"Scholars of social policy have examined national government policy in depth, but we also need to remember that a policy can be no better than its actual implementation at the local level. The New Deal and Beyond provides exactly that kind of unromantic, realistic appraisal of how social welfare programs made a difference—or did not make a difference."
—Linda Gordon, author of Heroes of Their Own Lives
Some essays look at the degree of federal responsiveness to, or actual engagement with, recipients of assistance. One such study examines the dynamics between the New Deal bureaucracy, poor women who worked in WPA-organized sewing rooms in Atlanta, and local political activists concerned about the women's working conditions. The power of race and racism to shape the delivery of social services in the region, as well as the strong connections between social welfare and civil rights, is a concern common to many studies. One study shows how linking the availability of federal Medicare funds to racial equality helped end segregation in southern hospitals. Others focus on topics ranging from the pioneering North Carolina Fund, a state program that shaped Great Society initiatives, to the public health nurses and home economists of the Farm Security Administration, to Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge's maneuverings against the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
The New Deal and Beyond is filled with many new insights into initiating and maintaining social programs in the South, a region whose welfare history is key to understanding the larger story of the American welfare state.
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