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Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First-Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival

Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First-Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival
Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First-Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival
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Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First-Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival
Grandmothering While Black: A Twenty-First-Century Story of Love, Coercion, and Survival

In Grandmothering While Black, sociologist LaShawnDa L. Pittman explores the complex lives of Black grandmothers raising their grandchildren in skipped-generation households (consisting only of grandparents and grandchildren). She prioritizes the voices of Black grandmothers through in-depth interviews and ethnographic research at various sites—doctor’s visits, welfare offices, school and day care center appointments, caseworker meetings, and more. Through careful examination, she explores the various forces that compel, constrain, and support Black grandmothers’ caregiving.

Pittman showcases a fundamental change in the relationship between grandmother and grandchild as grandmothers confront the paradox of fulfilling the social and legal functions of motherhood without the legal rights of the role. Grandmothering While Black illuminates the strategies used by grandmothers to manage their legal marginalization vis-à-vis parents and the state across a range of caregiving arrangements. In doing so, it reveals the overwhelming and painful decisions Black grandmothers must make to ensure the safety and well-being of the next generation.

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