gerontology 186
8 Epilogue: A Word to Gerontologists 202
Appendix 1. Bylaws: 1864 206
Appendix 2. Rules and Regulations: 1864 209
Appendix 3. Organizational Structure 213
Notes 214
Note on Sources and Selected Bibliography 269
Selected Bibliography 271
Index 280
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