This chronicles the four decade history of Chicago's Wentworth Gardens public housing residents' activism. This case study explores why and how these African-American women engaged in organizing efforts to resist government disinvestment in public housing and the threat of demolition. Feldman and Stall, utilizing a multi-disciplinary lens, explore the complexity and resourcefulness of Wentworth women's grassroots organizing - the ways in which their identities as poor African-American women and mothers both circumscribe their lives and shape their resistance. Through the inspirational voices of the activists, Feldman and Stall challenge portrayals of public housing residents as passive, alienated, victims of despair. We learn instead how women residents collectively have built a cohesive, vital community, have cultivated outside technical assistance, organizational and institutional supports, and have attracted funding - all to support the local facilities, services, and programs necessary for the everyday needs for survival, and ultimately to save their home from demolition.
"Reveals the inadequacy of public housing policy and the contradictory approaches that typically fail to take into consideration the needs and perspectives of low-income residents. All urban policy-makers should heed the many lessons embedded in this richly detailed study. The significance of The Dignity of Resistance lies not only in the richness of detail the authors provide, but also in the way the authors weave description, biographical narratives of the activists, and theoretical analysis throughout the chapters. Given the interdisciplinary approach, the book should be of interest to urban studies scholars, social geographers, sociologists, women's studies faculty, and social policy analysts as well as anyone advocating for the right of low-income residents to a decent quality of life." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research "The Dignity of Resistance presents a fascinating story of struggle and resistance...extremely well documented and contextualized. Each aspect that is discussed -- social, physical, or policy related -- is thoroughly situated with respect to historical antecedents. These ties make the study well grounded and easy to relate to other research on (public) housing, social thought, activism, and empowerment...completely convincing." Journal of Planning Literature "Planners who work with public housing can avoid surprises by reading this book and acquainting themselves with some of the smart, determined people who live there." Planning Magazine "A story worth telling" Contemporary Psychology "...the authors have produced a solid piece of primary research that will be useful to researchers who study women's activism more broadly and women's grassroots activism specifically...This book is impressive in its exhaustive documentation. It would forma useful case study for courses in sociology, political science, and women's studies that attempt to unpack the dynamics of resistance." -Politics, Social Movements, and The State, Laura Suski, Dalhousie University