Bridging the Class Divide: And Other Lessons for Grassroots by Linda Stout

By Linda Stout

Time and again social swap movements--on subject s from the surroundings to women's rights--have been run via middle-class leaders. yet so that it will make genuine growth towards monetary and social swap, negative people--those most influenced by means of social problems--must be those to talk up and lead.It will be performed. Linda Stout herself grew up in poverty in rural North Carolina and went directly to discovered one in all this country's so much profitable and leading edge grassroots agencies, the Piedmont Peace venture. operating for peace, jobs, wellbeing and fitness care, and easy social prone in North Carolina's conservative Piedmont sector, the venture has attracted nationwide realization for its luck in drawing management from inside a working-class neighborhood, actively encouraging variety, and empowering those that have by no means had a voice in coverage judgements to talk up for his or her personal pursuits. The Piedmont Peace venture demonstrates that new methods of organizing can quite work.Bridging the category Divide tells the inspiring tale of Linda Stout's existence because the daughter of a tenant farmer, as a self-taught activist, and as a pace-setter within the innovative move. It additionally offers useful classes on the way to construct actual operating relationships among humans of other source of revenue degrees, races, and genders. This booklet will encourage and enhance someone who works for swap in our society.

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171 Conclusion: Building Unity for Real Democracy 181 Appendix: 25-Year Vision Exercise 191 Page ix Foreword Linda Stout's story makes me think of other women in the history of this countrymostly unrecognized, their work unrecordedwhose roots are in the working class, and who have raised their voices above the clamor of academic conversation and boardroom conferences, speaking of equality and justice, demanding to be heard. I think of the young women in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, in the 1830s, who formed a Female Labor Reform Association, put out "Factory Tracts," organized mass meetings, went out on strike, denouncing the "moneyed aristocracy" which controlled their lives.

I started cooking and washing dishes when I was so little that I had to stand on a stool to reach the sink. My mother would tell me word for word what to do from her hospital bed. I became her legs, a parent for my sisters, and my father's helper, and then I would go to school. I was very excited about school. What I remember about that period was that I didn't have much contact with my parents because my father was working so much, and my mother was sick. It was a lonely time. I know my mother got angry often, and she cried a lot.

My parents had taught me that prejudice was wrong, and I grew up without realizing how serious these problems were in our society. My biggest interest was in not being poor. I wanted to have a house and nice things. I wanted to be middle-class. But gradually that ambition clashed with the values I had learned growing up. I was torn between getting ahead and doing what I felt was right, for the price of getting ahead often meant having to go along with my employers' values by not questioning racist and sexist policies.

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