This collection of ten original studies covers a wide range of issues related to the regional distinctiveness of welfare provision in the South and the development of the larger federal welfare state. The studies examine New Deal and Great Society programs from the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps to Social Security and Medicare. In addition, they draw attention to such private-sector organizations as the Salvation Army and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Some studies 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. Other studies 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.
Elna Green is Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Arts at San Jose State University. She is the author of "This Business of Relief" and the editor of "Before the New Deal" and "The New Deal and Beyond" (all Georgia).